bainer:

Thad Jones during his The Magnificent Thad Jones session, Hackensack NJ, February 2 1957 (photo by Francis Wolff)

bainer:

Thad Jones during his The Magnificent Thad Jones session, Hackensack NJ, February 2 1957 (photo by Francis Wolff)

Born on this day: Tadd Dameron
Photo by Francis Wolff

Born on this day: Tadd Dameron

Photo by Francis Wolff

Donald Byrd
Photo by Francis Wolff (Source)

Donald Byrd

Photo by Francis Wolff (Source)

burnedshoes:

BLUE NOTE RECORDS - A JAZZ FAIRY TALE

Blue Note Records is the most famous, influential and visionary jazz label in history. But Blue Note is also a fairy tale about two Jewish immigrants - Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff - who built up a legendary record company from literally nothing (together with Max Margulis).

Blue Note was the first (and for a long time the only) label to pay any attention to recording conditions, providing paid rehearsals, free meals, decent pay and a relaxed but respectful atmosphere in the studio. This all paid off in the incredible quality of the recordings.

JAZZ PHOTO ARCHIVE

Photographer Francis Wolff, a childhood friend of Lion’s, fled Berlin in 1939 on what was literally the last ship from Germany to New York. He moved into Lion’s cramped apartment, helped him with his nocturnal recording sessions, and kept the business going when Lion was drafted into the Army in 1941.

Wolff never gave up his first love, photography, and often took pictures of the musicians during rehearsals. In the late 1940s/1950s, when the new 10 and 12-Inch records required cover art, Blue Note already had an outstanding archive of photographic material.

COVER ART: REID MILES MEETS FRANCIS WOLFF

Reid Miles, an amazing modernist designer who designed over 500 LP covers for Blue Note Records through the 1950’s and 60’s, did an amazing job combining Wolff’s photographs with typographic elements and turning the covers into masterpieces of art (note: he also worked with pictures from other photographers and shot some of the cover photos himself).

When he first joined Blue Note, he worked as an assistant to John Hermansader, the then creative director of the company. John’s work was quite lovely in its own right, but lacked a certain punch that Miles would go on to deliver. Initially Miles just wanted to keep up and continue the stylistic tradition that Hermansader had started, but in the end he elevated it to staggering heights. (+) Find more Reid Miles covers here.

SEE IT, HEAR IT, FEEL IT

In my younger years there was no possibility to pre-listen music online, there were no good record stores where I lived, I had no friends with good taste in music, and not too much money, so I couldn’t afford to buy crap. One way to fulfill my need for good music was to buy used records at flea markets, and most of the times there were no record players to check if they were any good. That’s why I often let the cover “convince me” to buy a certain record.

People say that it’s the inner values that count, and that’s true. But I have no problem with great music in a wonderful package. That’s one of the things I miss in digital ages (and of course the amazing sound of a high-quality vinyl record).

P.S.: If you’re also a Jazz fan you have to check out Atane’s blog!

PICTURE SOURCES:   1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10   (all pics retouched)

PHOTOS: Francis Wolff  |  COVER DESIGN: Reid Miles  |  LABEL: Blue Note Records

(Source: burnedshoes)

Born on this day: Bobby Hutcherson
Photo by Francis Wolff (Source)

Born on this day: Bobby Hutcherson

Photo by Francis Wolff (Source)

bainer:


Grachan Moncur III at Jackie McLean’s Hipnosis session, Englewood Cliffs NJ, February 3 1967 (photo by Francis Wolff)

bainer:

Grachan Moncur III at Jackie McLean’s Hipnosis session, Englewood Cliffs NJ, February 3 1967 (photo by Francis Wolff)

tornandfrayed:


Bassist Oscar Pettiford, Miles Davis and Gil Coggins during a recording session for Blue Note, 1952. Photo by Francis Wolff.

tornandfrayed:

Bassist Oscar Pettiford, Miles Davis and Gil Coggins during a recording session for Blue Note, 1952. Photo by Francis Wolff.

Born on this day: Max Roach
Photo by Francis Wolff

Born on this day: Max Roach

Photo by Francis Wolff

Dexter Gordon
Photo by Francis Wolff

Dexter Gordon

Photo by Francis Wolff

Blue Mitchell and a young Chick Corea
Photo by Francis Wolff

Blue Mitchell and a young Chick Corea

Photo by Francis Wolff

Born on this day: Herbie Nichols
Photo by Francis Wolff

Born on this day: Herbie Nichols

Photo by Francis Wolff

One of my friends is a graphic designer and he’s passionate about LP cover art. We compiled what we thought the best Blue Note album covers are (only the Reid Miles years), and we noticed that 3 names were represented more than anyone else. The names are Hank Mobley, Grant Green and Lee Morgan. We had differing opinions about other things, but those 3 names kept showing up on our lists.

Reid Miles and Francis Wolff did great work together, but something about their Mobley, Green and Morgan covers just stands out. You can feel the atmosphere with them. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s more apparent with their covers than anyone else.

Here is a slideshow of 60 Blue Note covers that I think are some of the best. It was hard to round it out, trust me. The list started out at 300.

Sonny Clark
Photo by Francis Wolff

Sonny Clark

Photo by Francis Wolff

Hank Mobley
Photo by Francis Wolff

Hank Mobley

Photo by Francis Wolff

J.J. Johnson and Clifford Brown
Photo by Francis Wolff

J.J. Johnson and Clifford Brown

Photo by Francis Wolff

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