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The Top 10 Jazz Album Covers of All Time

These classic discs look as good as they sound

Quick, what do Andy Warhol, Peter Max, and Romare Bearden all have in common? Our headline gives away the answer, of course, because yes, all of them did the artwork for jazz album covers. And in that they were far from alone: The tradition of interesting and creative jazz album covers goes all the way back to the early days of vinyl, with illustrators and designers like Jim Flora and Alex Steinweiss contributing unique artwork to adorn 78s and LPs in the ’40s.

Over the years, many jazz labels and their designers cultivated a particular look for their albums, whether it be Reid Miles’ cool graphics and typography for Blue Note in the ’50s, photographer Lee Friedlander’s distinctive portraits for Atlantic in the ’60s, the color images of Pete Turner for CTI in the ’70s, or the stark design aesthetic that Barbara Wojirsch has developed with ECM for much of the last five decades.

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