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The Top 10 Jazz Album Covers of All Time

These classic discs look as good as they sound

Sonny Rollins
Way Out West (Contemporary)

Rollins contends that the idea for this memorable cover—on which he’s packing heat (and a saxophone) in the desert, Western gunslinger-style—was entirely his own. A fan of cowboy movies, he wanted to use that metaphor for this groundbreaking 1957 album featuring the East Coast hotshot playing with a West Coast rhythm section of Ray Brown and Shelly Manne. As with a lot of great covers, the title cleverly and succinctly captures the album’s concept and sound. The cover photo is by another legend, West Coast photographer William Claxton, perhaps best known for his iconic images of a dashing young Chet Baker.

Listen to, buy or download Way Out West on Amazon!

Originally Published