Logos that will strike a (musical) chord!


The history of the album cover and show poster begins with jazz. Alex Steinweiss started creating the first album artwork at Columbia Records in the late 30s, replacing the brown paper sleeves that jazz 78s came in. David Stone Martin did early work for Norman Granz’s Jazz at the Philharmonic, creating unique lettering and illustrations with a crow quill pen (his work is in the Smithsonian). But the most influential designer was probably Reid Miles, who created over 500 album covers for Blue Note Records. He pioneered the use of creatively-arranged type over monochromatic photography, which is a style that is still widely used in graphic design today.

Rather than post 100s of covers and posters, I wanted to isolate the lettering for easy browsing and analysis. There’s a lot of lettering out there, and a lot I left out. I tried to cover most of the genre’s significant musicians (and only pick one piece per artist), but if missed anything glaring, let me know.

As a bonus, there’s a bit of a cross-over with one of my recent posts. See if you can spot the Milton Glaser lettering!

Ahmad JamalPiano

Albert AylerSaxophone

Anthony BraxtonMulti-instrumental

Art BlakeyDrums

Art PepperSaxophone

Artie ShawClarinet

Art TatumPiano

Ben WebsterSaxophone

Bennie MotonPiano

Benny CarterMulti-instrumental

Benny GoodmanClarinet

Bessie SmithVocals

Bill EvansPiano

Billie HolidayVocals

Bud PowellPiano

Buddy RichDrums

Cab CallowayVocals

Cannonball AdderleySaxophone

Cecil TaylorPiano

Charles EarlandOrgan

Charles MingusBass

Charlie ParkerSaxophone

Chet BakerTrumpet

Chick CorreaPiano

Chick WebbDrums

Chuck MangioneFlugelhorn

Clifford BrownTrumpet

Coleman HawkinsSaxophone

Count BasiePiano

Dave BrubeckPiano

David MurraySaxophone

Dean MartinVocals

Della ReeseVocals

Dexter GordonSaxophone

Dinah WashingtonVocals

Dizzy GillespieTrumpet

Django ReinhardtGuitar

Donald ByrdTrumpet

Duke EllingtonPiano

Earl HinesPiano

Eddie JeffersonVocals

Ella FitzgeraldVocals

Eric DolphySaxophone

Errol GarnerPiano

Esther PhillipsVocals

Etta JamesVocals

Fats NavarroTrumpet

Fats WallerPiano

Fletcher HendersonPiano

Frank SinatraVocals

Freddie HubbardTrumpet

Gato BarbieriSaxophone

George BensonGuitar

George RussellPiano

George ShearingPiano

Gerry MulliganSaxophone

Gil EvansPiano

Gil Scott-HeronVocals

Hank CrawfordSaxophone

Hank MobleySaxophone

Herb AlpertTrumpet

Herbie HancockPiano/Keyboards

Herbie MannFlute

Horace SilverPiano

Hugh MasekelaTrumpet

Illinois JacquetSaxophone

Jack McDuffOrgan

James MoodySaxophone

J.J. JohnsonTrombone

Jelly Roll MortonPiano

Jimmie LuncefordSaxophone

Jimmy DorseyClarinet

Jimmy SmithOrgan

Joe HendersonSaxophone

John ColtraneSaxophone

John McLaughlinGuitar

Johnny “Hammond” SmithOrgan

June ChristyVocals

Keith JarrettPiano

Kid OryTrombone

King CurtisSaxophone

King OliverCornet

Lalo SchifrinPiano

Lee MorganTrumpet

Lena HorneVocals

Lennie TristanoPiano

Lester YoungSaxophone

Lionel HamptonVibraphone

Louis ArmstrongTrumpet/Vocals

Louis JordanSaxophone/Vocals

Mal HallettViolin

Max RoachDrums

McCoy TynerPiano

Miles DavisTrumpet

Milt JacksonVibraphone

Miriam MakebaVocals

Nat King ColePiano/Vocals

Nina SimoneVocals

Ornette ColemanSaxophone

Oscar PetersonPiano

Oscar PettifordBass

Paul HornFlute

Quincy JonesMulti-instrumental

Ramsey LewisPiano

Rashaan Roland KirkMulti-instrumental

Red NorvoVibraphone

Roscoe MitchellSaxophone

Roy AyersVibraphone

Roy EldridgeTrumpet

Sammy Davis Jr.Vocals

Sammy KayeSaxophone

Sarah VaughanVocals

Sergio MendesPiano

Sidney BechetClarinet

Sonny RollinsSaxophone

Sonny StittSaxophone

Stan GetzSaxophone

Stan KentonPiano

Sun RaPiano/Keyboards

Teddy WilsonPiano

Thelonious MonkPiano

Velma MiddletonVocals

Wayne ShorterSaxophone

Wes MontgomeryGuitar

Woody HermanClarinet

Wynton MarsalisTrumpet

Yusef LateefMulti-instrumental

This article first appeared in reaganray.com

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