Blue Note Records - Reid Miles

Last week I came across a book a book filled with Blue Note album covers. A gem published by Chronicle Books in 2002. It is cover-to-cover artwork with a small amount of text. The book is a great retrospective of the design work that went into one of jazz's most respected record labels. Blue Note released (and still does) work from some of jazz's greatest artists including Thelonius Monk, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver and a long list of brilliant musicians. The two men responsible for visually representing these giants were Francis Wolff and Reid Miles.

I'll keep Francis Wolff for the next post. Up until 1967, Reid Miles was responsible for a good percentage of Blue Note album covers. He's well-known for his bold shapes and colors, structured compositions and sometimes experimental use manipulation of typography. Some of his designs managed to overpower Wolff's photography, limiting it to only a thumbnail. Also interesting are the album covers he designed and hired Andy Warhol to do illustrations for, before he became the Warhol.

Coincidentally, Miles was also a photographer. He managed to have his photographs featured on several albums. In comparison to Wolff's photos, Miles' were more abstract, making use of blurry, fast moving subjects.

Miles was also recognized for his work at Esquire Magazine and "more agencies and magazines than he could remember". In 1971 he became a full-time photographer and continued to work until his death in 1993.

Chronicle Book's "Blue Note: Album Cover Art - The Ultimate Collection" can be found here.

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