Filed Under: "Coda"

Spot illustrations for Columbia Records new release monthly, Coda.

Continue Reading... Coda spot illos, ca. 1944

Another Flora album cover—although in this case the product is digital-only. The illustration originally appeared in the December 1945 issue of Columbia’s Coda new-release monthly, which Flora wrote, edited, and illustrated for three years. The detail was adapted for this digital album cover by Flora co-archivist Irwin Chusid, who also represents the Sun Ra estate. The album is available at iTunes. Flora’s album cover legacy has extended into the 21st century, with designers adapting his images…

Continue Reading... Sun Ra: Solo Piano (a la Flora)

The Picasso of Jazz

June 17, 2012

Thanks to Clayton Walter for a nice little Flora gallery at his Claytonology blog: “I think of Flora as the Picasso of Jazz; his other-worldly depictions of Jazz musicians capture perfectly the vibe of a certain era of the music—brash, swingin’ and full of ecstatic movement. There’s another side to Flora as well. If you look closely at his LP illustrations, beyond the exciting flash,  you see a cunning method to his cartoonish madness.”

Continue Reading... The Picasso of Jazz

music amid the ruins

March 27, 2011

Spot illustration, April 1946 Columbia Records Disc Digest, a monthly “commentary on the new Columbia Masterworks and popular records plus interesting features on the artists who make them.” DD was the successor to Flora’s popular monthly Coda, which he created for the label in 1943. Coda was seemingly “retired” when Flora was promoted from Art Director to Advertising Manager in 1945. He illustrated all issues of Coda, but very few DDs. Here’s Flora’s cover for…

Continue Reading... music amid the ruins

music & films

December 11, 2010

Spot illustration, Columbia Coda, August 1945. That was Flora’s final year as Columbia art director, and the final year of the monthly Coda, which Flora launched in 1943 and illustrated single-handedly. In January 1946, Robert M. Jones assumed the AD role when Flora was promoted to Advertising Manager. Coda was transformed into the monthly Disc Digest, few of which featured Flora illustrations.

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Benny Goodman @ 101

May 30, 2010

Jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman, as portrayed by Flora for the March 1952 issue of Columbia’s monthly Coda new release booklet. Goodman was a founding father of the mid-1930s jazz big band (“swing”) style—launched in force after he hired arranger Fletcher Henderson in 1935. As he matured, he performed and recorded classical repertoire; the above figures illustrated Coda’s preview of Goodman’s recording (with the American Art Quartet) of Mozart’s Quintet for Clarinet and Strings. Flora was…

Continue Reading... Benny Goodman @ 101

Le Sacre du Printemps

April 28, 2010

Flora created the Columbia Records new release monthly Coda in early 1943 and illustrated most issues thru 1945 (after which the journal morphed into Disc Digest). The March 1944 issue is one of Flora’s most satisfying on an artistic level. The cover (above) illustrates a Columbia Masterworks four-disc album (price: $4.50) of Igor Stravinsky conducting his own Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring), described in Coda as “a ballet based on the paganistic…

Continue Reading... Le Sacre du Printemps

Bix @ 5 score + 7

March 10, 2010

Columbia Coda, April 1952, listing 7″ discs featuring recordings of legendary jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, born this date in 1903. The page is crowned with a Flora horn. At the time this circular was published, Beiderbecke would have been a relatively young age 49—if he hadn’t died 21 years before (which was 17 years before the introduction of the 7″ disc). We wrote about Bix @ 106, chronicling his enormous musical significance as well as…

Continue Reading... Bix @ 5 score + 7

the cognitive process

November 24, 2009

Flora explains how the brain reacts to stimuli—it’s all cogs, pulleys and tiny hammers. Another (see below) illustration from the November-December 1944 issue of Columbia Coda.

Continue Reading... the cognitive process

phantom septet

November 22, 2009

Illustration, Columbia Coda, November-December 1944. The pianist is … we’ll get back to you on that. The clarinetists and violinists, forced to perform incognito due to union regulations, were represented on the session by essential anatomical components attired in boots and bowties.

Continue Reading... phantom septet

three legends

November 4, 2009

Three jazz legends, stacked, in the July 1952 issue of Coda, Columbia’s new release monthly. From the top: Harry James (trumpet)Benny Goodman (clarinet)Art Tatum (piano) Each had a new LP that month: James with Soft Lights, Sweet Trumpet, Goodman’s Let’s Hear the Melody, and Art Tatum Concert. As art director, Flora launched Coda in 1943, and provided most illustrations for the (largely classical music) monthly until he was named Sales Promotion Manager in 1945. This…

Continue Reading... three legends

gratuitous violence

July 20, 2009

Because we feel like it. Because cartoon violence is the best violence of all! Cover detail, Columbia Coda, June-July 1943. The above is not a garden variety mugging—it has to do with highbrow musical theatrics. The dagger to the heart caused the victim to sing—and thereafter to be written out of the plot. Although it’s possible he returned in later acts as a zombie.

Continue Reading... gratuitous violence
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  • The Mischievous and Diabolic art of James Flora (1914-1998). Glimpses of rare works from the archives and news about Flora-related projects.

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