Filed Under: "jazz"

Crosby Classics

March 2, 2016

We’re grateful to Jeffrey Ferguson, who alerted us to this previously overlooked early Flora cover. Based on the catalog number (M-555) and some internet research, this cover dates from 1944, which would make it the earliest known illustrated Jim Flora cover. Though unsigned, the tiger-striped typography and horseback rider point to Flora as the artistic culprit. In 1944 he was art director of Columbia, which was issuing back catalog in 78 folio format owing to…

Continue Reading... Crosby Classics

You can buy our fourth anthology The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora and browse the man’s legendary album illustrations between book covers. Or you can attend Jalopy’s similarly named exhibit and be surrounded by four walls of Flora. Those walls will be adorned with vintage LP and 78 covers, proof sheets, and oversized reproductions from our fine art print catalog. The Brooklyn-based club’s exhibit opens Friday June 13 from 6 – 8pm, during which yours…

Continue Reading... The High Fidelity Exhibition

Get in line …

April 27, 2013

… a Cugat conga line, to pre-order the new Flora anthology, The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora. It features all of Flora’s known album and EP covers (including back cover illustrations) from 1947 to 1961 for Columbia, RCA Victor, and their affiliated labels, along with music-themed fine art works, illustrations, and sketches. The book was completed last week and will head shortly to the printer. (Despite what it says at Amazon, the publication date…

Continue Reading... Get in line …

There’s been little Florablogging in recent months. Not for lack of interest, certainly not for lack of fresh material. We could post something new every day for the next five years and still retain a cache of surprises. A few years ago we discovered a sketch album that contained 225 (artist-clipped and glued-in) pencil and ink drawings from the 1940s, very few of which were subsequently published or posted. That album alone could carry us…

Continue Reading... The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora

Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke (1903-1931) Today is the 109th birthday of Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke, an American “hot jazz” legend who’s been dead for 81 of those years. Bix was an alcoholic who never took a legal drink in his life. He was underage when Prohibition commenced in 1919, and died before it was repealed in 1933. Jim Flora, who loved jazz, rendered a caricature of this revered cornetist on a 1947 Columbia Records 4-disc set. Last…

Continue Reading... Bix, birthday boy (and Flora tattoo #3)

Today we launch a new limited edition fine art print of a classic mid-century Flora album cover. Bix and Tram was one of the artist’s earliest record sleeve illustrations, issued by Columbia in 1947 on a 78 rpm 4-disc set. The cover features outlandish caricatures of two legendary bandmates from the 1920s “hot jazz” scene: cornetist Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke and saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer. Despite what appear to be mutant facial and cranial features, in fact…

Continue Reading... Bix & Tram print released

Jim Flora 2012 Calendars

October 19, 2011

Those perennial favorite Jim Flora calendars are in stock for 2012. You’ve got your bug-eyed saxophonist, an Aren’t-We-Having-Fun? moon, and a manic drummer to guide you through the coming Leap Year. These are hand-printed mini-calendars measuring 10″ x 4-1/2″.  If you prefer something of greater magnitude in a maritime motif, our Sheffield Island poster-sized calendar should suit your tastes:

Continue Reading... Jim Flora 2012 Calendars

Jim Flora Art has launched a new limited edition fine art print: INSIDE SAUTER-FINEGAN, a 1954 RCA Victor LP that features one of Flora’s best-known cover illustrations. Eddie Sauter and Bill Finegan were famous for their orchestral mayhem. While Flora’s mischievous cover figures didn’t physically resemble Eddie or Bill, his caricatures reflected their inventive approach to redefining big band jazz in the 1950s. The print image is larger (15-1/2″ square) than the 12″ square LP….

Continue Reading... Inside Sauter-Finegan (print)

Previously uncirculated pen and ink from sketchbook, 1995. From the 1920s to his death in 1974, Duke Ellington saw musicians come and go. Saxophonist/clarinetist Harry Carney (b. Boston, 1910) devoted 46 years to performing and recording with the maestro. The trusty sideman occasionally conducted the orchestra in Duke’s absence. After Ellington’s death, Carney was quoted as saying, “This is the worst day of my life. Without Duke I have nothing to live for.” Four months…

Continue Reading... The Duke and Harry Carney

At the Cabin

January 22, 2011

That’s the title of the new CD by Seattle’s quirky genre-blending jazz ensemble Reptet. It’s the group’s fourth release to feature a licensed Jim Flora illustration (all usages initiated by the band’s drummer, John Ewing). Information about Reptet, their music, and the gatefold letterpress CD package (designed by Tom Parson) can be found at the Artists Recording Collective. The above image is an inverted detail from Flora’s masterful 1951 woodcut Railroad Town.

Continue Reading... At the Cabin

Christmas, 1942

December 25, 2010

Christmas greetings Flora-style from Columbia/Okeh Records. Above: cover of the December 1942 new release flyer from Flora’s then-employer. James had not yet risen to the position of art director (he would in 1943); at the time he was just nearing the end of his first year in the art department under the legendary Alex Steinweiss.

Continue Reading... Christmas, 1942

The above typography appears on the covers of at least three RCA Victor LPs from 1956 and 1957, one by pianist Hal Schaefer, another by polymath-bandleader George Russell, and a third by saxophonist/clarinetist Hal McKusick. Of the series, Schaefer explained: “I was invited to participate in The RCA Victor Jazz Workshop. You had to be a composer, arranger and instrumentalist, all rolled into one.” (Which abundantly explains Russell‘s inclusion.) In each case, the album covers…

Continue Reading... typographical puzzler
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