Filed Under: "RCA Victor"

Mambo for Kittens

August 11, 2017

Music critic Dan Armonaitis: Sound Observations: I’ve been looking after a jumpin’, rockin’, screamin’ cat “Having volunteered to take care of a kitten for a friend who was traveling, I thought the feline might provide a muse as I struggled to come up with something to write about for this column. But every time I tried to focus on a possible topic, she’d hop in my lap and distract me with her soft fur, warm purr…

Continue Reading... Mambo for Kittens

We recently discovered this Camden 7″ EP that might very well feature an overlooked Flora cover. The catalog number, CAE-138, dates the release to 1954, during which Flora designed 18 covers for RCA Victor, ten of them 7″ EPs for RCA’s Camden budget subsidiary (two of which were for the Festival Concert Orchestra, a generic name for an aggregate of stellar musicians who were under contract to other labels). Some were credited to or signed…

Continue Reading... newly discovered Flora cover?

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

Richard Myrle Buckley was born 108 years ago today in Tuolumne, CA. He later self-applied the deferential appellation Lord and became a fixture on the New York jazz nightclub scene, transforming into what his biographer Michael Monteleone described as “a strange but intriguing mix of a proper English peer of the realm and a street corner jive hipster.” He played the Vaudeville circuit, was friends with gangster Al Capone, appeared on The Tonight Show, married six…

Continue Reading... Hipsters, Flipsters …

In 2012 we sold our 200th and final oversized Mambo For Cats screen print, the last of a limited edition produced by Aesthetic Apparatus of Minneapolis in 2006. Almost immediately, a legion of Floraphiles—especially those fond of felines and Latin terpsichore—began clamoring for this work to be restored to our catalog. The nature of limited editions precludes us from issuing the work in an identical (or even comparable) format. Two hundred hand-numbered, Flora family-authenticated, 20″-square Mambo screen prints…

Continue Reading... The Miraculous Mambo Returns!

Our fourth Jim Flora anthology is officially available today. Our first book, The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora (2004), featured Flora’s known album covers. Since that book’s publication, more vintage covers have been found, as well as the artist’s rough drafts and rejected illustrations. The Mischievous Art went through two editions, but is now out of print, highly sought and available only at high prices through rare-book sellers. So we decided to compile a complete collection of Flora record…

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

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 …

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

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)

Detail from panoramic illustration for article “Arts and the Man,” Park East magazine, May 1953. Flora served as the publication’s art director in 1952, but moved on to full-time freelancing in January 1953. His successor in the Park East AD chair was his longtime colleague Robert M. Jones, who had also succeeded Flora as AD at Columbia Records in 1945. Jones jobbed out several Park East illustration assignments to Flora. The following year, Jones was…

Continue Reading... Arts and the Man (part 1)

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

Hand-lettered typography from cover of Charlie Barnet‘s 1955 compilation Redskin Romp 7″ EP (also released as a 12″ LP). Barnet (1913-1991) was a Swing Era bandleader and saxophonist whose first 78 rpm hit, “Cherokee,” released in 1939, inspired the Indian-themed title of this 33-1/3 rpm hi-fi retrospective. Above is a section of the full cover; that’s a non-lookalike caricature of Barnet in the lower left.

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

  • Categories

  • Archives