blue note album covers


10 great Jazz albums released in 1963  

Charles Mingus - The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady

Thelonious Monk - Monks Dream

John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman

Joe Henderson - Page One

Miles Davis - Seven Steps To Heaven

Kenny Burrell - Midnight Blue

Bill Evans - Conversations With Myself

Donald Byrd - A New Perspective

Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach - Money Jungle

John Coltrane - Impressions 10 great jazz albums


Album Artwork | Blue Note Records 1

1.  Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - Moanin’ (1958)
2.  Freddie Hubbard - Hub-Tones (1962)
3.  Larry Young - Unity (1966)
4.  Joe Henderson - Our Thing (1964)
5.  Cannonball Adderley - Somethin’ Else (1958)
6.  Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage (1965)
7.  Donald Byrd - A New Perspective (1963)
8.  Wayne Shorter - The Soothsayer (1979, recorded 1965)
9.  Hank Mobley - Soul Station (1960)
10.  Andrew Hill - Black Fire (1964)


It is one of those cultural markers that influenced the look of album covers precisely because of its casual down-home spontaneity and sensibility. Most album covers were carefully staged and controlled, to terrific effect on the Blue Note jazz album covers, and to not-so great-effect on the perfectly posed and clean-cut pop and folk albums. Whoever was responsible for choosing that particular photograph for The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan really had an eye for a new look.“ -Suze Rotolo

Bob Dylan and Suze Rotolo photographed by Don Hunstein for The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan || New York City, February 1963


Sam Rivers on Blue Note

Fuchsia Swing Song - 1964

Contours - 1965

A New Conception - 1966

Dimensions & Extensions -1967

In 1959 Rivers began performing with 13-year-old drummer Tony Williams, who went on to have an impressive career. Rivers was briefly a member of the Miles Davis Quintet in 1964, partly at Williams’s recommendation. This edition of the quintet released a single album, Miles in Tokyo, recorded live in concert. However, Rivers’ playing style was a bit too avant-garde for what Davis had in mind for his music at this point, and he was replaced by Wayne Shorter shortly thereafter. Rivers was signed by Blue Note Records, for whom he recorded four albums as leader and made several sideman appearances. Among noted sidemen on his own Blue Note albums were Jaki Byard, who appears on Fuchsia Swing Song, Herbie Hancock and Freddie Hubbard. He appeared on Blue Note recordings by Tony Williams, Andrew Hill and Larry Young.

Rivers derived his music from bebop, but he was an adventurous player, adept at free jazz. The first of his Blue Note albums, Fuchsia Swing Song (1964), adopts an approach sometimes called “inside-outside”. Here the performer frequently obliterates the explicit harmonic framework (“going outside”) but retains a hidden link so as to be able to return to it in a seamless fashion. Rivers brought the conceptual tools of bebop harmony to a new level in this process, united at all times with the ability to “tell a story”, which Lester Young had laid down as a benchmark for the jazz improviser.


Sonny Clark, July 21, 1931 - January 13, 1963.

A young Sonny Clark seated at piano backstage at Syria Mosque for Night of Stars event, 1946.

Sonny Clark Trio volumes 1, 2 & 3 [Blue Note]

Pianist Sonny Clark was a consummate hard-bopper who made only a handful of recordings as a leader, but appears on literally dozens of albums as a sideman. It can be argued that he never played a bad recording date either as a sideman or as a leader. Most of Clark’s recordings as a leader were made for the Blue Note label, and all of them were solidly within the hard-bop tradition established by label-mates Art Blakey and Horace Silver. His impressive list of credits includes sessions with John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Billie Holiday, Stanley Turrentine and Lee Morgan to mention a few. His style was largely informed by that of Bud Powell, yet showed a great deal of originality.


10 great Jazz albums released in 1960    

John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Freddie Hubbard - Open Sesame

Charles Mingus - Blues & Roots

Max Roach - We Insist!

Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain

Eric Dolphy - Out There

Ornette Coleman - Change Of The Century

Hank Mobley - Soul Station

Bill Evans Trio - Portrait In Jazz

Tina Brooks - True Blue

#10 great jazz albums


Sonny Clark’s life was short  (July 21, 1931 – January 13, 1963) but it burned with musical intensity. Influenced deeply by Bud Powell, Clark nonetheless developed an intricate and hard-swinging harmonic sensibility that was full of nuance and detail. Regarded as the quintessential hard bop pianist, Clark never got his due before he passed away in 1963 at the age of 31, despite the fact that it can be argued that he never played a bad recording date either as a sideman or as a leader. Known mainly for seven records on the Blue Note label with a host of players including such luminaries as John Coltrane, Art Farmer, Donald Byrd, Jackie McLean, Hank Mobley, Art Taylor, Paul Chambers, Wilbur Ware, Philly Joe Jones, and others,

Sonny Clark on Blue Note

Dial “S” for Sonny (1957)

Sonny’s Crib (1957)

Sonny Clark Trio (1957)

Sonny Clark Quintets (1957)

Cool Struttin’ (1958)

The Art of The Trio (1958) 

Blues in the Night (1958)

My Conception (1959)

Leapin’ and Lopin’ (1961)


The designer Paul Bacon passed away this week at age 91. While Paul was best known for his eye-catching book covers including Jospeh Heller’s classic “Catch-22” he also designed many Blue Note album covers in the early-1950s including memorable covers for Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Bud Powell, Fats Navarro & more.

Read the NY Times obituary here: