Alex Steinweiss (1917-2011) - JazzWax

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July 21, 2011


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Bruno Leicht

R.I.P. Mr. Steinweiss --

It's the very first time I bumped into your name. The very first time I see the face behind the art.

I have only one regular "album", meaning three shellacks in a hard cover folder. It's no jazz, it's Rafael Mendez, the great trumpeter from Mexico.

That's how I explain my students why even CD's are called "albums", though they're made of cheap plastic.

An album was something you could someone beat to death with. Try this with a CD ;)

Thanks for your art, thanks for making "real" covers. Or, as Boris Vian would have put it: "Every other album is ugly."

Rab Hines

A really great article, Marc. Album covers were a large part of the selection process back when, when trying to decide what to spend your coupla bucks on when confronted with dozens of desirable items.

Now, when I rarely listen to LPs, they serve another aesthetic purpose by hanging - framed - on my wall. And some of them could stand alone as artworks, which is no surprise considering that pioneers like Mr. Steinwess led to people like Andy Warhol and Reid Miles being cover designers. In fact, there is a high-end series of Japanese CD releases which are promoted as the Reid Miles Collection.

Another great angle on the music scene - thanks.

John P. Cooper

Good reading!

I have long appreciated the art of the album cover. As a former 78 rpm buyer, I would frequently toss out the worn records and simply keep the album. I have hundreds and I would love to be able to display them. Art like this belongs somewhere where people can see them.

I miss the album cover. :(

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of 55 More Songs," "Anatomy of a Song," "Rock Concert: An Oral History" and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax has won three Jazz Journalists Association awards.
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