David Stone Martin and the Art of Jazz
In the world of record collecting, there is one jazz artist who has left his mark on jazz culture without ever playing a musical instrument. Illustrator David Stone Martin, or DSM, was one of the most prolific and influential graphic designers from the postwar period. Martin designed several hundred album covers, primarily those of jazz musicians. Martin designed album covers for such jazz giants as:
- Stan Getz
- Count Basie
- Charlie Parker
- Billie Holiday
- Coleman Hawkins
- John Coltrane
- Ella Fitzgerald
- Dizzy Gillespie
- Jelly Roll Morton
- and Duke Ellington
In my opinion, Martin's signature hand-sketched graphics, coupled with only one or two primary colors, perfectly captured the energy and spontaneity of the jazz idiom. Martin produced covers for jazz record labels from the 1940s to the 1960s. The record labels Martin worked for include:
- Asch Records
- Dial Records
- Disc Records
- Mercury / Clef Records (verve)
- Jazz at the Philharmonic
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Martin created album cover designs for:
- Pablo (another Granz label)
Over the course of his career, Martin created over 400 album covers.
Did You Know?
David Stone Martin and Norman Granz had a long-standing relationship fueled by their mutual love of jazz. Martin created well over 200 album cover designs for various Granz projects. Martin's first commission for Norman Granz was a logo designed for the "Jazz At The Philharmonic" concerts and tours. Martin created the famous Trumpeter logo, which Granz featured on all of his concert programs and record labels.
In the mid-1940s, Norman Granz's recordings were pressed and distributed by Mercury Records. These records also have the trumpeter logo on the label, which distinguished them from Mercury´s own recordings.
Norman Granz established his first record label, Clef, in 1946. Clef issued almost 100 jazz 10" LPs in the early half of the 1950s. Many of these recordings were also issued on the Mercury label. Clef continued on, issuing about 165 LPs in the 12" format, some of which were reissues of the 10" format LPs.
The trumpeter logo is still the most recognized logo in jazz.
Barney Kessel "Orfeo Negro Medley" 1955
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