Home Cookin': Chasing Reid Miles

January 1956. Blue Note personnel: Alfred Lion, chief, sets the pulse + great pics by Francis Wolff + Rudy Van Gelder at the controls. One more arrives. The missing piece. Reid Miles. An avid classical music fan. Describing moods + intentions, similar elements for different covers, maintaining a style that remains unmistakably blue note. He went on to design almost 500 Blue Note record sleeves during the next 11 years.
What's cooking? How? Do me. Gimme flavours and spice. Black sugar brown sugar. Orange block and white block. It looks good in my hands. Reid destroys. De / cons fully. Modern lines + cool stuff. Classic and suburban immaculate. Furious b and w, always refined. Jazz back tongue-in-cheek. Blue classic notes. All the highest iconography, sober blow. Cool struttin'; preppie look, clean, smooth lines, Jimmy Smith, taste masters using bass shoes. Sign of the times.
The Rumproller.
"I've always been very definitive. I see things in black and white. As far as I'm concerned, there are no shades of grey." On the road and in NY with a big portfolio armed knockin' on and on. "If it didn't fit on the desk, I wasn't talking to the right person." From sunny California to NY's winter, learning effective concepts and how to spec type.
Back then agencies and magazines; "They would hire you for the strength of your portfolio, and then ask you to do crap!" John Hermansader, who was already working for Blue Note, gave him his first job in N.Y. Maybe Reid's style is a continuation of his. Here are just two of them, J. Hermansader for ever! The Jay Jay Johnson one, with two giant js' and the 'Jazz Messengers at the cafe Bohemia' one, which used enormous sans serif.
The 'lucky label' is witness of many beginnings/first steps from Monk, Bud Powell, Lou Donaldson, Art Blakey, Horace Silver and Herbie Hancock among others. Throughout years constructing a very solid catalogue. Highest combustion between sounds, image + type + tones. Wolff brings the photos. Lots of choices. Sweaters, concentration, cigarettes, sweat, laughter. Then cut off half of the face or set everything in yellow. Lines, spots, bars. No computer or photoshop. Manipulate images with lenses. Big blocky sans serif fonts, which presumably, he had set in metal and enlarged or reduced photographically. Typography as image. The beat, the drive, sounds et cores making indissoluble bubbles. Light at my fango, nada de barro; a king. Implacable. Parallel lines. Rancho Bernardo, RM and the lions. Miles ahead shooting American stylo. Born on 4 of July: American pics. Wolff: "We established a style, including recording, pressing and covers. The details made the difference."
Is that what you wanted, Alfred?
1965. Liberty buys Blue Note. 1967. Both Alfred Lion and Reid Miles quit. Nothing would be the same again. Neither the covers nor the music. Later on, some recordings previously discarded by Lion for not reaching the Blue Note 'standards' were published. United Artists, EMI, Capitol... the label follows to the present time, theoretically renewed.
1970. Full Time photographer. Travelling and settling in L.A. Too much sun and heat, soundscapes, palm and route. Saturday Evening Post, Look, Esquire, Kawasaki, Honda, Kellogg's, garlic and good wine, Virginia Slims, Polaroid, celebrities, TV commercials and thus until the end in 1993. "You can't just photograph garbage without restyling it. I think any designer or illustrator knows this. That's a matter of design, control, playing one shape against another. That's basic. But how many guys know that? Ten guys in the country realise how important that is."
In 'n' Out.
They jumped a lot, shone without shining with that aura that the different ones have, not intended to. I had to avoid all the noise till some blue caress appeared, at Rivadavia Park, some fair or small record store. Vinyl. Scratch. Whatever had the RM stamp comes along, later there was time to discover it. Magnetism lasts in time. Small hidden works of art for all to see. They have music in parallel. Double gulp.