Sunday, June 03, 2007
Raymond Scott meets Jim Flora
In a design sense, anyway. Their professional paths nearly crossed: early in his career Scott recorded for Columbia Records but left the label in 1941, one year before Jim Flora was hired by Columbia's art department. In the late 1940s, Flora (1914-1998) launched a legacy by illustrating quirky, cartoonish jazz album covers for the label. His historical portfolio includes dozens more for RCA Victor during the 1950s.
Through my working relationship with Jim Flora Art LLC, the deceased artist's estate, I've long wanted to revive this tradition by using rare Flora art on new CDs. Seattle's Reptet released Do This! in 2006, the cover bedecked with a Flora three-eyed monster we call a "triclops." Later this year, the first CD collection of the 1948-49 Raymond Scott Quintet will feature a Flora cover (above) designed by the brilliant Dutch art director Piet Schreuders. The 1951 illustration was most likely rendered during Flora's Mexican idyll. Ectoplasm refers to a Scott composition on the CD, which this author is producing for Basta Audio-Visuals.
N.B.: The Lothars album Oscillate My Metallic Sonatas (released in 2000) adapted Flora's 1955 album cover art for This Is Benny Goodman and His Orchestra (RCA Victor).