Black Entertainment : No Black People on Jazz Album Covers

Discussion in 'Black Entertainment' started by Destee, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Mr.Lifson, I think you miss the point of the Chronicle's article in that the lack of African Americans on the Yoshi's CD reinforces the belief among many that Kenny G, Harry Connick Jr, Brian Setzer, Diana Krall and Bebel Gilberto are the faces of jazz in the 21st Century. Let's put a little historic context into this discussion. For years record producers would not put images of African American artists on album covers over concerns that whites would not buy the album. This practice ended when Miles Davis insisted on not only having his face and body shown on covers, but his girlfriends as well, who were Black and beautiful.

    Click Here For The Entire Article

    Family ... did yall know this, that no Black People were allowed to be on the covers of their Jazz albums?

    Did you know that Miles Davis insisted ??!!! Big Ups to our Ancestor Miles ... :toast:

    Wow ... i didn't know.

    Just sharing.

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  2. OmowaleX

    OmowaleX Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Im not sure how true this is. Perhaps it was the policy of some companies but there were many artists who recorded prior to Miles Davis who WERE featured on their album covers. Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, in fact, most recording artists of the Swing era. And prior to that you can find old collectables with portraits of Jelly Roll Morton, King Joe Oliver,Scott Joplin, Bubk Johnson, Errol Garner, etc.

    Perhaps this was a policy of Columbia Records that Miles got changed, but for sure Blue Note recording artists' album designs were mostly photographical.
     
  3. mrron

    mrron Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Being from the old school jazz crowd, yes I did know about that. In fact Miles Davis was very vocal about everything black. He even said once that he didn't like white jazz musicians because they couldn't keep time with the music. He loved black women and married Cicely Tyson. He was an artist all black people who want to know about their musical roots should study. His album ******* Brew was cutting edge and changed music.

    There are more whites being promoted in Jazz, because they are the one's studying music and learning to play instruments. We can't really complain about it because our kids prefer rap and hip hop, many never heard of jazz music.

    I recently met a white jazz guitarist from the Netherlands, he's very famous there, he was coming here to play in a jazz club in LA. How many black folks listen to jazz in LA with it's large black population? A few day's later I met Stanley Jordan a famous black jazz guitarist, how many black folks know about him? He said that most black jazz musicians spend most of their time in europe, because that is the only place they can get an audience and make a living. We have basically turned jazz music over to white musicians, but they all know where it started.

    Many of the white jazz musicians of the past had to pay Duke, Miles, Bryd etc. to write music for them, and they owned the copyrights. It's universal now, just like most black music, so we don't dominant it anymore.
     
  4. OmowaleX

    OmowaleX Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    So, do you agree with the statement that "No black people were allowed to be on the covers of their Jazz albums"?

    [​IMG]


    Miles Davis is perhaps the single most influence on my own involvement with the jazz community, however, many of my Elder teachers, starting with trumpeter/composer/bandleader Gerald Wilson, all pointed to Duke.

    And I am speaking "thematically".

    Duke actually paved the way for Miles as both recorded for Columbia, and Duke WAS "allowed to be on the cover of his jazz albums".
     
  5. We

    We Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I never played close attention to this before reading the article..

    First, I did a quick browse of my own library to verify this. When it hit me... I don't have any original albums. I have the CDs that were produced and released in post- early 90's.

    I have no idea about what the original album artwork looked like. Wow!

    The albums covers and CD covers are not necessarily the same. The CDs produced containing digitally remastered renditions quite possible have a different cover than the original album.

    VERY INTERESTING.

    So, to answer your question. No, I didn't know.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  6. OmowaleX

    OmowaleX Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Many early jazz recordings were not even sold as COMPLETE albums/lps in the first place. They were sold as singles and later some were repackaged as compilations. And many of these lps were later re-mastered and re-issued with different label covers.

    The thing is Miles AND Duke were forerunners to lp releases, and DUKE's themes were more Harlem-based, at the same time Miles was credited with the "Birth of the Cool". Columbia Records published BOTH Miles AND Duke in s similar fashion. However, in these initial recordings DUKE was more evidently African/Black influenced, THEMATICALLY.

    Miles, Diz, Bird, Dex, and many others actually came out of Billy Eckstine's band, and most of their recordings were LIVE, from various concerts or club performances, and later packaged and sold AFTER they left Eckstine and developed their own bands.

    I have numerous ORIGINAL jazz recordings from the 50s and pre-60s Miles which have never been opened. The ORIGINAL recordings. Not re-issues. I also "inherited" material from my parents. I wont go into more detail, but John Dolphin, owner of Dolphins of Hollywood, was a friend of my elders, from Boley, Oklahoma, and my Dad went to jefferson hs in los angeles, from which and entire "school" of Central Avenue-based jazz musicians formed an "extended family". And many of these same folks, such as Dexter Gordon, Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, had recording careers equal to that of Miles.

    The major difference here is HOW these various musicians were marketed and HOW their product was distributed.

    Perhaps I will explain later but let me just say that before "bop" there was Duke, Nat, Eckstine, and Jesse Belvin.

    http://elvispelvis.com/jessebelvin.htm#bio


    Belvin had a ew early recording before going into the military service, BEFORE Elvis Presley.

    Belvin had recorded material for release the same year as Miles' release of "Birth of the Cool".

    Some of this material was later released AFTER Belvin came back from Korea. But his label was RCA, not Columbia. And Belvin had recorded earlier material with Marvin Phillips. Every single Belvin release had his photographic image as the cover art.
     
  7. OmowaleX

    OmowaleX Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The following ling shows how many Black recordings were released, prior to the lp format, during the 19505.

    http://electricearl.com/dws/belvin.html

    The reason I am using this link is because Jesse Belvin was not only the FATHER of "Doo-Wop", but he was also referred to as the "Black Elvis".

    No. Elvis was the "Black Jesse".

    Belvin's recordings such as "My Satellite" PRE-dated elvis's recordings.

    Likewise, "Doo-Wop" was a BLACK vocal style popularized in the late 40s's Central Avenue scene of los angeles, right along with the debelopment of "Bop", both of which were rooted in the BLACK Musical tradition.

    On the other hand, Miles' "Birth of the Cool" recordings were actually used to SUPPRESS "herd bop" artists from the West Coast while providing a marketplace for WHITE "cool artists such as Shelley Manne, Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Gerry Mulligan and to a lesser extent Al Haig, Lee Konintz and Kai Winding.

    http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:0ifwxqegldde~T2

    Dont get me wrong. As stated, Miles was perhaps the most influential JAZZ musician on my own "career" as a musician.

    However, my one of my cousins was Don Cherry, my initial drum instructor was Billy Higgins, one of my college progessors was Gerald Wilson, and I later learned from Eddie Harris and pianist Barry Harris, ALL of which imparted a knowledge to me about the "jazz heritage".

    And it is a fact that while some may credit Miles for a SIXTIES "Black consciousness", using his marriage to Cicely Tyson as "proof" the "jazz heritage" was BLACK along time before Miles released "Nefertiti" (ok...lets be real here...).

    And the danger here is giving Miles Davis more credit than he deserves, when what occured was many BLACK-oriented "hard bop" musicians coming out of the Eckstine band were forced to moved OUT of the "core" Central Avenue scene, into the new york clubs, and then into europe as white producers such as Rudy van Gelder, and white arrangers such as Gil Evans " subverted" the BLACK "jazz heritage" with "the birth of the cool".

    And BLACK jazz musicians of the early 50s criticized Miles Davis for leading this so-called "cool MOVEMENT", which sent into bankruptcy independent BLACK recording artists as record producers, while RCA and Columbia established recording and music publishing "monopolies".

    It also was what rapidly destroyed the Central Avenue club scene and a migration of "hard bop" musicians into the new york club scene, as south central (including a few Black-owned clubs in WATTS) was virtually "shut down".
     
  8. OmowaleX

    OmowaleX Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Errol Garner

    [​IMG]

    Yesterdays
    Release dates" Jan 30, 1944-Jun 20, 1949.
     
  9. mrron

    mrron Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Omowalex, just to edit my answer, I didn't mean to say that the statement was true, I was saying that I've heard the statement. It was also rumored that Motown didn't put the Isley Brothers on the front cover of their This Old Heart of Mine album, because they wanted to see if it would increase sales if they didn't. Race is a very "thick" issue. Although whites knew that an artist was black, they were reluctant to purchase albums with black faces on them and put them on display, singles were okay. This I have been told by several white friends.

    Looking back at the question, I must say that most of my Jazz albums do feature the artist on the cover, black or white. But it's not difficult at all to believe that such a policy was considered by recording companies during those times. I also heard that many black radio stations had a black artist only policy for airplay. A disc jockey, I heard talking about that policy, said that he felt like a fool when he invited the Righteous Brothers for an on air interview, not knowing that they were white. He kind of got caught with his pants down because it was too late to enforce the policy after they were sitting in front of him. White people used to be rather fickle about black music, with their superiority complex, but black people conquered the whole world musically, and everyone gives us the credit now.

    Thanks Omowalex for all your post, they have been very enlightening.
     
  10. OmowaleX

    OmowaleX Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    ^5 Gotcha!
     
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