Album cover of the week: The Sounds of Jimmy Smith

Starting today and running every Monday until I lose interest, I’m going to feature one album cover that is notable for either being well-crafted, visually striking, humorous, or all of them at once. I am old enough to remember when vinyl still held sway as the dominant format for music delivery, and I’ve always lamented the decline of the format for reasons other than the ones usually trotted out (i.e. it just “sounds” nicer than compact discs).

Back in the day (yes, that dreaded phrase), album covers served as the last chance for a record to sell itself. Would-be owners spent hours thumbing through record racks, waiting for something to pop out at them. A lot of great (and lousy) music was discovered this way.

So with all that out of the way, here’s your album cover for the week of May 12, 2008:

The Sounds of Jimmy Smith (1957)
The Sounds of Jimmy Smith, Blue Note, 1957 (photo by Harold Feinstein)

Fans of the venerable Blue Note record label recognize what came to be the imprint’s signature cover look throughout its heyday – an image of the artist cast in a distinctive color (like this). 1957’s The Sounds of Jimmy Smith took a slightly different direction, as it didn’t show a picture of the legendary jazz organist at all. To be honest, I’m not really certain what the image is supposed to be, but it looks like something Nikola Tesla probably invented. Also, it’s really cool.

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