THE ARTISTRY OF WILLIAM CLAXTON
William Claxton was still attending classes at UCLA when he began taking photographs for Pacific Jazz. He would often have to cut classes to cover a recording session that Dick Bock had scheduled at Radio Recorders on Santa Monica Boulevard or the old Capitol studios on Melrose. Budgets were tight in those early years and Bock would allow one or at most two rolls of film for Claxton’s Rolleiflex camera to cover the session. Claxton made every shot count, taking extreme pains to insure exact focus, and a well conceived composition. His photographs seen here on these EP covers illustrate Claxton’s artistry in action.
The first post to this blog covering Pacific Jazz EP covers has been well received and this second post covers EP releases EP4-14 through EP4-27 plus the cover for the Johnny Holiday EP on the Pacifica label along with audio from Johnny Holiday’s AFRTS interview discussing his association with Pacific Jazz.
Claxton took this photograph at a Chet Baker recording session at Radio Recorders.
Claxton called this photograph DANCING TRUMPETS. He created the image in the darkroom by moving the negative of a trumpet while exposing the photographic paper on his easel. Claxton’s photo from the recording session for the Chet Baker Ensemble on the inner leaf of this double EP set was used by Columbia Records as the cover of their CHET BAKER & STRINGS LP release. Pacific Jazz produced that session for Columbia and in exchange received the Art Blakey session that Columbia produced that was released in the Pacific Jazz Mark IV series as RITUAL.
The photo of Russ Freeman and Chet Baker on EP4-16 was also used on the 10” LP release, PJLP-11.
William Claxton related in an interview that the abstract design on this Bengt Hallberg EP cover was taken from an IBM punch card.
Claxton took this photo of Bob Gordon during the recording session at Capitol Records Melrose Avenue studio.
Claxton manipulated the exposure on these covers introducing a sepia tone to achieve a different effect for the covers.
The linear design on this cover was taken from the cutting mat at Claxton’s design easel, showing the knife cuts made in the process of cutting material for an album layout.
Claxton made this cover in the darkroom moving a stock photo of ferns during the exposure process.
Claxton made this cover in the darkroom by manipulating a negative of the overhead stage lights at Capitol Records Melrose Avenue studio.
More Claxton darkroom magic.
The overhead stage lights at the Capitol Records studio again, used to achieve a different effect.
This classic shot of Clifford Brown was used for the 10” LP release as well, PJLP-19.
This photo of Johnny Holiday taken at the recording session was also used for the 10” LP cover, PL-801.
ALL FRONT COVER PHOTOS,
GRAPHICS, AND REAR LINER NOTES
© EMI CAPITOL MUSIC