The Spring 1956 catalogue presented new releases in the 12” LP line as well as promoting the original 10” LP releases. The first LP listed, JAZZ WEST COAST – AN ANTHOLOGY OF CALIFORNIA MUSIC, was created to accompany a portfolio of William Claxton photographs published by the Linear Publications division of Pacific Jazz in the previous year. The Claxton portfolio will be the subject of a future post examining the creation of this photographic collection.
Four of the LPs listed among the remaining 12” LPs were part of a new marketing promotion created by Claxton and Bock entitled the “West Coast Artist Series” featuring artwork by leading artists who were then emerging on the west coast art scene and who were represented by new galleries such as the Landau Gallery and the Ferus Gallery.
Claxton’s connection to the art scene in Los Angeles can be traced back to his days at UCLA. His jazz photography was featured in a special exhibition at Royce Hall during the Junior Prom in December of 1953. The event included a jazz concert, program below:
Walter Hopps would be the co-founder of one of the leading cutting edge galleries in Los Angeles, The Ferus Gallery. Two artists represented by Ferus, Robert Irwin and John Altoon, would create several covers for Pacific Jazz albums.
The “West Coast Artist Series” was profiled in an article in the March 7, 1956 issue of Down Beat.
The album front covers devoted 80% of the area to the artwork with a border at the top for the artist name and label indicia. Claxton designed a sidebar on the back giving essential data about the artist and a photo.
John Altoon would design all of the following covers for Pacific Jazz:
Robert Irwin would also continue to have his paintings featured on Pacific Jazz albums:
The Robert Irwin cover for PJ-1206 was recognized by the Art Directors’ Club of Los Angeles and the Graphic International Advertising Art League as noted in these Billboard notices from 1956.
Claxton’s association with the art milieu during this period included actors from Hollywood, museum directors, and people in the fashion industry. His growing involvement in these areas would see an expansion in his photography portfolio. Claxton’s association with the Pacific Jazz label would lessen and Woody Woodward would join the label and assume many of the responsibilities for design and photography becoming Dick Bock’s right hand man.
ALL FRONT COVER PHOTOS,
GRAPHICS, AND REAR LINER NOTES
© EMI CAPITOL MUSIC