Jazz Is Cool (Album) Covers: A Top 20 For National Jazz Day [GALLERY]

April 30th is National Jazz Day, where people celebrate the uniquely American art form that has mostly given us lots of arguments about what jazz is supposed to be. We personally draw the line somewhere between ragtime pioneers and Frank Zappa. In fact, there’s nothing more jazzy than jazz refusing to be defined.
Except, of course, for the notion that jazz is cool. Jazz is so cool that the world is full of people who prefer the world of jazz to the actual sound of jazz. That’s partly due to the art direction of the legendary Blue Note label, who popularized hip graphics accompany cool cats in suits. Frank Sinatra also worked with only the best art directors, ranging from Ed Thrasher to Cal Schenkel–who would also go on to do some classic work for Frank Zappa, so that all comes together.
But jazz can’t be tamed, which is why this personal Top 20 of Classic Jazz Album Covers pretty much goes all over the place. Nothing’s more cool than being uncool, after all. So check out these changing faces of jazz, and please don’t argue with us about what is jazz and what is not jazz, because that makes our head hurt worse than Donald Byrd in the late ’70s…

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