Bookmark and Share

Question and Answer

Question View

Login to Post
--- Mar 24 1999 Go to category
Subject: Album Art
Category: General Questions
From: Jazz Online (sf,ca)

I've been an avid fan of your work since 1978, when I bought 'American Garage.' I have all your albums, with Gary Burton, the group or solo, as well as Lyles albums. One thing that caught my attention in early albums ('As Falls Wichita...,' 'New Chautauqua,' 'Offramp') was the fact that all album covers were highway shots. Then, starting with 'Still Life,' you switched to those complex composite covers, with fragments of several pictures ('Still Life,' 'Letter from Home,' 'Secret Story,' and now 'We Live Here'). My question is simple and I think it might have been asked many times before, but anyway...Is there any specific reason behind these patterns? Do they indicate a mood, a direction for the group and/or you in terms of your work as a musician?

Pat’s Answer:

i've always been very involved in the artwork on the records, even from the beginning in the ecm days. to me, it's a little bit like the title thing, in that i'm not really equipped to articulate my conception like i can with music, but i have strong instincts about what i like and want for a particular record.

one thing you may have noticed is that i have never put myself on the front of any cover in a "featured" way. i've really had to fight record companies to avoid doing it too, cause they tend to argue that it sells more if they can market a "face" or an "image" or something. here are two reasons why i never wanted to do it. actually three. one; i don't think the music on the inside is about "me", it's about "it". two; if the art on the cover is a picture of someone, anyone, taken in 19__, that record will always look like it's from 19__ because of the style of clothes, etc. etc. i like the way even my early records still look "current", you can't really tell when they're from by looking at em. the third is that i HATE having to have my picture taken. even worse is having to actually SEE a picture of myself somewhere. i would really prefer total invisibility, but to have a "career" in this culture, it isn't really an option.

what i like about the "collage" thing is that you get to look at alot of stuff while your sitting there with the record in your hand. especially records like secret story or WLH.

i like the idea of giving people lots of images to spur their imaginations on with the music.