Soul Jazz Records are issuing a new flexibound paperback edition of their long out of print ground-breaking deluxe art book Freedom, Rhythm and Sound Revolutionary Jazz Cover Art 1965-83. This large format 200+ page book is edited by Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker (founder of Soul Jazz Records).
The book is a unique collection of cover artwork of revolutionary jazz released in the USA in the 1970s, a time of great political and social importance for African-American artists. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and John Coltrane loom large as self-determination, economic power and musical freedom led to artists finding new paths’ both musical and economic.
Away from the mainstream, many of these musicians chose to take control of their economic worth by recording, releasing and distributing their own material. Thirty years later and these artifacts are a striking reflection of the time, pre-desktop publishing, pre-internet, these small-run (sometimes as low as 500 copies), self-made sleeves are as iconic and historically important as the revolution of DIY culture that sprang out of punk.
The book provides a large introduction contextualizing the music and artwork, as well as interviews with many of the people involved. Alongside the musicians mentioned above, these include Kelan Phil Cohran, Charles Tyler, Steve Reid, Mary Lou Williams, Horace Tapscott, Lloyd McNeil, Phil Ranelin, Marcus Belgrave, Paris Smith, Jayne Cortez, Joe McPhee, Weldon Irvine, Shamek Farrah, Cecil McBee, Stanley Cowell, Tribe, The Last Poets, The Pharoahs and many others. 40 years on, their works are exemplary in their untamed DIY energy and graphic boldness.