David Stone Martin was an American illustrator and painter who is best known as one of the finest and most prolific album cover artists of all-time. He executed over 400 album covers, mostly jazz and for Norman Granz and Verve Records. He also worked as an art director for the Office of War Information during World War II.
In addition to his much-love and oft collected album covers, Martin did numerous magazine covers during his long career.
I’ve featured other DSM covers in the past: Hamp and Getz, All Or Nothing At All, Charlie Parker with Strings, Bird and Diz, and Oscar Peterson Plays Porgy & Bess.
I borrowed the featured image from a must read blog post by The Music Aficionado who knows a lot more about DSM than I do.
David Stone Martin died at the age of 78 in 1992 but his work lives on.
This sampler of DSM”s work focuses on his early covers. They’re in no particular order but I dig them all. The covers are followed by a legendary poster and some magazine covers. David Stone Martin was a prolific cat.
We begin with this cover for a Gene Krupa record done before Verve Records was called Verve Records. It took verve to write that sentence.
Next up a creamy cover for Johnny Hodges who’s best known for playing sax with Duke Ellington.
Here’s a cover for the Gypsy jazz stylings of guitarist Django Reinhardt. I know they prefer to be called Romany, but Romany jazz isn’t as catchy. Besides, Gypsy jazz is what Django called it. I promise to call them Romany the next time it comes up.
Have I told you lately how much I love Oscar Peterson? I dig this DSM cover as well.
Looks like DSM really leaned into this album cover for Prez:
Here’s a rare non-Jazz cover by David Stone Martin. It shows the influence of lefty artists Ben Shahn and Diego Rivera on his work.
David Stone Martin fought World War II with a pencil and paintbrush. Here’s his most famous image from that period:
Let’s move on to magazine covers. DownBeat is the semi-official bible of jazz, so it’s fitting that DSM did some covers for them:
Finally, side-by-side political covers for Time Magazine:
The last word goes to Oscar Peterson: