The great Alex Steinweiss passed away yesterday at the age of 94. He was the first guy to convince record companies that records would sell better if the packaging included imagery. Steinweiss designed his first cover for Columbia Records in 1939, and designed countless covers throughout his long career. If you don’t have the Taschen monograph you should get it.
I met Alex a couple of years ago in Sarasota, and he told me that he designed 100 covers a week at Columbia. It seemed hard to believe when you look at the level of craftsmanship required to execute those designs before digital technology, but Alex insisted it was 100 a week.
Steinweiss sent me a terribly nice note about my book Jazz ABZ and invited Jill and me to visit him in Florida. I’m glad we made the trip when we did. He was full of stories about growing up in Brooklyn, working for Joseph Binder, and he enjoyed showing us the paintings that he did after retiring. And he loved his buckwheat pancakes.