Paul’s Magic

Jazzing the Big Book Look

An office room, yellowish wallpaper, green warn-out yet full of warmth carpet, dark brown wooden chairs, small tables and an old drawing board. The man sitting and illustrating is also jazzing, listening to the melodious record ‘In Walked Bud’, relishing the classic Monk effect.
The surprising and free rhythms touch his soul and soothe his forehead wrinkles. Piano teases sweetly, bass and saxophone builds a smoky castle in the air and the drum beats make him spill the rum.
He laughs and continues drawing, with two colours maximum, he walks the jaunty jazz path.
Paul Bacon
And he did it till the very end. He was Paul Bacon, an amazing American album and book cover designer and also a jazz musician.
With a decent dose of technology available at that time, he drew all his designs by hand (used photographs for some of his album covers) and his minimalistic book cover style – bold title, author’s name and a symbolic image – known as the ‘Big Book Look’ became famous in the late 50s.
Paul Bacon designed around 6,500 book jackets, some of them are –


Giving this crazy classic a crazy touch.
Psychedelic soft colours
A twisted touch.
Visions… on the road.
The ‘R’ sways like a flag. Subtly symbolic.
Intense look. 
And we are cornered. 
American dream, just a fable?
The most beautiful map.
We did?
The Asian saga, part one.
Bold colour for the bold classic.
Living in the golden jazz age, attuned to Bebop, Paul breathed his passion for jazz into his illustrations. Apart from the name of the composer, it was upto the designer to catch hold of as many jazz lovers as possible, to reach out and rule.
Paul’s magic worked without fail. The album covers reflected the mood of the music enclosed in the round disc beautifully.




Paul Bacon’s first album cover for the company Riverside.






How powerful his work is! All the illustrations are no less than a wonderful jazz composition.
Strong and straightforward designs that play the voice of the artist! He carried the charming jazz era within him without any embellishment to glorify it; he was just a true lover of the jazz music.
Things are looking up (2002)
 – one of Paul Bacon’s two albums.
To read more about the fabulous Paul Jazz Bacon, click here.
Check out the track In Walked Bud, by Thelonious Monk here.  
All images from –


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