Jim Flora

These record covers designed in the 1940’s and 50’s by the late Jim Flora perfectly captures the jazz mania that swept over both the players and their audiences. The bold, bright colors, and abstract illustrations not only created a signature for Flora, but also a common trope for jazz albums that would follow. As a fine artist, Flora employed his full creative powers to unleash a vivid sense of movement, chaos, and vibration in the covers he created.

We read on the website that has been dedicated to him: “Flora’s album covers pulsed with angular hepcats bearing funnel-tapered noses and shark-fin chins who fingered cockeyed pianos and honked lollipop-hued horns. Yet this childlike exuberance was subverted by a tinge of the diabolic. Flora wreaked havoc with the laws of physics, conjuring flying musicians, levitating instruments, and wobbly dimensional perspectives.”

Andrew Hazelett recently pointed out a blog that has been running since 2007 about Jim Flora design and illustration. The blog is subtitled, “The Mischievous and Diabolical Art of James Flora (1914-1998). Glimpses of Rare Works from the Archives and News about Flora-related Projects.”


Jim Flora also authored and illustrated 17 popular children’s books. Here is a cartoon based on a children’s book by Flora. Can you see a similarity in the styles of the record covers and the fireworks finale?

Jim Flora’s Website

Jim Flora Blog

2 responses to “Jim Flora”

  1. Zia says:

    I love them!

  2. Dr. Ashtray says:

    There is a direct similarity between the Nick Travis Quintet “Panic is On” cover and the exploding fireworks. That cover is from two years prior to Fabulous Fireworks Family. You can also notice the use of colours is similar. the first Blue used is very close to the Kid Ory cover. And the one similarity that can't be disputed is the use of Music and instruments in the illustrations. Music was definitely one of Floras great loves!

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