February 12, 2011

Jazz News: U.S. Postal Service Jazz Stamp Revealed

Later this year, the U.S. Postal Service will begin selling a postage stamp honoring jazz music. Here is the design and the press announcement from the USPS website.

Jazz Appreciation
With this stamp, the U.S. Postal Service is proud to pay tribute to jazz, America’s musical gift to the world, and to the musicians who play it in studios, clubs, or concert halls, and on festival stages.

Jazz developed originally as an innovative combination of European, American, and African influences. It first flowered near the dawn of the 20th century in New Orleans, LA, where Africans from various places mixed with native-born Americans of diverse ancestry as well as Europeans and people from the islands of the Caribbean. This unique blend of cultures gave rise to a distinctive musical expression—and the blending process has continued, with jazz incorporating further influences from Latin, Asian, and African cultures.

Major jazz figures include composers such as Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, and Thelonious Monk; singers such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan; and innovative musicians such as Lester Young, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Miles Davis, and Ornette Coleman — all internationally admired.

Art director Howard Paine designed the stamp to showcase the work of Paul Rogers, an artist living in Pasadena, CA. In creating the art for the stamp, originally using ink on paper and then finishing his work digitally, Rogers explored the way images could become a visual equivalent of jazz music. He was inspired by the cover art from vintage jazz record albums—work that captured the music’s improvisational quality while built on a clear understanding of its underlying structure.

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