Bethlehem Records progressive cover art truly revolutionized the jazz market.
Burt Goldblatt was among the pioneers in establishing the cool-jazz style. It encompassed black-and-white portraits and studio photographs, inspired by film noir, as well as gritty street scenes, often abstractly overlaid with flat colors, evoking a sense of urban nightlife.
Mr. Goldblatt’s early covers strove for visual simplicity. He eliminated long lists of song titles, one of the medium’s more obtrusive conventions. When he failed to get the desired result from a photograph, he made drawings of musicians using a scruffy serpentine line style, which was shared by other record cover illustrations at the time.
He became known for abstracted caricatures and distorted portraits, but his photographic cover designs for Bethlehem helped define the genre by combining evocative photos with restrained yet lyrical typography.