By Simon Assaf
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New Spirits: Images of a Revolution – Radical Jazz in the USA 1950-75

This article is over 9 years, 10 months old
Stuart Baker, Thames & Hudson, £30.00
Issue 388

Every now and then a book appears that, despite the price, you have to buy. New Spirits: Images of a Revolution – Radical Jazz in the USA 1950-75, by Stuart Baker is one such book.

Baker, who is the founder of the London-based Soul Jazz Records, has collated an impressive collection of album covers that have a special place in the history of graphic design and music.

New Spirits traces the movement that redefined the art of the album cover in the era of the civil rights movement, Black power, and the afro-funk style that characterised the mid 1970s.

Baker has amassed hundreds of photos of the new jazz musicians, with bios of the artists. The album covers reflect the deep social and political changes that marked this turbulent era of US history.

From the musical genius of John Coltrane to the community work of Chicago’s Advancement for Creative Musicians, new jazz created a movement that stretched the boundaries of music at a time when everything seemed possible.

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