I realised as a kid that Jazz record sleeves were so much cooler than the pop stuff. I remember a Modern Jazz Quartet album with a painting on the front. A Miro. And a Charlie Parker Live in Sweden with a beautiful drawing that seemed so cool, so American. I’ve made a lot of paintings and drawings of jazz artists over the years, always remembering the impact that this serious, committed design had on me. It was a style that seemed to say, “This is for grown ups. You won’t get it even if you think you do.” Which is why I still love it.
I was a paperboy in Southsea in 1964 reading an interview with Mike Hugg in the New Musical Express. He played with Manfred Mann who’d just hit the charts and they were sort of serious, polo necks-and-shades sort of serious, and when Mike Hugg described someone in the band as sounding a lot like Miles, well, I thought, this Miles must be pretty cool. Who on earth was going round being talked of in such reverential tones by his first name? This was so intriguing. Two years later I heard Milestones on a car radio. I just knew it was this celestial Miles. It sounded cool. Cooler than Revolver. Cooler than Blonde On Blonde. I can still remember feeling that I was being given a pension for the rest of my life. Something I could dig into forever. Something I could dig forever.