The Sublime Gershwin

Fresh insight into the music of an American icon.

Roger Lent, a versatile and gifted jazz musician based in New York City, asked us to design the packaging for his new solo piano album of music by George Gershwin. We listened to the recording, and were thrilled to have the opportunity to create the visual expression of this insightful musical project.

Gershwin’s music fuses the rigors of classical composition with the freedom and spontaneity of improvisation. His is a quintessentially American music. It is the music of an optimist seeking to express the great potential he saw in the intermingling of rich cultures taking place during the Jazz Age of early 20th century America. “The Melting Pot” was the title Gershwin had planned for a collection of preludes he began, and which open this album.

Our goal was to design an album cover and packaging that reflects Gershwin’s work as well as Lent’s insightful understanding of his compositions. From color palette and typographic choices to the layout and interplay of simple geometric elements, we sought to reveal the elegance, harmonies, and rhythmic tension we hear in the recording. Lent’s playing offers us an interior perspective onto Gershwin's thinking; an intimate sound portrait of the composer. Avoiding the ubiquitous New York skyline images associated with Gershwin recordings, we chose instead a beautiful anti-focus street level photograph — immediate and involved; pulsating with the energy of the city and at the same time softly intermingling points of light.

Roger Lent has performed throughout North America and Europe at major jazz clubs and performing arts centers — from Jazz@Lincoln Center and The Kennedy Center to Ronnie Scotts in London, and at The Montreal, Aspen and Edinburgh Jazz Festivals, to name just a few.




Photographer: Mindy Véissid