There are many paintings for which Andy Warhol is far better known than the few album covers he made in his salad days. Nonetheless, those covers—like everything he produced, from images of soup cans to those of Marilyn Monroe—are collectors items going for phenomenal prices. I just saw a website offering a mint copy of the Prestige Trombone For Three album for nearly $900 US, plus shipping from Sweden. Since the album is available in CD form with a non-Warhol illustration for about a hundredth of that price, we may assume that most of the tab applies to the cover. And a nifty cover it is.
The music inside was on a 16-rpm long-playing vinyl disc, a product line Prestige dropped shortly after for lack of demand. It included three sessions led by, respectively, J.J. Johnson, Kai Winding and Bennie Green. Here is a track from Green’s 1951 date. “Tenor Sax Shuffle” has trombonist Green as leader with the visceral tenor saxophone duelers Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and Big Nick Nicholas; Rudy Williams, baritone saxophone; Teddy Brannon, piano; Tommy Potter, bass; and Art Blakey, drums. It was originally issued as a 78-rpm single, which is how we have it here.
Warhol’s other prominent jazz cover art gig was for the 1956 Blue Note album entitled Kenny Burrell.
The guitarist had Kenny Dorham, trumpet; J.R. Monterose, tenor saxophone; Bobby Timmons, piano; Sam Jones, bass; and Arthur Edgehill, drums. The piece is Dorham’s “Mexico City.” If it seems to you that it resembles Bud Powell’s “Tempus Fugue-it,” that’s because it does.
Like the trombone album, the Burrell is no longer available with the Warhol cover. Its tracks are included in this Kenny Dorham CD.