Reid Miles

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Reid Miles (4 July 1927 – 2 February 1993) was an American graphic designer and photographer best known for his iconic work for Blue Note Records in the 1950s and 1960s.


Reid Miles was born in Chicago, Illinois, on 4 July 1927 but, following the Stock Market Crash and the separation of his parents, moved with his mother to Long Beach, California, in 1929.[1]

After high school Miles joined the Navy and, following his discharge, moved to Los Angeles to enroll at Chouinard Art Institute.[1]

After working in New York City in the early 1950s for John Hermansader and Esquire magazine,[2] Miles was hired in his own right around 1955 by Francis Wolff of the jazz record label Blue Note to design album covers when the label began releasing their recordings on 12" LPs. Miles designed over five hundred covers[3], frequently incorporating the session photographs of Francis Wolff and, later, his own photographs, although many of his later designs dispensed entirely with photographs.[2]

Miles wasn't particularly interested in jazz, professing to have much more of an interest in classical music; he received several copies of each Blue Note album he designed but gave most of them to friends or sold them to used record shops.[2] Miles used the descriptions of the sessions relayed to him by producer Alfred Lion to create the artwork.

Lion's retirement as a record producer in 1967 coincided with the end of Miles' connection with Blue Note. "Fifty Bucks an album...they loved it, thought it was modern, they thought it went with the or two colors to work with at that time and some outrageous graphics!".[1]

Select discography[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The Cover Art Of Blue Note Records by Graham Marsh and Glyn Callingham ISBN 1-85585-919-X
  2. ^ a b c Richard Cook Blue Note Records The Biography, ISBN 0-7126-3623-4
  3. ^ "The Jazzy Blue Notes of Reid Miles". Retinart. Retrieved 2017-12-14.