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David Stone Martin

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In the world of jazz there is one artist collected the world over who has never played an instrument not even a note of music but has left his mark on the jazz culture. Illustrator David Stone Martin was one of the most prolific and influential graphic designers of the postwar era, with his signature hand sketched graphics with two or three primary colors, perfectly capturing the energy and spontaneity of the jazz idiom.

David Stone Martin is a true classic, a pioneer and the style force of the record album design. He is the most collected of all album designers and the initials DSM has beeen a household word among collectors over the world.  

David Stone Martin made more than two hundred album covers during the 1950s for the Norman Granz labels, Clef, Norgran and Verve.


David Stone Martin was born in Chicago 1913. He graduated from the art school in 1935 and came to New York in the early 1940s. Always interested in jazz, he hade a close friendship with pianist Mary Lou Williams and when she recorded for the Asch label in 1944, she persuaded the owner, Moses Asch (later the founder of Folkways Records), to let Martin design the album cover.


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