I have heard quite a few compliments about the distinctive cover art for my Dare2 releases. When I started the label, I knew I wanted my good friend, the world-famous graphic designer Niklaus Troxler, to do the artwork.
I first met Niklaus during the early 1970s. With the help of family and friends, he was organizing concerts in his hometown of Willisau, Switzerland—an activity that began because of his love of music. These would become the annual Jazz in Willisau festival. I immediately liked his directness and his positive energy, and discovered in him a wonderful sense of humor and intensity of purpose.
So many great images come to mind. Once, I was in Willisau to play a solo concert on a double bill with the Ron Carter Quartet. When we arrived at the hall, we were greeted by 20 large posters in a line across the entrance doors, each showing a lilac bass against a yellow background, with an arm at each shoulder of the bass playing the strings. On another occasion, a poster for a concert by Sam Rivers showed a pink fish jumping out of the bell of a tenor saxophone! Niklaus’ posters are full of bold colors—Niklaus himself favors clothes with colors and combinations of equal intensity.
For the release of Pathways, in addition to a standard CD, we collaborated with Niklaus and Grammy-award winning package designer Susan Archie (Albert Ayler: Holy Ghost, Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton), to create a limited edition set (1,000 copies). This edition of Pathways comes in a 5” x 7” lidded box containing six postcard-sized reproductions of concert posters designed by Niklaus, including a poster commemorating the octet’s recording of Pathways live at Birdland in 2009. This set includes posters for concerts by Gateway, Anthony Braxton, Sam Rivers, and the double bill with Ron Carter mentioned above. The CD comes in a 4-panel folder decorated with Niklaus’ art, as well.
I hope you enjoy his art as much as I do – and don’t forget to pay attention to the music!