Reid Miles & Andy Warhol: Johnny Griffin, The Congregation, Blue Note 1580 (1958)

Fifties, Jazz

The next Warhol-Miles cooperation for Blue Note records follows the same path as the Kenny Burrell album: in 1956 there was an album called Introducing Johnny Griffin, with a cover designed by Reid Miles and a photo of Griffin by Francis Wolff. So for the next Griffin album on Blue Note with a Reid Miles design, Miles asks Warhol to make a graphic interpretation of the Francis Wolff photo portrait.

I have not found a contact sheet in the Warhol archives, but there is little doubt that the source picture Warhol used was either the one on the LP cover of Introducing Johnny Griffin, or a photo from that same photoshoot.

The colors on Griffins shirt in the Warhol drawing, are a great match with Griffin’s very vivid bop style on The Congregation, on tracks like Latin Quarter or It’s You or No One. Great album!

Introducing Johnny Griffin, Blue Note 1533, design Reid Miles, photography Francis Wolff. The photo has Wolff’s printed signature.

One of the earliest posts in this blog was about the Congregation album, and the differences in the printing of the colors on the album. Very few reissues have the same vivid colors as the original 1958 edition, with laminated cover. I have to admit I am a bit obsessed, and found a pressing where the colors of the cover are really well: a French issue from 1984, on Blue Note, Pathé Marconi EMI. Just talking about the cover art of course, if you want to know about sound quality of different pressings, you will have to consult other websites specialized in that matter.

The French edition from 1984, Blue Note – Pathé Marconi/EMI. Colors are vivid, background is more off-white.
Something I love doing: comparison of the 4 covers in my collection. From bottom to top: below the original 1958 laminated cover; second a 1972 release; third the French 1984 release; on top a 2003 release with bleak colors.

6 thoughts on “Reid Miles & Andy Warhol: Johnny Griffin, The Congregation, Blue Note 1580 (1958)”

    • Thanks Bruce! I bow to the master of vinyl obsession, though, I’m sure that if you were a Warhol collector, you would have at least 10 different copies of this record! ;-D

      Liked by 2 people

      • Confession: As I’ve enjoyed your posts, it has occurred to me that a modest Wahol collection would be possible, but (so far) sanity has prevailed. But I certainly haven’t ruled out going for more Mati Klarwein!

        Liked by 2 people

  1. RichC says:

    Tremendous stuff! found your site as i bagged a Japanese Toshiba-EMI issue of this album yesterday. I would describe the colours as on a par with the original but the background is very white.

    Liked by 1 person

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