Anatomy of: an album cover

A photo shoot with Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo

a.k.a. Dream Job!

Here is a photo document leading up to the final cover, inside pages and press kit photographs for an upcoming jazz disc from Branford Marsalis and Joey Caldrazzo, titled Songs of Mirth and Melancholy.

I have also been given permission to include an amazing track titled: Endymion.

Album Cover artwork

Album cover artwork for Songs of Mirth and Melancholy

Label President Sherry McAdams, The designer, Steve Jurgensmeyer, and I had story boarded the shots we needed and were in desperate need of a location. After scouting for what seemed like weeks (maybe it was just days), we were given permission to shoot in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts newly constructed modern wing. Steve had pitched the idea to emulate, but not copy, the clean, cool look and feel of the great turn-of-the-century jazz album covers. The MFA turned out to be the perfect spot to cover all of our aesthetic needs, and being so full of natural light, all I needed was one excellent assistant and no lights whatsoever save for the occasional bounce card.

Call time was 6:30 am, and Branford had just come up from NYC after a four-day stint performing with the New York Philharmonic, and Joey had just returned from tour dates in Europe. They were NOT overjoyed to be dressed up and bossed around. The fact that we knew what we wanted and made every effort to keep the stress low and the mood light kept the shoot on schedule and the artists happy.

Here are some of the test photographs, outtakes from the shoot and favs of mine, as well as the images actually used on the CD packaging.

HUGE thanks to my amazing assistant (and a great artist in his own right) Darren Stahlman, stylist extraordinaire and great friend Jennifer Dunlea, and great friend and label president, Sherry McAdams, who asked me to join the team on this amazing project.

For more info on Branford Marsalis and many other amazing musicians, head to and be amazed.

~ by Stephen Sheffield on May 4, 2011.

3 Responses to “Anatomy of: an album cover”

  1. Interesting story. Great image.


  2. I am impressed with everything about this, well written, well documented, terrific job, excellent work, and the perfect application of your talents! Congratulations!


  3. Supercool….Love seeing how this is made


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