Chats with Cats
I just wanted to capture those impressive musical moments with pen and paper, as a record.
” data-original-title=”” title=””>Miles Davis during his “electric Miles” period that I got turned on to jazz. I don’t play any instrument.
AAJ: You are associated with Way Out West, a Japanese jazz magazine. Could you tell me about the magazine and your contribution to it?
TF: At first, I got involved with the local jazz scene in the Kansai, which is the southern-central region of Japan’s main island, Honshu. In the meanwhile, I started producing concerts and running a record label. These activities having made me keenly feel the importance of news media, so I started a free monthly jazz magazine called Way Out West in 2009. WOW marked its 13th anniversary in April of this year.
AAJ: What’s your favorite album cover of all time, yours or anyone else’s, and why?
TF: It’s hard to choose one, but if I have to, it would be
1909 – 1959
” data-original-title=”” title=””>Lester Young‘s self-titled album from Norgran Records, one of the vintage LPs that I found at a local record shop in Osaka several years ago.
I believe this one is definitely David Stone Martin’s masterpiece. The balance between his sense of humor and the jacket design is just perfect. While some of his artworks come across as being just shy of perfect in terms of the combination of illustration and typography, this one is absolutely fantastic.
AAJ: How do you come up with the design for a certain recording? Are you usually given a direction or are you left free to come up with it yourself?
TF: My clients commission my work just because they like my style, so I’m usually given free rein to work as I please. I usually start my creative process by listening to a recording of a given album and knowing its title for inspiration. Fortunately, being able to access music and video recordings online these days has made the process much easier.
AAJ: Once you have a design in mind, how do you create the actual art?
TF: First, I still draw with pen on B4-size paper without the use of a drawing tablet. I then scan my drawings onto my Mac to design layouts and add colors.
My art work always includes typography designs for the titles and artist names. I combine multiple graphic components, including my illustration, into a complete cover design. Being a graphic designer myself, I engage in the art direction that goes with my illustrations.
AAJ: How do you feel the jazz scene in Japan is different than that of the rest of the world’s?
TF: In Japan, we still enjoy good old cultural places such as jazz kissa (coffee shops where you can enjoy coffee while listening to jazz) and CD stores. Lots of people have favorable impressions of jazz music. Hard bop, in particular, are revered by most of the Kansai jazz lovers. On the other hand, compared to the US and elsewhere, there are much fewer opportunities in Japan where one can be exposed to live music on the street or in restaurants.
In the Kansai, where I live, lots of jazz clubs have been hanging in there, but the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have really handicapped them. I really hope Way Out West can be of some help to them.
AAJ: Is there a jazz artist you’d really like to make a cover for still?
TF: I really don’t have any particular artist I would like to make a cover for. Instead, I wish more and more illustrated album covers would be issued. I keep on drawing to create numerous unique album-cover artworks that match the creative music called jazz and hope they will become popular with general audiences.