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307. Hi-Fi for Bella Vista Social Pub.

Seldom can you write about a topic over a day old on this here internet and still be considered a timely source for news. I'm really pushing my luck on this piece as the project below is not just one day old, or one week old, or even a month old - It's over a year old. Well, it was posted to the internet about a year ago, but that is like a century in the cloud. Anyway, if you've seen this already then by all means skip to the bottom of the post, make sure you are subscribed to our RSS feed and following our Twitter posts and be on your way. If you haven't seen this then you are in for a treat. And I'm going to try to break it down into a little more detail than what has been done in the past.

Italian venue The Bella Vista Social Pub in Siena, Tuscany and one-name director Bante collaborated to promote their summer series of jazz concerts which is itself a celebration of Blue Note Record's 70th Anniversary. The resulting promotional piece called Hi-Fi is a wonderful bit of motion graphics and absolute timeless cool.

Most of you know about Blue Note, the preeminent postwar jazz label that published every important artist in hard bop jazz until declining in importance in the '60s and '70s. There was a particular style that the album covers had that somehow managed to capture the cool, yet moody vibe of the music with perfect type, color and composition. Under designer Reid Miles, the album covers comprise one of the more impressive and important case studies for graphic design. Miles is truly one of my favorites and although it's difficult to find out much about his life and biography - his work is thankfully everywhere. The Bella Vista Social Pub's video is as much a tribute to Miles as it is to Blue Note jazz. There is also a little historical tidbit that is quite interesting; Reid Miles wasn't a big fan of jazz and actually preferred classical music. Usually he didn't even listen the album for which has was designing which would be considered heresy today but it's hard to argue with the resulting work.

For the Bella Vista project, Director Bante (real name Stefano Tinti) re-imagines some of the more important album covers as moving pictures and manages to make them come to life. The type moves, color bounces, and the images breathe. Jazz feels as contemporary as ever and I think Miles (as well as the other Blue Note artists) would be very proud of this piece. Let's watch the video in all it's ultra too cool for school glory and then we'll compare the stills with the original album covers.

Hi-Fi For The Bella Vista Social Pub:

As you can see in the following side by side comparison the typography doesn't always match perfectly. In some cases it doesn't matter, but in a few instances I wish they were closer. There are some examples where the inexactness works even better than the original, or maybe I should say there are moments when the new version complements the spirit of the old if not to the letter. All in all it's a wonderful tribute to a an amazing time in both music and design.

A Side by Side Comparison of My Favorite Frames. (Original on the Right, Hi-Fi Still on the Left). Click on the image for a slightly larger version.

The type of the new (on the right) doesn't match perfetly that of the original (on the left) but the movement really makes this album cover shine.

You immediately know the reference if not a perfect mirror match. The color halftone treatment of the video does a nice job of honoring the cover.

This is my favorite. It really only hints at the original but somehow captures everything about it. The motion makes this new version a contemporary take on the old.

A funny example of all the elements being somehow different but as a whole manages to be a perfect reproduction. C'mon this is so cool.

Different Dog. Different Chicken. But totally an appropriate remake.

I would liked to have seen a checkered suit in the new, but the face to face type treatment makes this piece.

This is nice even though he looks more like Diddy than Herbie here.

Add some noise to the version on the left, you'd be hard pressed to guess which one came first. The backlit woman just works. You can see they changes the composition for Hi-Fi to arrange around a slightly different image but the Cooper Black ties them together.

Makes me want to update my Facebook profile pic with me next to a nice hubcap.

Futura. Black and white photography. AND a puppy? Too much. A nice tribute to the original and is there a better jazz name than Elmo Hope? I think not.

I think these hats are back in fashion and a nice condensed sans usually works too.

A classic. Updated with class. And that's a great smile don't ya think?

I think I prefer the new layout for this example. The lamp provides a nice backbone for the typography.

I might have to steal two ball-serif J's for my own brand. Love it.

This might be one where the photography of the original expressed some serious emotion that the new version lacks; but the type is a nice update and overall you are aware of the reference.


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Reader Comments (3)

It's an amazing video. Given its outstanding quality, I was surprised to see Art Blakey's name misspelled ("Blackey").
August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMax Newell
I love pretty much everything about this project. BlueNote has made some amazing covers over the years, so it's great to see somebody pay homage to them.
December 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
This is a great video. I think the reason for the changes in the new one is because they want to keep the common element of the same guy throughout. Maybe a different guy in each cover would confuse the theme or 'branding', perhaps?
July 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGinge

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