I was in Berlin in the early 1990s – only a few years after the wall came down – and I found myself in a jazz club one night. It was there I first saw this poster – it was hanging on the wall – called “Highlights of the Jazz Story in USA” produced by a fellow named Peter Von Bartkowski in Hamburg.
With mind-blowing detail, this poster depicted the evolution of jazz music in tree form starting with the roots in popular music and Negro spirituals and moving through the trunk of blues, swing, bebop and cool. As you progress to the edges of the tree, the main genres sprout sub-genres and sub-sub-genres along with each artist’s picture and biographic vitals.
For lovers of jazz, this is a truly magnificent infographic work of art that reveals new connections, fills in missing pieces and presents a theory of aural heritage. Long before the infographics of the internet, there were postersand poster art. This is one of my favorite infographic posters of all time.
I recall how desperate I was that night to have this poster and how excited I was when I discovered the jazz bar had them for sale. It’s been one of my prized possessions since then and is always a filter for a real music aficionado during any social occasion. If you are into music and jazz in particular, you cannot but be mesmerized.
The Story of Jazz in USA poster is available online at Amazon for an unbelievably low price. This amazing jazz tree poster also available online as a high-res JPG version that you can peruse to your heart’s content.