The word JAZZ in bold orange letters against a dark blue background headlines this poster. A saxophone is superimposed on the “J”, cleverly emphasizing the jazz message. But this vintage poster isn’t about musicians or jazz festivals; it is an advertisement by musical instrument seller Marcel Faivre, a specialiste du jazz moderne.
The illustration of a dapper young man clad in a light suit, smiling while he plays his glowing-yellow drum kit is the visual focus. He sits surrounded by four drums, three cymbals and everything else that a jazz drummer needs. By today’s standards, the only missing items are the amplifiers.
Marcel Faivre also boasts in this poster that its instruments are favorites of Paris conservatories and of professional artists in the theater and the radio.
Jazz originated in the African-American community of New Orleans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Following World War I, a number of American expatriate musicians settled in Paris and introduced jazz to the continent. By the 1930s it had become popular there.
The date of this poster is unknown. Most sources place it in the 1940s, but if that is correct, it would have to have been in the late second half of that decade as France was embroiled in WWII from 1940-1945, and publication of a poster advertising musical instruments is unlikely. Others have given it a pre-WWII date of the late thirties. The hairstyle of the drummer, often referred to as a "pompadour," was popular in the 1950s, suggesting the 1950s as another possibility.
Whatever the date, this charming "blast from the past" poster would be perfect in any space inhabited by a drummer --- be it a bedroom, a music room or even a basement or a garage. At just over 16” wide and 20” high, it is not as large as many posters and hence can fit nicely on a small wall in need of a terrific musical image.