I'm listening to Thelonious Monk's 1967 Straight, No Chaser album. The cover art is very interesting:

Straight, No Chaser cover art

It features a horizontal profile of Monk (complete with signature goatee) and a graph paper background. Other than those two elements, I have no idea what I'm looking at.

What are the other elements of this cover art? Has anything been written about the creation or meaning behind this album cover?

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    I can't tell, exactly, but I know this was a photo of a "Mixed Media" art piece (it literally contained all the dials and gizmos and such) by Laszlo Kubinyi. This link has a much cleaner image you can look at. The original piece sold for just over $1K in 2014 with parts of it broken. Jan 3, 2017 at 21:24
  • @JohnnyBones Thanks for the info. I've replaced the image in the question.
    – Ben Miller
    Jan 3, 2017 at 21:36
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    You may also want to possibly contact him, he may respond. I've found 2 pages with contact info: here and here. They both indicate that he's represented by a person named Rapp, so the contact info is likely legit. Jan 3, 2017 at 21:50
  • I was just wondering the same thing while listening to the album. To me it looks as if the disc in the lower right corner looks like an early hard disk platter. With what @JohnnyBones posted about it being a photo of a "Mixed Media" art piece by Kubinyi, a platter where Monk's brain would be makes sense to me and is pretty neat in my opinion! At least that's what I'm going to think now! ;) lol Thanks for the thread! Mar 23, 2018 at 20:09

2 Answers 2


I also have this album at home. It looks to me like the gears of two turntables, one inside the cutout in his head, the other centre-left of the cover.


Thank you for all of your interest in this cover. I really enjoyed creating it. It was nominated for a Grammy Award At that time. All of the gears and disks in that art are from my imagination and really do not symbolize anything. I loved collecting discarded pieces from a piano maker in Queens and incorporating them into my work. Take a look at my web site to see other art. Laszlo Kubinyi

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