John Goodman

Built on his life-long love of jazz, experience as a Professor of English, and as a music critic for nine years for Playboy, author John Goodman has developed two different projects that focus on jazz, both with varied and original perspectives.

John contacted us to help create an online experience to work in tandem with his book, Mingus Speaks, and to design the cover for his most recent and much more personal project, his memoir, Jive- Colored Glasses.

Level created a website for one of my books and designed a great cover for another. Could not be happier with the results and the care they took on each project.

— John Goodman


Jive-Colored Glasses cover

concept, content development, design, original photography

Jive-Colored Glasses is an autobiographical memoir written by author John F. Goodman. An informed look into jazz history and culture from the 50’s to the 80’s, John writes of his personal experience coming into jazz from a privileged background, becoming a jazz critic, and how jazz shaped his life.



The front cover of the book features a modified photograph of the author as a child, standing in front of the family Victrola — an iconic image to channel the tone of the story.

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strategy, information architecture, concept, design, front-end development

The website Mingus Speaks is a companion to John’s book of the same title, and helps give context for the book and John’s unique relationship with Mingus. The book centers around extended interviews with Charles Mingus from 1972-1974.

Historic imagery of Mingus and a simple black and white color palette give the site a jazz feel with minimal means. The site also serves as a way for the author to reach a larger audience, blogging about the book and jazz and other projects he is working on.