Back in 1910, when records were still made out shellac, 10-inch discs spun at 78 revolutions per minute (RPM). In 1948, when the 33 1/3 RPM vinyl LP was introduced, the 10-inch disc was still the industry standard. Twelve-inch records were also pressed, but they were saved for classical music.
As it turned out, everyone wanted those extra grooves—by the mid-1950s, 10-inch records had been largely phased out, which is what makes them so collectible today. Some of the most prized, vintage 10-inch records from 1948 to 1956 are those cut by jazz artists on labels like Clef, Savoy, Prestige, and Blue Note.
When evaluating 10-inch Blue Note albums, look for records bearing the company’s original 767 Lexington Avenue address—these are usually more collectible than pressings labeled 4...
Sidney Bechet was one of Blue Note’s first recording artists, so naturally you’ll find 10-inch vinyl by the clarinetist and saxman, including “Beyond Recall” with New Orleans trumpet player Bunk Johnson. Other vintage Blue Note 10-inch records of note include Miles Davis’s “Young Man With a Horn,” Dizzy Gillespie’s “Horn Of Plenty,” and “Art Blakey, A Night At Birdland Volume 2.”
The covers of some 10-inchers can be as interesting as the music inside. Pianist Erroll Garner’s “Overture To Dawn Vol. 1” and Lionel Hampton’s “Jazztime Paris” are just two of the vintage Blue Note albums to feature liner notes by the great Los Angeles Times jazz critic Leonard Feather.
Clef pressed 10-inch vinyl for Stan Getz, whose “Stan Getz Plays” boasts a classic David Stone Martin cover, while Los Angeles jazz photographer William Claxton shot cover photos for Kitty White’s self-titled album for Pacifica.
Aladdin released the much sought-after “Lester Young and Illinois Jacquet, Battle of the Saxes,” Vanguard’s “Vic Dickenson Septet, Volume 1” featured the trombonist’s version of “Jeepers Creepers,” and Betty St. Claire recorded “Cool and Clearer” for Jubilee. Collectors who like to go deep with an artist should consider the set of four 10-inch albums from Savoy called “Charlie Parker, New Sounds in Modern Music As Played By Its Creator.”
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, 10-inch records enjoyed a minor comeback as extended-play mini-albums, and more recently some boxed sets have used the 10-inch format to create bonus discs.
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