Collectible vinyl jazz records run the gamut from some of the earliest blues, ragtime, and Dixieland 78 RPM recordings to bebop, hard bop, and free jazz LPs. Along the way, the genre includes big band swing, West Coast cool, and international flavors.

For collectors of jazz on vinyl, several names are legendary, but not the ones you might first expect. Sure jazz fans want their Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Cab Calloway, and Dave Brubeck, but the names they tend to gravitate to are those of the record labels that recorded the work of these and other geniuses of the art form.

One of the first labels was Brunswick, which in the 1920s was one of the biggest record manufacturers in the U.S. Back then the discs were made out of shellac and ran at 78 RPM. Brunswick artists (along with those of subsidiary label Vocalion) included the likes of Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson—in the 1930s, the company pressed Artie Shaw and Gene Krupa 78s.

Brunswick did such a good job that when England’s Decca records decided to start a U.S. subsidiary, it hired Jack Kapp of Brunswick to run the new company. One of Kapp’s lasting achievements was an 11-year relationship with Louis Armstrong, who recorded 166 tunes for the label. By the 1950s, Brunswick would rerelease many of its recordings from the 1930s and 1940s on LP, bringing Jelly Roll Morton, Art Tatum, Cab Calloway, Count Basie, and Dixieland jazz by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings to new audiences.

Another early jazz label whose 78 records are considered rare and collectible is Bluebird. It began as a budget label for RCA Victor but quickly evolved into a home for the blues, particularly the work of Chicago artists Big Bill Broonzy, Leadbelly, and Sonny Boy Williamson. Blues aside, one of the label’s best-known artists was Glenn Miller, who cut "In the Mood" and many other classics for Bluebird.

Continuing in this colorful vein is Blue Note records, which was founded in 1939 as a home for jazz exclusively. Saxophonist Sydney Bechet was one of the label’s first finds, but Blue Note really hit its stride after the war with recordings by Anita O’Day, Lester Young, Thelonius Monk, Art Blakely, and Max Roach. In the 1950s, Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, Charlie Parker, Lionel Hampton, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, and Kenny Burrell (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg) had all recorded for Blue Note.

For Blue Note collectors, one of the main differentiators in the value of a vinyl LP is the pressing location. The key is the address on the labels on both sides of a record. Pre...

This pressing differentiation is also true for Prestige Records, home to Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli in the 1930s, Duke Ellington and his Orchestra in the 1940s, and Sonny Stitt, Zoot Sims, and the Modern Jazz Quartet in the 1950s. For Prestige, catalog numbers from 7001 to 7141 with a New York City address on the label are generally the most sought after.

Meanwhile, in California, Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Bud Shank, and Laurindo Almeida were recording 10- and 12-inch discs for Pacific Jazz Records, which was founded in 1952 before being gobbled up in 1957 by Liberty Records. These days, Blue Note distributes Pacific’s short-lived, but highly regarded, catalog.

One of the unexpected outlets in the 1950s for some of the original jazz pioneers was Hollywood. For example, Louis Armstrong’s trumpet work and vocals on the soundtrack for the 1956 film High Society contributed to its brisk sales (Bing Crosby’s duet with Grace Kelly, plus other tracks by Frank Sinatra, probably didn’t hurt the disc, either). And Armstrong had another movie-related hit in 1963, when an LP version of Hello Dolly! was released to capitalize on his best-selling single from the film of the same name.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas pays homage to international female opera singers of the LP era. Chronicling more than 800 singers, the… [read review or visit site]

317X

317X

Despite its mysterious title, 317X is plain and simple—an online gallery of vintage LPs, with a 1950s vintage fee… [read review or visit site]

Mybeatles.net

Mybeatles.net

Jesse Barron's collection of Beatles 45s, picture sleeves, magazines, books, and memorabilia. Browse singles and al… [read review or visit site]

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

This great site, from the Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors, offers detailed background information an… [read review or visit site]

The Remington Site

The Remington Site

Since 1999, the Remington Site has offered classical music collectors a glimpse into Remington Records, an independ… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Don Rendell Ian Carr Quintet Phase Iii Original Uk Mono Lp British Jazz NucleusGil Scott-heron**lady Day & John Coltrane**soul**dancer**listen To ItAffinity - Affinity - Original Us Lp - Prog Jazz Rock Linda Hoyle PsychMiles Davis In A Silent Way Lp Cbs 1969Jazz-hip Trio Jazz In Relief Original Uk Stereo Lp On Major Minor - Orange BoomMiles Davis Live Evil Double Vinyl Lp Gatefold Sleeve Orig Uk Cbs 1972 A1 B1 ExRiverside Rlp 376 - Bill Evans Trio Sunday At The Village Vanguard - Must ReadThelonious Monk In Action Lp Riverside Rlp 12-262 1958Jazz Donald Byrd Places And Spaces Blue Note Usa Orig Fats Domino Here Stands Fats Domino London Ha=p 2052 Lp 1957'jazz Funk Road' - Studio G Library Lp - MintChicano Power! Latin Rock In Usa 1968-1976 Double Vinyl Lp Soul Jazz Records 3lp Gatefold Bill Evans Conversations With Myself/ Trio '65 Verve Vnl Ex+ Cvr ExCannonball Adderley With Bill Evans - Know What I Mean? Mint German PressingOriginal Soul 70 45 Soul Jazz Records 5 X 7" Box Set New Mint Sealed Rsd 2017Miles Davis "cookin' With The Miles Davis Quintet" Dg Uk Esquire Lp Rvg StampedJohn & Alice Coltrane - "cosmic Music"......12inch Mono LpMiles Davis. Kind Of Blue. 12" VinylBooker Ervin The Space Book Vinyl Lp Orig Uk Rare Jazz Prestige Records Pr 7386Anita O'day - Anita Vinyl Lp 1956 Verve Records Us Vocal JazzCharles Mingus Reincarnation Of A Lovebird Lp Atlantic 587 166 1959Herbie Hancock Sunlight Lp 1978The Charlie Mingus Jazz Workshop Stormy Weather 2lpCharlie Parker Miles Davis Lee Konitz Rare Broadcast Performances LpRight Back Where We Started From Kent 039 Eu Lp 1985 Herbie Goins Jerry NaylorKenny Burwell Blue Lights Vol 1 - Blue Note LpArt Blakey & The Jazz Messengers Child's Dance Lp 1972Fats Domino Uk 7'' Ep Be My Guest In Vg /vg ConCharlie Mingus Cecil Taylor Rare Broadcast Performances LpCharles Mingus The Jones Boys Foundations Of Modern Jazz LpMiles Davis "changes" With Jackie Mclean/art Taylor Dg Uk Esquire Lp Rvg StampedArt Tatum King Of Jazz LpCharles Mingus Town Hall Concert Lp Tyrone Guthrie Theatre Minneapolis 1962Clark Terry Thelonious Monk C.t. Meets Monk Lp RiversideArt Tatum Masters Of Jazz 3 LpMa Rainey & Her Georgia Jazz Band Oh My Babe Blues Lp 1924-1928Jazz Guitar Anthhology Vol 2 Lp Django Herb Ellis Les Paul Laurindo AlmeidaTina Brooks, True Blue, Blue Note Blp-4041 Rvg "p" Ear Lee Morgan - Volume 2 : Sextet Blue Note Blp 1541 1st Press Ear Exc+78 Rpm -- Original Tuxedo Jazz Orch./clarence Williams Bl 5, Okeh 8215, E- JazzPaul Chambers, Whims Of Chambers, Blue Note Blp-1534 Rvg "p" Ear Lex Flat EdgeSonny Rollins, Donald Byrd, Blue Note Blp-1542 Rvg "p" Ear Lexington Flat EdgeHank Mobley-hank-donald Byrd-lp-vinyl-blue Note 1560-rvg-ear-63rd Street-mgJoe Henderson, Kenny Dorham, Page One, Blue Note Blp-4140 "p" Ear Van Gelder Ike Quebec, Soul Samba, Kenny Burrell, Blue Note Blp-4114 "p" Ear Van Gelder78 Rpm -- Jimmie Rodgers, Victor 23580 With Louis Armstrong, E+ Country - JazzSonny Clark, Leapin And Lopin, Blue Note Blp-4091 Rvg ''p'' EarBill Evans Sunday At The Village Vanguard Mfsl Audiophile One-step Vinyl Box SetJackie Mclean, Swing Swang Swingin', Blue Note Blp-4024 Rvg "p" Ear Herbie Nichols, Blue Note Blp-1519 Rvg "p" Ear Lexington Flat EdgeHorace Parlan, George Tucker, Us Three, Blue Note Blp-4037 Rvg "p" Ear Sonny Clark, Art Farmer, Dial "s" For Sonny, Blue Note Blp-1570 Rvg "p" EarMiles Davis, Complete Plugged Nickel Recordings, Mosaic 10lp Box, Like New #2189John Coltrane / Alice Coltrane: Rare Cosmic Music - Coltrane Records Crs 5000Charlie Munro - Eastern Horizons - Oz Jazz Sought After - Original Philips PressWillie Rosario Y Orquesta "fabuloso" Rare Latin Jazz Mambo Guaguanco Lp Bmc Mp3The Miles Davis, Relaxin, Prestige Prlp-7129 RvgRay Terrace "baila Baila" Rare Latin Jazz Lp Jubilee Mono Mp3Walter Bishop Jr. Trio, Speak Low ~ '61 Jazztime Jt-002 ~ 1st, Mono, Vg+Bill Evans Live At Village Vanguard Mofi One Step Audiophile Box Set #1019