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]



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]

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    

Har-you Percussion Group Sounds Of The Ghetto Youth Esp 1067 Latin Jazz Funk LpShamek Farrah First Impressions Strata-east Lp Jazz Funk Vg+/vgSonny Clark Sonny's Crib Blue Note Lp 1576 Mono 47 West 63rd NmPhil Ranelin Vibes From The Tribe Tribe Lp Vg++/vg+ Private Funk Jazz Cliff Craft Cliff Jordan Blue Note Lp 1582 47 West 63rd Dg Vg++Keith Tippett Group Dedicated To You Orig Uk Vertigo Swirl Lp Jazz Prog FusionHank Mobley Roll Call Lp Blue Note 4058 Dg 47 West 63rd Vg++Mal Waldron Mal / 3 Sounds Prestige New Jazz Dg Mono 1st Yellow Nm!!S.o.l.a.r. Faith For My Mind Solar Lp Vg+ Private Spiritual Jazz Quintessence: Sonoma Rag Lp Private Jazz Funk Sealed Original(joe Gallardo) & Sol Lp In Shrink Latin Soul Funk Jazz Fusion Original Tx PressiPharoahs Awakening Volume 1 Scarab Lp Nm Shrink Private Funk Jazz Sunrise Ltd. Until My Love Returns Pizzazz Lp Sealed Private Funk Jazz Soul Paul Chambers Quintet Lp Donald Byrd/cliff Jordan Blue Note Jazz Rvg West 63rdFreddie Hubbard - Open Sesame - Blue Note 4040 47 West 63rd - Rvg - Ear -dgPaul Chambers Cliff Jordan Quintet Blue Note 1564 Dg Ear MonoDizzy Reece Blues In Trinity - Orig. Mono Blue Note Lp 4006 Dg Rvg 47 West 63rdDuke Pearson Tender Fealin's Blue Note 4035 Dg Ear Mono Vg+James Tatum Contemporary Jazz + Mass Jttp Lp Vg+ Shrink Private Spiritual JazzHerbie Hancock Freddie Hubbard Maiden Voyage Blue Note Ear Mono Vg+Kenny Dorham Sonny Rollins Jazz Contrasts White Riverside Dg Mono Vg++Prestige 7074 Hank Mobley John Coltrane Tenor Conclave 50th St. Nyc Dg Yellow LpMal Waldron Impressions Prestige New Jazz Dg MonoThe Waterbearers Strata-east Lp Rare Jazz Ses-7410 Vg/vg Creative Arts Ensemble One Step Out Nimbus Ns-913 Ex/vg+ Spiritual JazzThe Heshoo Beshoo Group Armitage Road Lp Emi South African Jazz Lp Ex/exBlue Note 84058 Hank Mobley Roll Call Rare Original Stereo LpLightnin' Hopkins Lightning Usa Prestige Bluesville 1019 Original Rare Blues ExThe Art Woods ~ Jazz In Jeans ** 1966 Uk 1st Decca Ep ArtwoodsMn Private Jazz 45 Morris Wilson W Beau Bailey Qt Paul's Ark Bobby Jackson ExtraDizzy Reece Hank Mobley Star Bright Blue Note 4023 Dg Ear Mono Vg+Haki R. Madhubuti/nation Medasi/thank You Rise Lp Sealed Private Spritual JazzDavid Wertman Sun Ensemble Wide Eye Culture Sun 401 Private Jazz Ex/exDexter Gordon "one Flight Up" Blue Note Lp Ny 4176 MonoKenny Burrell Blue Lights Blue Note 1596 Lp Warhol West 63rd Dg Ear Tina BrooksGerman Brunswick 267912 The Michael Naura Quintet European Jazz Sounds 1963 Moravagine S/t Rare French Jazz On Promophone Lp Ex/exAlfredo Remus 5 On Emi 6279 Electric Jazz Ex/vg+ Pucho & Latin Soul Brothers Jungle Fire! Prestige Lp Vg+ Philip Cohran & Artistic Heritage Ensemble S/t Zulu Lp Private Spiritual JazzEric Dolphy Freddie Hubbard Outward Bound New Jazz Dg Mono Vg+Dizzy Reece Star Bright Orig Blue Note Jazz Blp 4023 Lp Mono Vg++Dadisi Komolafe "hassan's Walk" Lp Nimbus Private Spiritual JazzMarcus Belgrave Gemini Gem Eye Lp Sealed Private Funk Jazz Prestige 7047 Sonny Rollins Tenor Madness 50th St. Nyc Dg Yellow Label LpBlue Note 84175 Herbie Hancock Empyrean Isles Rare Original Ny Usa Ear Stereo LpCharles Tyler Voyage From Jericho Ak-ba Lp Private Jazz 75 Ex/vg+Lou Donaldson Lp "swing & Soul" Original Blue Note W 63rd D/g Rvg Ear Vg+Jackie Mclean Lp Swing Swang Swingin' Blue Note Jazz West 63rd Rvg EarWendell Harrison & Phillip Ranelin Message From The Tribe Lp Private Funk Jazz Hank Mobley Lp "roll Call" ~ Orig. Mono Blue Note ~ W. 63rd ~dg~ Rvg ~ EarHank Mobley - Roll Call -blue Note 84058- 47 West 63rd Nyc - Rvg - Ear - Dg-vg++Hank Mobley Lp "no Room For Squares" ~ Orig. Mono Blue Note~van Gelder Ear CleanJackie Mclean John Jenkins Lp "alto Madness" ~ Orig. Mono Prestige ~ Dg ~w. 50thLee Morgan Lp City Lights Blue Note Jazz Microgroove RvgSteve Reid Rhythmatism Mustevic Lp Vg++ Private Spiritual Jazz Jackie Mclean One Step Beyond Blue Note 4137 Ear Mono Vg++ Prestige 7038 Sonny Rollins Plus 4 50th St. Nyc Deep Groove Yellow Label LpJohn Coltrane Lp "a Love Supreme" ~ Very Rare Original Impulse ~ Still SealedMarty Paich Quartet Lp Featuring Art Pepper Tampa Rare Jazz Red Vinyl

Recent News: Jazz Vinyl Records

Source: Google News

Police: Couple killed in robbery by someone they knew, July 21st

Before he fell ill, Rufus Perry loved to dance to Motown and jazz records he kept in the basement, and he took Gladys out on dinner dates and to the movies. No one on Spangler could exactly recall how he earned the nickname "Preacher," but some said...Read more

Hercules & Love Affair to feast on your dance pants this fall
Tiny Mix Tapes, July 21st

No kids killing kids here, though: Soul Jazz Records has (not so superficially) appeased fans of excellent Brazilian music by re-releasing the 1968 compilation Tropicalia: The Definitive 1968 Classic Brazilian Album, ou Panis et Circencis . The album...Read more

It's not just David Byrne and Radiohead: Spotify, Pandora and how streaming ...
Salon, July 20th

It's been described as one of the rare success stories in a dark time. But Yulun Wang, who co-runs the label, is not sure how they can stand up against the streaming onslaught. “You have the guy who buys 20 jazz records a year — $300 a year,” Wang says...Read more

He got rhythm: Piano virtuoso Kirill Gerstein embraces classical, jazz... all ...
The Independent, July 18th

His parents also had a collection of jazz records, and for him this became a seductive alternative world. He aped the style of Oscar Peterson and the bebop brigade, and, when he was overheard unwinding with some jazz after winning a classical-piano ...Read more

Lennie Sogoloff, 90; ran legendary jazz club Lennie's-on-the-Turnpike
Boston Globe, July 13th

“I filled the jukebox with jazz records.” The club, he said, became “as a unique location where one could hear jazz without paying any music charge. You could hear the best available jazz on a jukebox.” Mr. Sogoloff “was the Google for jazz back then...Read more

From NL archives: Jazz great Haden launched from Ozarks
Springfield News-Leader, July 12th

Around the same time, a bout with polio affected Haden's throat and vocal chords, and ended his singing days. Inspired by his growing love for jazz, he picked up his older brother Jimmy's bass, and began devouring Jimmy's jazz records by popular...Read more

Jay Edwards Welcomes Lenny White, Letizia Gambi To Jazz Tones On WCLK
WCLK, July 12th

As one of the founding fathers of the musical movement that became known as “Fusion,” Lenny played on two of the most important Jazz records ever made, Miles Davis' “Bitches Brew” and Freddie Hubbard's “Red Clay.” He earned a worldwide reputation as ...Read more

Listening to old jazz records with Boneslinger leader Dave Wright
The Independent Weekly, July 2nd

As soon as the song begins, the guitar wheezes and winks, the crackle of distortion smeared on top of the quick and cackling riff like butter. Dave Wright smiles and looks up—he knows this one. "This is one of my favorite Countdown Quartet songs," he...Read more