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    

Wilbur Nile And Thrust Thrust Too Lp Thrust Private Rare Jazz Funk Ohio Vg-George Winston December Lp Windham Hill New Age Jazz Sealed XmasLightmen Plus One Energy Control Center Lp Vg++/nm Funk Spiritual Jazz HearShamek Farrah First Impressions Strata East Lp Vg+ Funk Jazz HearWebster Lewis Live At Club 7 Sonet 2xlp Funk Jazz HearHorace Parlan - Speakin My Piece Us Lp Blue Note 4043 W 63rd Dg Rvg EarGuy Warren Of Ghana (ian Carr / Don Rendell) - Afro Jazz Uk Lp Orig LansdowneMarcus Belgrave Gemini Gem Eye Lp Sealed Privae Funk JazzArt Farmer / Gigi Gryce - When Farmer Met Gryce Us Lp Orig Dg Rvg Prestige RareSonny Rollins Self Titled Blue Note Original Lp 1542 Lexington Flat Edge Grant Green - Feelin The Spirit Us Lp Blue Note 4132 Ny Van Gelder EarJackie Mclean-swing Swang Swingin'-blue Note 4024-west 63rd NycHank Mobley "roll Call" Blue Note Lp 4058 Mono Ear Rvg Xlnt Tina Brooks True Blue Duke Jordan Blue Note 4041 1st Ear Dg Nm!Johnny Griffin Jazz Lp Blue Note 1559 Dg W63 Mono Rvg Coltrane Mobley MorganJohn Coltrane - Blue Train Ny Usa Labels, Rvg Stereo, Ear, Bst 1577 Label RareWayne Shorter "juju" Blue Note Original 4182 Ny Mono Lp SuperbRoland Haynes 2nd Wave Black Jazz Lp NmSteve Colson & Unity Troupe Triumph! Lp Vg++ Private Spiritual Jazz HearJohnny Burnette Trio Honey Hush Uk Vogue Coral Tri Vg Both 45 7" Plays FineLes De Merle Transfusion Dobre Lp Nm Funk Jazz Breaks HearSonny Rollins - Same Us Lp Blue Note 1542 Orig W 63rd Dg Rvg EarHank Mobley Wynton Kelly Soul Station Blue Note 4031 Ear Dg Vg+Lloyd Mcneill Treasures Baobab Lp Nm/vg++ Private Spiritual Jazz HearStephen Mccraven Wooley The Newt Sweet Earth Lp Vg++ Private Spiritual Jazz HearAndrew Hill - Black Fire Us Lp Blue Note 4151 Ny Van Gelder EarJack Mcduff Moon Rappin Blue Note Lp Nm Shrink Walter Davis "davis Cup" Original Blue Note Lp 4018 Superb!Kenny Burrell - Blue Lights Vol.1 Blue Note Orig D.g./63rd St. 12" Lp - Nm! Miles Davis - Walkin' Uk Lp Orig Esquire RarePat Britt Jazzman Vj Int'l Lp Nm Shrink Funk Jazz Kon & Amir HearJohn Coltrane - Soultrane Uk Lp Orig Esquire RareLes De Merle Spectrum United Artists Lp Funk Jazz Samples HearThe Gentle Rain Moody (polydor Uk Orig Lp 1973) Uk Jazz, Funk, Breaks. Listen!Larry Bright Solar Visions Crosswind Lp Nm Private Funk Jazz Spiritual HearGrant Green-feelin' The Spirit-blue Note 4132-new York UsaJohn Coltrane - Giant Steps Uk Lp Orig London RareRonnie Foster Two Headed Freap Blue Note Lp Lloyd Mcneill Elegia Baobab Lp Nm Private Spiritual Jazz HearWalter Bishop Jr Coral Keys Black Jazz Lp Vg++ Andrew Hill - Judgment Us Lp Orig Blue Note 4159 Van Gelder EarFreddie Hubbard Hank Mobley Goin Up Blue Note 4056 Ear Dg Vg+Jackie Mclean-mclean's Scene-new Jazz 8212-greatWalter Bishop Jr.'s 4th Cycle Keeper Of My Soul Black Jazz Lp Vg+ John Coltrane - A Love Supreme Uk Lp Orig Hmv Nr MintLee Morgan - Sidewinder Us Lp Blue Note 4157 Ny Van GelderVince Andrews Love, Oh Love Gerard Lp Nm Shrink Private Soul Jazz Vocals HearGrant Green - Talkin About - Lp Blue Note 4183 - Dg EarQueen - Jazz Lp Uk 1978 Emi + Inner + Fully Intact Poster First PressRare Jazz-blue Note Records 4106-jackie Mclean-let Freedom Ring-dg-mono-lp-(nm-)Herbie Hancock - Empyrean Isles Lp France Blue Note Nr MintMiles Davis On The Corner Columbia Lp Vg+ * Harold Vick Don't Look Back Rare Jazz Funk '74 Billy Hart Strata-east Lp Hear* Alfredo De La Fe Hot To Trot Rare Funk Disco Breaks Latin JazzKenny Burrell & Tina Brooks Original Blue Note Lp 4021 NiceJoe Jones Boogaloo Joe Prestige Lp Vg+ Shrink Art Blakey - Night At Birdland Vol 1 Us Lp Blue Note 1521 W 63rd Rvg EarLou Donaldson - Lou Takes Off - Lp Blue Note 1591 Dg - 63rd StRudolph Johnson Second Coming Black Jazz Lp Nm Shrink Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue Uk Lp Cbs Orig Rare

Recent News: Jazz Vinyl Records

Source: Google News

'Native North America': How We Ignored Incredible Folk and Country Made at ..., November 21st

It was basically realizing that all the rap records I loved from artists like Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions and Big Daddy Kane, the rhythm tracks from all their tunes were sampled from soul, funk, rock and jazz records. Once I had that...Read more

Soul Jazz's encyclopedia of disco-record cover art will make crate diggers swoon
Chicago Reader, November 19th

While disco music has been critically reevaluated and newly appreciated, the genre's off-the-wall cover art is only now getting its due with Disco: An Encyclopedic Guide to the Cover Art of Disco, a new coffee-table compendium out from Soul Jazz...Read more

Eastman Jazz Café with Vic Juris
Rochester City Newspaper, November 18th

He started loaning Juris jazz records. Pretty soon the young guitarist discovered a new world with new heroes: Johnny Smith, Wes Montgomery, Tal Farlow, and Barney Kessel. But he didn't leave rock completely. "Other players were starting to come along ...Read more

Low Down: John Hawkes as Jazz Cat on the Skids
Seattle Weekly, November 18th

This is a girl with an old soul, who'll sit for hours listening to her father's jazz records and jam sessions. (Here's Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as a trumpeter falling a little faster than Joe.) Her father is bound to disappoint her in this...Read more

Revive Big Band At Berklee
NPR, November 18th

Between originals, standard jazz repertoire and orchestrations of rap beats (and the jazz records they sample), Ellis and Thomas align a multi-generational ensemble with a black music tradition that leads to the present day. That big band bears the...Read more

Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression review – a lavishly illustrated history ...
The Guardian, November 16th

Lion slept rough at first in Central Park, and when he could afford to rent a room immediately installed a Victrola gramophone to play the jazz records he bought on excursions uptown to Harlem. In Hitler's Germany, jazz was reviled as Negermusik, a...Read more

Blue Note's 75 years of hot jazz, November 5th

By the late 1930s jazz records could be heard for a nickel a spin in America's 200,000 juke boxes. One of the jazz venues frequented by young Alfred was Café Society, a downtown nightclub which was the first to present black and white musicians...Read more

RareCollections: Horst Liepolt's 44 Records, and Australian Jazz in the 1970s
ABC Local, November 4th

He tirelessly promoted live performance and he also produced some wonderful jazz records. In the 1970s he even had his own label, 44 Records, that documented some of the finest Australian jazz musicians on vinyl. After a successful decade in Melbourne ...Read more