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    

Horace Parlan ~ Us3 ~ Dg ~ W. 63rd Blue Note ~ Rare!Horace Parlan ~ Speakin My Piece ~ Dg ~ W. 63rd Blue Note ~ Rare!Hank Mobley-soul Station-jazz On Blue Note Mono, Dg, Rvg, 63rd, 4031, Art BlakHank Mobley ~ Mobley's Message ~ 50th St. Nyc Prestige ~ Stellar M-!Thad Jones - Detroit New York Junction Blue Note Lp NyKenny Dorham-round About Midnight At The CafÉ Bohemia-jazz On Blue Note Mono,Curtis Fuller-the Opener-jazz On Blue Note Mono, Dg, Rvg, 63rd, Hank MobleyBennie Green ~ Back On The Scene ~ W. 63rd Blue Note No ® ~ Superb!John Coltrane Blue Train 1959 Us Mono Lp Blue Note Deep Groove Blp 1577 EarHank Mobley - Jazz Message No. 2 Original Savoy LpGeorge Wallington Donald Byrd ~ The New York Scene ~ New Jazz ~ Beautiful!Prestige 7111 Mal Waldron Mal/2 Lp John Coltrane Promo Deep Groove 50th St. Miles Davis Relaxin' With Prestige 7129 W. 50th Rvg Dg '57 Lp John Coltrane Placebo (marc Moulin) Original Press 1974 Harvest Ultra Rare Jazz Funk Breaks Elmo Hope - Meditations Prestige Lp NyPenny Goodwin Too Soon You're Old 45 On Sidney Rare Milwaukee Jazz FunkJackie Mclean~it’s Time~ Rare Orig’64 Blue Note Ny Van Gelder EarJohn Coltrane ~ Soutrane ~ Prestige ~ 1st Press ~ M- !!Donald Byrd ~ Fuego ~ W. 63rd Blue Note ~ Dg ~ M- !!Rare Pino Cannizzo W. Molino "marmalade" Lp Panda Rec. Italian Jazz-funk LibraryLot Of 500+ Soul, Funk, Jazz, Blues, R&b 45s. Store Stock (31)Jazz Lp Oliver Nelson / Bill Evans On Impulse A-5 Mono Lb Blues & Abstract Truth78 Rpm Falcon Trio, Bluebird 2183, V CajunLee Morgan-search For The New Land-jazz On Blue Note Nm, Mono, Ny, 4169, HerbiLou Donaldson - Blue Note 1537-lexington -flat Edge-van Gelder-original-earsChet Baker With Art Pepper - Playboys - Original 1956 World Pacific 1234 Dg MonoEric Dolphy-out There-jazz On New Jazz Nm, Mono, Dg, RvgSonny Rollins Saxophone Colossus Prestige 7079 Rvg Dg Lp Vg++Blue Mitchell ~ Back On The Scene ~ Blue Note In Shrink ~ Stellar!Art Blakey-indestructible-jazz On Blue Note Nm, Ny, In Shrink! Lee Morgan, WayJohn Coltrane & Johnny Hartman-self-titled-jazz / Vocal Jazz On Impulse Vg++,Va Miles Davis Great Jazz Collection Cbs/sony Fcpy 906 Japanese Pressing 30lpJohn Coltrane Blue Train On Blue Note Mono Dg 47 West 63rd No R Jazz LpMiles Davis, Kenny Clarke, Art Blakey - Vol. 1 **blue Note 47w 63rd Blp 1501**Kashmere Stage Band ~ Out Of Gas ~ Private Jazz Funk ~ Rare!Miles Davis Kind Of Blue 1959 Mono Cl 1355 Near Mint 1st PressingOverton Berry Ensemble "tobe" Orig Jazz Funk Canada Vg+ Private Breaks W/ ShrinkMisja Mengelberg Quartet Jazz From Holland Artone 41 Italian Original Promo MintDorothy Ashby - "afro-harping", Jazz Funk, Mono "cadet", RareHelen Merrill ~ Rare 1956 Emarcy Jazz Lp. Freddie Hubbard-blue Spirits-jazz On Blue Note Nm, Mono, Ny, Promo, 4196, In SDexter Gordon-one Flight Up-jazz On Blue Note Vg++, Ny, Donald ByrdArt Farmer-farmer's Market-jazz On New Jazz Vg++, Mono, In Shrink! Hank MobleyNdikho Xaba & Cousin Wash Berco Lp Private Spiritual JazzE.thelin At The German Jazz Festival Metronome 15158 German Original Mono RareSonny Rollins "way Out West" Lp Orig Mono Dg Press.Hank Mobley ~ Dippin ~ Blue Note ~ Shrink!! M- !!Kenny Burrell Blue Lights Volume 1 Blue Note Mono Dg 47 W 63rd Jazz Lp WarholPete La Roca Basra Blue Note 84205 Vg+ LibertyBig John Patton-oh Baby-funk Jazz On Blue Note Nm, Mono, Ny, 4192, In Shrink!Stan Tracey 4tet With Love From Jazz On Columbia 6205 Uk Original Stereo Mint-Ike Quebec Blue & Sentimental 4098 Blue Note Rvg EarKene Star De Sikasso Monumental Afro Psych Jazz Manding Og Press ♬ Top!Thelonius Monk Genius Modern Music Blue Note 5002 10" 33 Rpm Mono Lp G+Rail Band Soundiata Deep Manding Funk Jazz 70's Og ♬ Fats Domino - Ain't That A Shame "rare 1955 1st U.k. Pressing 7" - Near Mint"Forty Seven Times Its Own Weight-cumulo Nimbus Lp Rare Private Jazz FunkIdris Muhammad-black Rhythm Revolution-funk Jazz On Prestige Vg++Miles Davis Chronicle-complete Prestige Recordings Prestige Japan Obi Mono 12lpGeorge Wallington "george Wallington Trio" Progressive 10" Lp

Recent News: Jazz Vinyl Records

Source: Google News

Three insider's tips for Hong Kong music lovers
South China Morning Post (subscription), March 30th

In the small store hidden away on the third floor of an unnamed building in SoHo, the shop owner — a jazz enthusiast — has a collection made largely of classical and jazz records. Careful rummaging through the racks will reveal rare gems, including...Read more

Caring for Alzheimer's: How Three Couples Cope
Wall Street Journal, March 30th

He spends his time doing jigsaw puzzles on his iPad and listening to his jazz records. He's aware of what's happening to his mind. “Right now he's pretty self-sufficient,” says Corrine Sylvia, his wife of 34 years. “But sometimes he gets confused about...Read more

Eliane Elias on Returning to Her Home Country for 'Made in Brazil,' Being ...
Billboard, March 30th

So I recorded many jazz records and then I started bringing the Brazilian side in. Brazilian music never left me. A lot of Brazilian artists focus their careers on Brazil, since it is a large country with an audience to sustain them without going...Read more

Chris Hayes Is An Embarrassment To White People
Daily Caller, March 29th

We had Dirty Harry and the Naked Gun movies and most of the copyrights on jazz records. Now we have Chris Hayes. Let that sink in. Now we have Chris Hayes.” “What can we do to stop this?” pleaded Chris Bedford. “The only thing we CAN do. We make ...Read more

Todd and Adrienne Gabriel find music, love and a life in Shreveport
Shreveport Times, March 26th

Her mother is a pianist and fluent in other instruments, and her childhood memories consist of sitting in as her mother gave music lessons and of her father playing jazz records every day after work. The Gabriel family have become deeply rooted in the...Read more

Listening Post / Brief reviews of select releases
Buffalo News, March 21st

And now, for one of the genuinely spectacular jazz records of the spring, guitarist Dave Stryker – a stalwart of The Buffalo News concert series on the steps of the Albright-Knox Gallery – has assembled the most likely candidates in current jazz to pay...Read more

Various Artists: Spiritual Jazz Vol. 6: Vocals
PopMatters, March 16th

Jazzman Records got its start as a mail-order business founded by London, UK-based “Jazzman Gerald” Short, who as a young jazz aficionado scoured the UK and the US on a shoestring budget collecting old, forgotten jazz records which at the time were ...Read more

Brussels Jazz Orchestra to make Penn State debut with 'Graphicology,' 'Finest'
Centre Daily Times, March 13th

He said he remembers hearing early New Orleans jazz records being played by his father's uncle. “I really liked the sound and the vibe of it,” he said. “Somehow these two things, comics and jazz, merged together, and I started drawing short stories...Read more