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    

Bayete Worlds Around The Sun Lp Prestige 70s Jazz Funk World Vg+Willis Jackson Blue Gator Lp Prestige 7183 Dg Rvg Bergenfield In Shrink Vg+Tommy Flanagan Trio Overseas Prestige 7134 Us Original 50th D.g. RvgJohn Coltrane Blue Train Blue Note Lp Mono W. 63rdHank Mobley And His All Stars Blue Note Lp 1544 Mono W. 63rd Flat EdgeGrant Green ~ Idle Moments ~ Mono Blue Note ~ Superb!Dorothy Ashby - Afro-harping Lp - Cadet - Soul JazzKenny Dorham Quiet Kenny New Jazz Njlp 8225 Us Original Purple Lbl D.g. RvgMulatu Astatke Of Ethiopia / Afro Ethio Jazz-the Original Lp-all Tracks Are Top!Lemuria S/t Lp (1978) Heaven Private Hawaii Jazz/soul/funkDon Cunningham Something For Everyone Lp Exclusive Private Latin Jazz Orig.Joe Henderson "page One" Jazz Lp Blue Note Mono Van Gelder New York Vg++Bill Evans Trio Waltz For Debby Orig '61 Dg Mono Riverside Lp Blue Mike/reel Vg+Sonny Rollins "s/t" Rare Jazz Lp Blue Note Dg Mono Lexington Flat Rvg Ear Ex/nmHoctor Jazz On The Road Lp Funk/soul/breaks Orig.Pharaohs Awakening Lp On Scarab Private Jazz/funk Orig.Earl Moseley Facing The Sun Lp T-bones Private Jazz/funk Orig. Sealed!Cannonball Adderley Miles Davis ~ Somethin Else ~ Dg ~ W. 63rd Blue Note ~ Nice!E.w. Wainwright African Roots Of Jazz Lp Private Spiritual Afro JazzJ.p. & Company Love's Insanity Lp (1981) Private Jazz Orig.Queen 5lp Lot News Of The World Ii Live Killers Jazz The Game Grant Green ~ Grant's First Stand ~ Dg ~ W. 63rd Blue Note ~ Promo Copy!Original Dorothy Ashby The Rubaiyat Of.. Lp Rare Jazz/funk/soul Cadet Lps-841Bill Evans Trio Sunday At Village Vanguard 61 Dg Mono Riverside Lp Mike/reel Vg+Grant Green ~ Green Street ~ Deep Groove ~ Blue Note ~ Promo Copy!Donald Byrd Byrd In Flight Blue Note 4048 Lp Vg++ Mono W. 63rdKenny Burrell Blue Lights Volume 1 Blue Note 1596 Lp W. 63rdBirthright Free Spirits ’74 Freelance Records Spiritual Jazz Ex RareFreddie Roach ~ "brown Sugar" (blue Note) Us 1964 - Original! Van Gelder!Johnny Burnette And The Rock N Roll Trio Lvc 10041 Vogue Coral 10" Lp 33 RpmJackie Mclean 4et/5et Mclean's Scene New Jazz 8212 Us 1st Purple Lbl Dg Rvg M-The Jazz Scene Norman Granz Signed #3226 Charlie Parker & Others 78 Rpm SetTeshome Asseged / Afro Hypnotic Ethio Jazz From 1976 Plays Strong Vg+ Listen!Sun Ra ~ Lanquidity ~ Philly Jazz ~ Funk Jazz ~ Very Rare!Chet Baker Sings-1956 Pacific Jazz Records ‎–pj-1222George Braith Lp "soulstream" Original Blue Note Mono Ny,usa Rvg Ear NmChet Baker ~ In New York ~ Small Label Riverside ~ Nice!Insanely Rare Original Elysian Spring S/t Private Press Jazz Lp On Despa 1969John Coltrane Coltrane Prestige 7105 LpMoondog "the Story Of Moondog" Jazz Lp Prestige Dg Mono Rvg W 50th WarholLonnie Smith - Drives Lp - Blue Note - Funk Jazz Vg+Art Taylor "taylor's Wailers" Rare Jazz Lp Prestige Dg Mono W. 50th Rvg Blue Note Lp 4191 Duke Pearson "wahoo" First Pressing Donald Byrd Joe HendersonJimmy Smith - Root Down Lp - Verve - Funk JazzSolstice S/t Lp (1977) Private Jazz/funkCyril Diaz Young Killer Rare Kay Calypso Comp Trinidad Afro Jazz Lp Listen!!Airto Fogo Rare Jazz Funk Breaks French S/t Lp Listen!!!Orig-rare Jazz-blue Note 4123-kenny Burrell-midnight Blue-deep Groove-mono-lp++ Cliff Jordan - Blue Note Blp1549 - Blowing In From Chicago Ny23, Dg, Rvg, Ear++ Johnny Griffin - Blue Note Blp1559 - Volume 2 - Ny23, Dg, Rvg, EarKenny Burrell & John Coltrane New Jazz 8276 Us Original Purple Lbl Dg Rvg M-Baby Face Willette Grant Green ~ Face To Face ~ Blue Note ~ Sweet!The Rumor At Last Lp Private Bossa/jazz/funk/lounge Orig.Hank Mobley Workout Blue Note Lp Mono Ny Usa- A/w. 63rd- BHenry Franklin - The Skipper At Home Lp - Black Jazz - Funk Jazz PromoBig Joe Williams: Studio Blues Prestige Bluesville Lp / Willie Dixon Mono NmCharles Mingus Mingus Ah Um Columbia LpLawrence Marable - Tenorman Original Jazz West LpMiles Davis Lot Of 16 Lps 45 7" Juke 33 Coltrane Prestige Cookin Rvg Bluenote Guadeloupe Reflexions Rare Afro Latin Jazz Funk Jeudi Ex Lp Listen!!

Recent News: Jazz Vinyl Records

Source: Google News

Jazz reflects life for Kate McGarry
Straight.com, May 27th

“Whether it's songs that I learned from jazz records, or the stuff that my older brothers and sisters played—folk music and '70s music—or the Irish music that my parents sang, all these things make up a sort of kaleidoscope,” she notes. “All the...Read more

Sasquatch! 2015: Bishop Nehru brings New York to the Northwest
OregonLive.com, May 23rd

s dance tent, GoldLink offered a more modern take on hip-hop, with house influence and digital bass that didn't pretend to be sampled from jazz records or plucked by Pino Palladino. He rapped quickly and danced harder, his elbows in the air as he...Read more

Charlie Trotter Exhibit Uncovers the Man Behind the Menu
Eater, May 22nd

The trio of close friends called themselves "The Triangle," and the frame is shaped like one. Digging up the artifacts provided therapy for Rochelle Trotter, as the displays include her husband's favorite books and jazz records. Trotter was named after...Read more

Seattle's party people find connections in hidden hot spots
The Seattle Times, May 21st

The previous occupant was beloved Bud's Jazz Records, which shuttered in 2008. Shoppers could always count on jazz playing on the speaker system as they browsed for music. The Purlieu Hall co-founder who goes by the nom de plume Elias Cotez used ...Read more

N.C. State's Jason Bivins pens the first full exploration of jazz and religion
The Independent Weekly, May 13th

Bivins wasn't worried about the time he had put into the text, even if he had been squirreling away bits of the book for nearly 20 years while teaching history-of-religion classes at N.C. State and writing freelance reviews of jazz records. Instead, he...Read more

Library donations to Irvin Mayfield's jazz project questioned
WWL, May 5th

"Those dollars (from the library foundation) went into this facility," not salaries, he said recently as he played one of the Miles Davis jazz records the public library system is providing the Jazz Market and showed off the mostly empty area where he...Read more

Saturday Night Special: Good Vibes with Adam Kolker at Jazz Central, May 2
Jazz Police (blog), May 1st

Meditacions (Satchmo Jazz Records), co-led with Catalan drummer Xavi Maureta, received the award for "Best Modern Jazz CD" from the Catalan Jazz Society in 2002. Other CDs include Change of Time (OmniTone Records, 2002), Sultanic Verses ...Read more

Financier Robert Appel On His Love Of Ellington, Jobim And Dreams For Jazz At ...
Forbes, April 29th

He also collects old jazz records and listens to what he calls “old stuff” on YouTube. “I'm a Jobim, bossa nova freak, also Ellington and Big Band music of the '40's,” Appel said. Currently the chief of Appel Associates, a money management and...Read more