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    

Cheap Suit Serenaders Number Three Lp Blue Goose 70s Folk Jazz R Crumb Vg+Charlie Shavers Le Crazy Horse Saloon Lp Everest 60s Jazz Cheesecake Nude Vg+Paul Hindberg Swedish Jazz Lp Hollywood 50s Jazz Cheesecake VgHank Mobley With Donald Byrd And Lee Morgan Lp Blue Note 1540 47 West 63rd Miles Davis Quintet - Cookin' **original Prestige 446w 50th 7094 Deep Groove**Orig. A.alessandroni E Il Suo Complesso Sermi Sr Sp 110 Promo No Cover Jazz BeatThrobbing Gristle 20 Jazz Funk Greats Lp 1979 1st Press Ex Original Rare PosterWayne Shorter Night Dreamer Mono Lp Blue Note Ny Usa Ear Van Gelder Lee MorganFreddie Hubbard- Goin' Up Orig-mono- Blue Note- D.g. Lp-nm!Eric Dolphy At The Five Spot Vol 1 Prestige/new Jazz 8260 Mono Rvg Mal WaldronHank Mobley No Room For Squares Mono Lp Blue Note Ny Usa Ear Van GelderFreddie Hubbard - Goin Up - Blue Note Deep Groove Rvg # 4056 -wow Ike Quebec - It Might As Well Be Spring - Orig Mono - Blue Note - Lp - Nm! John Coltrane Dg Mono Lp~blue Train~blue Note-1577~47 W.63rd St--rvg And EarDexter Gordon €Hank Mobley No Room For Squares - Blue Note 84149 Ny Usa Earmark Van Gelder Romano Mussolini All Stars - Jazz Allo Studio 7 - Ricordi - First Pressing 1962!John Coltrane-a Love Supreme-mono Impulse A-77 Van Gelder In Dead WaxOg Ultra Rare Japan Ost Jazz Funk Breaks Lp - Katsuhisa Hattori - Edo No KazeJohnny Burnette Trio On Coral --honey Hush-- Rockabilly 45 | Orig | Nm ListenTsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio Midnight Sugar Three Blind Mice Orig Japan Audiophile TbmJohn Coltrane - Lush Life Orig Mono D.g. Lp-nm!Queen ~ Jazz Picture Disc Vinyl Lp, -- Promo -- Freddie MercuryJohn Coltrane Soultrane Mono Lp Prestige Yellow Fireworks Nj Rvg Deep GrooveEnrico Pieranunzi Trio - Recorded In Rome 1975 - Horo Records - Original - Mint!Dizzy Reece Blues In Trinity Og Mono Blue Note 47 W 63rd Rvg Ear Donald Byrd DgWayne Shorter Juju Blue Note 4182 New York Address Ear Van Gelder StampMiles Davis The Complete Plugged Nickel Sessions (1995 Mosaic)Jazz Female Vocal Lp Helen Merrill On Emarcy #mg-36006 / 1st Pr / Dg / Blue BackHorace Parlan Up & Down Stereo Lp Blue Note Ny Usa Ear Rvg Booker ErvinKenny Dorham Dg Lp - Afro Cuban-blue Note-1535-lexington Ave-1st Ed.Grant Green - Green Street - Orig Mono- Blue Note - Lp - Nm!Joe Henderson - Page One Blue Note Lp NyHot 1920s Jazz Rarest Louis Armstrong Hot 5 Okeh 8299 My Heart Clean & Orig!! Ike Quebec Soul Samba Bossa Nova Stereo Lp Blue Note Ny Usa Ear Van GelderJazz Lp/ Cannonball Adderley "somethin' Else" ~ Orig Mono Blue Note ~ Rvg ~ EarHerbie Hancock / Hank Mobley - My Point Of View **blue Note Blp 4126 Mono**Rare Library Lp - Impressions In Rhythm & Sound Armando Sciascia Jazz ListenMiles Davis / Coltrane / Chambers - Steamin' **prestige 7200 Deep Groove Mono**Jazz Female Vocalist Lp Helen Merrill Self-titled Clifford BrownJohn Coltrane Quartet - Africa/brass - Hmv Mono First Uk Press 1961Paul Chambers Quintet Lp Donald Byrd/cliff Jordan Blue Note Jazz Rvg West 63rdSonny Rollins Blue Note 1558 Vol 2 New York 23 Ear Rvg Deep Groove Mono 47 W63rdGrant Green Idle Moments Rare Mono Jazz Lp Blue Note 4154 Rvg New York Usa* Doug Hammond W/karen Joseph Ellipse Breaks Spiritual Jazz Idibib Sealed Hear!Jazz Vocalist Lp Beverly Kenney €Detroit Jazz Composers Ltd Hastings St Og Private Lp In Shrink Midnite Soul FunkRare Soul /jazz Lp James Mason Rhythm Of LifeJackie Mclean Bluesnik First Press Blue Note 4067 Lp W 63 Dg Rvg Ear NmJimmy Smith Root Down Live Lp Jazz Funk Breaks Samples Verve 8606 Vinyl Is MintBobby Hutcherson -happenings Joe Chambers, Herbie Hancock Blue Note 84231 Nm-Radka Toneff Fairytales Odin Orig. Norway 1982 Audiophile Lp Vocal JazzDuke Ellington & John Coltrane - Elvin Jones / Aaron Bell Impulse - A-30 - MintJackie Mclean - It;s Time Blue Note Lp NyDexter Gordon Dexter Calling Lp ~ Blue Note Blp 4083 ~ Nyc Rvg Kenny DrewAndre Tanker "afro Blossom West" Rare Islands Afro Latin Jazz Funk Lp Atman Mp3Cymande Promised Heights Rare Jazz Funk BreaksBlue Note - Dexter Gordon - Go - Ear - Van Gelder - New York UsaThe Roy Haynes Trio "just Us" Prestige 8245 New Jazz Rvg Og Purple LabelKenny Burrell & Jimmy Raney - 2 Guitars - Prestige - 446 W. 50th St., - Rvg - Dg

Recent News: Jazz Vinyl Records

Source: Google News

Neil Cowley Trio head for Barbican on Touch and Flee tour
Jazzwise magazine, October 1st

The Neil Cowley Trio continue their autumn tour tonight at Bristol's Colston Hall in support their latest album Touch and Flee, which was released on 9 June on Naim Jazz Records. The critically acclaimed album was described by Selwyn Harris in the June ...Read more

Is The Lady Gaga/Tony Bennett Album Anything More Than A Stunt? - Part Two
Forbes, September 30th

All of these attributes are not hallmarks of Jazz records—even those of our modern age, in which sonic elements are made more crystalline than they ever were on a classic Blue Note record. No, these are, instead, the trappings of a Pop record...Read more

VPR celebrates 30 years of classical music with Walter Parker at free concert ..., September 30th

After graduate studies at New York University in Musicology, he also served as Collection Assistant in the university's Music Library, and catalogued historical jazz records for the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University. “It's been my great...Read more talks to King Crimson bassist Tony Levin
KTVU San Francisco, September 29th

not always a feature on jazz records. We worked for years trying to write memorable material for it – and I included Crimson's "Matte Kudasai" for fun – and I think it's a hoot that after so many years playing on other people's records and tours, we...Read more

BBC Radio Heads to the 22nd EFG London Jazz Festival
News On News, September 29th

BBC Radio 3, Jazz Records Request. Saturday 15 November, 5.15pm – 6.15pm - This episode of Jazz Records Requests presented by Radio 3's Alyn Shipton features requests from listeners and Radio 2 presenters, including Jamie Cullum, Clare Teal and ...Read more

Jazz of the '00s: Jumping Past the Great Divide
PopMatters, September 22nd

But if Blue Note or Verve, the two most prominent “major labels” who were releasing jazz, are honest, they will tell you that the most important “jazz” records they released in the '00s (at least to their bottom line) were by singers. Diana Krall...Read more

What if Jazz Giant John Coltrane Had Lived?
Daily Beast, September 14th

Each issue included a listing of the best-selling jazz records in Italy, and every month without fail John Coltrane's A Love Supreme was at the top of the chart—even though the album was more than a decade old and from half a world away! I recall...Read more

From Adasiewicz to Zenon, a bounty of music
Chicago Tribune, September 5th

Jason Adasiewicz in his attic studio at his home in Chicago. (Andrew A. Nelles, Chicago Tribune). What are the most anticipated jazz recordings of the season? Here are the highlights. Following are some of the most anticipated jazz recordings of the...Read more