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    

Placebo 45 - Balek - Stoned Marc Moulin Synth Rhodes Funk Jazz Hip Hop OhearoKhan Jamal "drum Dance To The Motherland" Rare Private Free Jazz Lp Dogtown NmSun Ra Arkestra & Salah Ragab "in Egypt" Free Jazz Lp Praxis NmSonny Rollins Saxophone Colossus Prestige 7079 Original 446 W 50th Ny Rvg DgJohn Coltrane~a Love Supreme~ultra-rare Orig '65 Impulse Stereo Lp~rvg~mintJulius Hemphill "dogon A.d." Rare Private Spiritual Jazz Lp Mbari Vg++/ex Khan Jamal & Byard Lancaster "infinity" Rare Private Spiritual Jazz Lp Jam'brioJeanne Lee "conspiracy" Rare Spiritual Free Jazz Lp Earthforms NmSun Ra & His Arkestra "jazz In Silhouette" Rare Jazz Lp Saturn Bobby Boyd Congress 45 - Killer French B-boy Funk & Spiritual Jazz Groove OhearoHank Mobley W/horace Silver~all-stars~insanely Rare Orig '57 Blue Note Mono LpSun Ra & His Arkestra "super-sonic Jazz" Rare Jazz Lp Saturn Horace Tapscott "the Giant Is Awakened" Spiritual Jazz Lp Flying Dutchman Wlp Sun Ra "sleeping Beauty" Free Jazz Lp Saturn Brother Ah & Sounds Of Awareness "key To Nowhere" Spiritual Jazz Lp Divine Vg++John Coltrane-blue Train-blue Note-blp 1577-ear Dg Rvg Nyc Frame Laminated CoverEric Dolphy - Out To Lunch! - Blue Note - Blp 4163 -ear-van Gelder- Nyc Vg+/vg+John Coltrane Blue Train Blue Note 1577 Mono 1957 Lp Dg Rvg Ear Morgan Fuller Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue Uk Lp Nimbus Supercut AudiophileNathan Davis "if" Rare Jazz Funk Lp Tomorrow Sealed Freddie Hubbard "hub Cap" Blue Note Lp 4073 Rvg Ear SuperbKenny Dorham - Cafe Bohemia - J.r. Monterose - Orig Blue Note 1524 - LexingtonHannibal Hannibal - Original Uk Lp On B&c - Prog Adrian Ingram Jazz Rock FusionPharoah Sanders "izipho Zam" Spiritual Jazz Lp Strata-east Sealed Charles Tyler Ensemble "s/t" Free Jazz Lp Esp Disk Vg+Eric Dolphy Lp "out To Lunch" Original Blue Note Ny/usa Rvg Ear Vg++/nm-John Coltrane "soul Trane" Prestige 7142 1958 Yellow Nj Label Dg RvgDonald Byrd Bird In Hand Original Blue Note Lp 4019 SuperbJackie Mclean Capuchin Swing Blue Note 4038 Lp Dg Ear Rvg 47 W 63rd OriginalSun Ra "omniverse" Free Jazz Lp El Saturn Vg+Griot Galaxy "kins" Afro Jazz Lp Black & White Ex Miles Davis + Sonny Rollins, Dig ~ '58 Prestige Prlp-7012 ~ Dg Rvg Lp In ShrinkRy Cooder~jazz~insanely Rare Orig Ltd Edition Mfsl Audiophile Lp W/inserts~mint78 Rpm -- Smoke Jackson & Red Onions (zach Whyte), Champion 15714, V+/vv+ JazzJackie Mclean New Soil Blue Note 4013 Mono 1959 Lp Rvg Byrd Chambers La Roca1957 Jazz Lp - Mal Waldron - Mal/2 - John Coltrane - Prestige Records - Dg - RvgJohn Coltrane - Giant Steps Atlantic 1311Bud Powell The Scene Changes Blue Note Lp 4009 Original Ear Dg Rvg 47 W 63Hank Mobley - Mobleys Message Prestige Lp 7061Miles Davis W/wayne Shorter~larry Young~bitches Brew~rare Orig'70 Lp~1a/1a/1a/1aBud Powell The Amazing Vol. 4 Time Waits Blue Note 1598 47 West 63rd No Inc MonoJohn Coltrane W/red Garland Trio & Paul Chambers~ultra-rare '57 Prestige Mono LpWayne Shorter W/freddie Hubbard~all-seeing Eye~rare Orig '65 Blue Note Lp~mintSonny Rollins Tenor Madness Prestige Prlp 7047 Mono Dg Jazz Lp 1958 Rvg ColtraneFrank Lowe "the Other Side" Free Jazz Lp Palm NmMiles Davis- New Quintet- Orig - Prestige- (12") Lp - (nm!) Cecil Mcbee "mutima" Spiritual Jazz Lp Strata-east Vg++Jackie Mclean W/grachan Moncur~1 Step Beyond~ultra-rare Orig '63 Blue Note Lp~nmMiles Davis Kind Of Blue Rare 1a/1a Orig Mono Columbia Deep Groove Lp W/ ErrorsMoondog Moondog - Original Uk Lp On Cbs - Avante Garde Experimental JazzSonny Murray "sonny 'stime Now" Free Jazz Lp Jihad Japan W/ 45 NmThe Ensemble Al-salaam Soujourner Original Spiritual Jazz Rare Promo Lp NmWolfgang Dauner "output" Free Jazz Lp Ecm Germany NmMichael Naura Quartet "call" Free Jazz Lp Mps NmMaurice Mcintyre "humility In The Light Of Creator" Free Jazz Lp Delmark NmTomasz Stanko Quintet "purple Sun" Free Jazz Lp Calig NmArt Blakey Jazz Messengers Blue Note Originals Lot!!Noah Howard Quartet "schizophrenic Blues" Free Jazz Lp Fmp ExMilford Graves & Don Pullen "nommo" Private Free Jazz Lp Srp Vg+Noah Howard Group "berlin Concert" Free Jazz Lp Fmp Vg++

Recent News: Jazz Vinyl Records

Source: Google News

Grammys Tend to Focus on Heroics in Singling Out the Jazz Solo
New York Times, February 7th

A friend who edits a monthly jazz magazine tells me that nearly 5,000 new jazz records were sent in his direction last year. That's not all of the new jazz albums made around the world in 2015, but a decent percentage of them...Read more

Gerard Presencer/Danish Radio Big Band – Groove Travels: trumpeter on a joyride
Irish Times (blog), February 4th

Gerard Presencer was just 18 when he played a solo on US3's version of Cantaloupe Island and suddenly found himself on one of the bestselling jazz records of the 1990s. Nowadays, the English trumpeter is older, wiser and living in Copenhagen, where he ...Read more

Billy Childs jazz concert in Bethlehem to pay tribute to Laura Nyro
Allentown Morning Call, February 4th

Billy Childs created 'Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro' featuring Becca Steven and Alicia Olatuja. Billy Childs created 'Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro' featuring Becca Steven and Alicia Olatuja. (DAVID KATZENSTEIN ...Read more

A Portlander's Guide To Jazz
Vortex Music Magazine, February 4th

From jazz in pop culture to the essential PDX jazz records to where you can experience it live, here's a crash course in local jazz. by Chris Young. February 4, 2016 12:00pm. “A lot of jazz is bleeding into soul, hip-hop and pop scenes.” —Portland's...Read more

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Fast Facts
CNN, February 3rd

1983 - Fire destroys his home in Bel-Air, Los Angeles, including his large collection of jazz records. April 5, 1984 - Surpasses Wilt Chamberlain as the NBA's all-time leading scorer. 1989 - Retires, at the end of the season, as the highest scoring...Read more

Jazz singer Luciana Souza finds new, bigger sound
Sacramento Bee, January 21st

Unlike most jazz records, which are recorded live in a day or two, these sessions stretched over three days with numerous takes and revisions. Klein then mixed the assorted takes in ways that jazz records aren't usually created. “It was very different...Read more

Beneath the Underdog: Jazz politics, baby
Detroit Metro Times, January 19th

Which brings us to the simple point that this email itself from these 112 "members of the jazz community" is super odd in saying that there are no jazz records on the list it refers to. Two and a half of the records on the list are jazz. To say that...Read more

The Top 5 Jazz Records For Jazz Rookies
Consequence of Sound (blog), January 19th

On this episode, Consequence of Sound Managing Editor Adam Kivel, and jazz musicians Lili K., David Ben-Porat, and Keefe Jackson reveal the five best jazz records for jazz rookies. Keep it real cool, hepcat, and dig the low down on these records...Read more