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    

Sonny Rollins Self Titled Heavy Vinyl Lexington Avenue Original Blue Note 1542Duke Pearson Profile Beautiful Mono Deep Groove 47 W/63rd Blue Note LpFreddie Hubbard - Open Sesame - Blue Note - Mono - Van Gelder Rvg - Nm Pristine!Killer Funky Ethio Jazz Muluken Mellesse & Mulatu Astatke Dahlak Band Hear It!Phillip Ranelin "a Message From The Tribe" Rare Spiritual Jazz Funk Lp TribeGianni Ferrio "emmanuelle" Rare Funk Jazz Soundtrack Lp Ost Cam Italy ExDuke Jordan Flight To Jordan Blue Note 4046 W 63 St Deep Groove Jazz Rvg Ear LpSahib Shihab Sahib's Jazz Party On Fontana Dutch Original 1st Pressing RareChet Baker 'chet' Ballads With Bill Evans Riverside Dg Mono Blue Small Label RarJohn Coltrane "giant Steps" Atlantic 1311 Black Label Deep Groove Mono Lp Ex!!!Bobby Hutcherson Dialogue Usa Blue Note Lp Blp4198 Bnlp4198 Ear Stamp InnerLee Morgan - City Lights Lp Blue Note 1575 First Press Mono No "r" 23 DgArt Taylor A.t's Delight Blue Note 4047 Mono W 63 St Deep Groove Jazz Rvg Ear LpSuper Rare ! Lloyd Mcneill Tanner Suite Mono Asha No 2 Lp Soul Spiritual JazzBlink 182 S/t Pink Green Vinyl Hot Topic Alkaline Trio Afi BaysideJohnny Burnette & The Rock ´n Roll Trio • Original 1956 1st Press Lp Coral 57080Wayne Shorter - Night Dreamer - Blue Note Mono - Van Gelder + Ear Original -nm Eric Dolphy - Out To Lunch - Blue Note - First Ear Pressing In Wonderful Shape!!Sam Rivers Fuchsia Swing Song Usa Blue Note Recs Lp Blp 4184 Bnlp4184 Ear StampJohn Coltrane A Love Supreme Stereo 1965 His Master's Voice Csd.1605Hank Mobley The Turnaround Mono Ny Blue Note Blp 4186Dexter Gordon One Flight Up Usa Blue Note Lp Blp4176 Bnlp4176 Ear Stamp InnerJohn Coltrane Lp "a Love Supreme" Original Impulse Stereo Rvg Nm-Dexter Gordon A Swingin Affair Usa Blue Note Records Lp Bnlp4133 Ear Stamp InnerSam Rivers Contour New York Van Gelder Era Mono Blue Note Blp 4206Dexter Gordon Gettin Around Usa Blue Note Recs Lp Bnlp4207 Blp4204 Stamp InnerPaul Chambers Quartet Bass On Top Orig Mono Lp Blue Note 1569 1st Press Ear+rvgGrant Green The Latin Bit Mono New York Blue Note Blp 4111 Van Gelder/earWayne Shorter Adam's Apple Mono Van Gelder Blue Note Lp Blp 4232Pete La Roca Basra Blue Note Mono Lp Joe Henderson Rvg Ear Rare Jazz Ablution Post- Quatermass Rare Jazz Funk Prog Fusion Lp Bjorn J:son Lindh Hear!Phil Woods Donald Byrd The Young Bloods Orig Mono Lp Prestige 7080 1st Press RvgLou Donaldson The Time Is Right Mono 47 W. 63rd Deep Groove Blue Note LpYusef Lateef Prayer To The East Rare Original Mono Savoy Deep Groove Jazz Rvg LpElysian Spring "s/t" Ultra Rare Private Jazz Groove Lp Despa Mp3Electric Okeh 41327 Annette Hanshaw W/jazz Band-the Right Kind Of Man-nice!Henri Guedon Masterpiece Kike Latin Jazz Guaguanco Celini Lp ListenSam Rivers Contours Usa Blue Note Records Lp Blp 4206 Bnlp4206 Stamp InnerArt Pepper Surf Ride Rare Orig Mono Savoy Deep Groove Be Bop Jazz Rvg Lp 1956Roy Ayers Ubiquity "he's Coming" Rare Jazz Funk Lp Polydor WlpGuy Warren Of Ghana - Afro Jazz (columbia Uk Orig Mono Lp) Uk Jazz Don RendellLes Demerle Spectrum Ua Orig 1968 Funk Jazz Rare John Coltrane Soultrane 1958 Lp Prestige 7142 Jazz Rvg Dg MonoSven Libaek~ Inner Space ...rare Original 1973 Oz Jazz On Festival ..ex+Sonny Rollins Modern Jazz Quartet Mono Prestige 7029 50th St Deep Groove Rvg LpJoe Pass Better Days 1971 Mega Rare Jazz Soul Funk Vinyl Lp Gwyn Vg+/ex RecordLes Vikings Guaguanco In Jazz Ricardo Ray Cover Emparo Latin Lp ListenRare ! Harold Vick Don’t Look Back Strata East Lp Soul Out Jazz Flute John Coltrane Lp Coltrane Impulse Nm OrigJohn Coltrane Giant Steps Atlantic 1311 Lp Rare Black Label! Mono Tommy FlanaganEric Dolphy Out To Lunch Ny Stereo Blue Note In Shrink Bst 84163Horace Silver -horoscope - Blue Note - Mono - Gelder + Ear -first Heavy Edition!Andrew Mcpherson At Smedley’s Squalor Private Jazz In Shrink Lp HearAlbert Ayler Trio Rare Spiritual Unity Mono Red Label "ear" Esp 1st Orig LpJackie Mclean Fickle Sonance Blue Note Blp 4089 Ny Usa Mono Rvg Ear W/innerWayne Shorter The All Seeing Eye Mono New York Usa Blue Note Lp Blp 4219Dexter Gordon Go! Stereo Blue Note Ny Usa Bst 84112 Horace Silver Quintet Horace-scope 47 W. 63rd Deep Groove Mono Blue Note LpNew York Bass Violin Choir Lp Strata East Lp Bill Lee George Coleman Out JazzJohn Coltrane Lp Blue Note Records 1577 Blue Train Script West Side Mono Listen!

Recent News: Jazz Vinyl Records

Source: Google News

interview with artist jens wolf
Designboom, March 4th

JW: at the moment I'm reading a very interesting book about the development of jazz and listening to some jazz records from my collection that I have long neglected. particularly interesting to me are the ornette coleman records dancing in your head...Read more

Thanks For Reading! I Also Do Relationship Advice: Reviews Of New Releases ...
Lakewood Observer, March 3rd

Soul Jazz Records - 18 songs - Vinyl, CD, download. This is part 2 of Soul Jazz's compilations covering Ohio, and part who-knows in their Punk 45 series. This is the Akron one. I reviewed the Cleveland one, titled Extermination Nights In The Sixth City...Read more

Glenn Wilson - 'Timely' live album review
TheCelebrityCafe.com, March 3rd

Accompanying Wilson's baritone sax play is trumpeter John D'Earth, pianist John Toomey, bassist Jimmy Masters and drummer Tony Martucci. Released on Feb. 24 on Cadence Jazz Records, Timely features this quintet taking compositions from jazz masters ...Read more

Today in Music History
The Province, March 2nd

In 1931, singer and bandleader Cab Calloway recorded his theme song, "Minnie the Moocher," said to be one of the first million-selling jazz records. At the time, Calloway was a headliner at the Cotton Club in Harlem, where his "Hi-De-Ho" scat singing...Read more

Jazz may be dead, but art is alive
North Idaho College Sentinel, February 27th

After his father retired in 1988, Skubinna said he spent a lot of time taping jazz records onto cassette tapes. The 3 cases of cassette tapes in the exhibit were some of what he recorded. After his father's death in 1990, Skubinna said he received the...Read more

Soul Jazz Records compilation of 1970s & 80s Akron/Kent bands
Akron Beacon Journal (blog), February 18th

Soul Jazz Records compilation of 1970s & 80s Akron/Kent bands. By Malcolm Abram Published: February 18, 2015. So wondering what all the graying geezer hipster musicians in Akron & Kent are always yammering about when the "good ol' days" of the ...Read more

Wisconsin jazz pianist John Harmon performs Feb. 13
The Oshkosh Northwestern, February 6th

Harmon, known as "Wisconsin's Gentle Poet of Jazz," first developed a love of music while listening to his dad's jazz records as a child. His mother also played the piano, and Harmon and his mother enjoyed playing together during his childhood. That...Read more

Master of Trumpets: Classic metal album covers get reimagined as old jazz records
Vanyaland, February 6th

Earlier in the week we spotlighted an artist who gave easy listening pop artists the heavy metal band t-shirt treatment, and now the wheels of genre-swapping are spinning even harder. Brazilian artist Rafa Melandi has incredibly taken classic metal...Read more