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    

John Coltrane ~ Blue Train ~ No ® ~ Dg Blue Note ~ Rare!Hank Mobley - Blue Note Blp 1568 - Mono - Original Press - New York 23 VariantLee Morgan The Cooker Blue Note 1578 Dg Rvg W 63rd Mono OriginalRare Jazz Rock Lp Ian Carr "belladonna" Uk Swirl Vertigo Original Ex++Kenny Burrell ~ Blue Lights Vol. 1 ~ Dg ~ Andy Warhol Blue Note ~ Rare!Kenny Burrell ~ Blue Lights Vol. 2 ~ Andy Warhol Blue Note ~ Promo!Sun Ra Arkestra Lp On Jupiter Private Jazz Funk Avant Garde Saturn 101679Sonny Rollins A Night At The Village Vanguard Blue Note 1581 Dg Rvg "ear" NmJohnny Burnette & Rock 'n Roll Trio - Orig Uk 10" Vinyl Lp Vogue Coral 1956Sun Ra Arkestra Lp Sleeping Beauty Original Private Jazz Funk Saturn 11-1-79 Digable Planets Reachin’ Lp Vg Original Rare Hip-hop Jazz Rap Ish Ladybug MeccaDonald Byrd - Byrd In Hand - Blue Note 4019 Rvg Dg 47 W 63rd Mono OriginalSun Ra Lp Lanquidity '78 Philly Jazz Pj666 Metallic Cover In Shrink! Avant GardeIke Quebec Bossa Nova Soul Samba Blue Note 4114 Van Gelder "ear" Nm Mono OrigGenre-commercial Success-new Mexico Spiritual Jazz On Black Gold Original 1978Blue Note Blp 4163 Eric Dolphy Out To Lunch Nyc Rvg Ear 1st Pressing Ex/vg++Rare Jazz Rock Lp Nucleus "elastic Rock" Uk Swirl Vertigo Orig. Ex VinylJay Jay Johnson Eminent Vol 2 Blue Note 1506 Dg Rvg "ear" Lexington Ave OriginalHastings St. Jazz Experience-detroit Jazz Composers Ltd.-spiritual/funk-originalSun Ra Arkestra Lp My Brother The Wind Vol Ii Autographed Saturn Research JazzPaul Chambers Bass On Top Lp Orig Mono Blue Note Rvg Ear Deep Groove W. 63rdCumulo Nimbus-forty Seven Times It's Own Weight-1975 Texas Jazz-funk L.p.-fableOracy ~ Positive Force W/ade Olatunji. Spiritual Jazz Funk Lp. AutographedDonald Byrd Hank Mobley ~ All Night Long ~ 50th St. Prestige ~ Very Nice!Dextor Gordon One Flight Up Blue Note 4176, New York , Van Gelder, Ear, MonoLee Morgan Sextet Blue Note 1541, Lexington, Rvg, MonoBud Powell Amazing Bud Powell Vol 2 Blue Note 1504 Dg Rvg "ear" Lexington AveRadka Toneff / Steve Dobrogosz Fairytales Norway Audiophile Vocal Jazz SealedIke Quebec Blue And Sentimental Blue Note 4098 Rvg "ear" Mono OriginalMiles Davis ~ Workin' ~ Dg Prestige ~ 1st Press!Paul Chambers Bass On Top Blue Note Blp 1569 Original Mono Rvg Dg W63 Ear ListenOrnette Coleman The Shape Of Jazz To Come Atlantic Mono 587022 *ex+*Sonny Rollins Vol. 2 ~ W. 63rd Dg Blue Note ~ Beautiful!The Magnificent Thad Jones-blue Note 1527-1956 Lexington Ave OriginalDetroit Jazz Composers Ltd ~ Hastings St Jazz Experience Lp On Midnite. Sealed. Kenny Burrell ~ Midnight Blue ~ Mono Blue Note ~ Superb!Dextor Gordon A Swingin Affair Blue Note 4133, New York , Van Gelder, Ear, MonoSonny Rollins A Night At The Village Vanguard Blue Note 1581 Orig Dg W63 ListenBlue Note Blp 1510 Mono Genius Thelonious Monk Vol 1 Rvg Ear Dg Lexington Nm/exSun Ra "super-sonic Jazz" Original Saturn Lp Superb John Coltrane With Red Garland Trio, Prestige 7123, W. 50th St., Rvg, Hear It!* Benny Velarde Ay Que Rico Afro Latin Jazz Dg Mono Red Wax Fantasy 3343 Lp HearSonny Rollins ~ Sonny Rollins ~ Dg Contemporary ~ 1st Press!Relaxin' With The Miles Davis Quintet John Coltrane Prestige 7129 1st Press Ex+Rare Eric Dolphy-out To Lunch Blue Note 84163 Us Van Gelder *stunning*Jay Jay Johnson Eminent Vol.1 Blue Note 1505 Dg Rvg "ear" 47 W 63rd Ny 23Gong Camembert Electrique Nm French Original Byg Lp Psych Prog Jazz Soft MachineLee Morgan Cornbread Blue Note 4222 Ny/usa Van Gelder Original MonoMiles Davis ~ Milestones ~ Dg Columbia 6-eye ~ M-!Misfits Walk Among Us Lp Warner Bros Samhain Danzig Cramps Alkaline Trio Kbd HcMiles Davis - Kind Of Blue(uk 1980s Nimbus Supercut Vinyl Album / Unplayed Mint)78 Rpm Jack Purvis And His Orchestra, Okeh 8782, E JazzCoral 61758 Dj Johnny Burnette Trio Orig Rockabilly 45 Mint Minus Lonesome TrainEddie Graham Trio S'wonderful Jazz Lp Mega Rare Wilson Audiophile Mint Minus Jackie Mclean-lights Out Lp-original Press/microgroove Prestige 7035 - Nr!!!John Coltrane ~ Crescent ~ Stereo Impulse ~ M-!Hank Mobley Workout Blue Note 4080 Ny/47 W 63rd Rvg Lp Vg+ To Vg++Miles Davis ~ Steamin' ~ Dg Prestige ~ 1st Press!Paul Chambers Whims Of Chambers Blue Note 47 W 63rd Ny23 Rvg Ear Dg Lp Flat Edge Jazz Lp - Art Taylor - At's Delight - Blue Note Mono Dg

Recent News: Jazz Vinyl Records

Source: Google News

Non-jazzy artists take their chances on jazz records
Press of Atlantic City, August 2nd

FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2015 file photo, Lady Gaga arrives at the 57th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Brandon Maxwell, Lady Gaga's longtime stylist and a designer in his own right, plans to show his first full ready-to-wear...Read more

A&E: Behind the scenes
DesMoinesRegister.com, August 1st

Lucky number: When the jazz pianist Lee Shaw and bassist Rich Syracuse played a program of Billy Strayhorn tunes back in November 2013 in Waukee, a team of sound technicians recorded the concert for a New York label called Cadence Jazz Records...Read more

“Tokyo Jazz Joints” photo exhibit at Team Love RavenHouse in New Paltz
Almanac Weekly, July 31st

Jazz records were historically quite expensive in Japan. The Japanese obsession with American jazz in the 1950s and '60s inspired fans to pool resources, developing a listening-room subculture that survives into the present. “Tokyo Jazz Joints” opens...Read more

Very few pop stars can convincingly sing jazz, but they keep trying
The Virginian-Pilot, July 29th

There's a lesson to be learned from the pop musicians who have tried their hands at releasing jazz records. (Sam Hundley illustration | The Virginian-Pilot). View full-size photo | Buy Pilot photos. More Music & Nightlife. Blogs: Behind the Groove...Read more

Newport Jazz Festival to mark Miles Davis' 60th anniversary
U.S. News & World Report, July 26th

next appeared at Newport in 1958 he brought his famed sextet — with saxophonists John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley and pianist Bill Evans — that the following spring would record his masterpiece "Kind of Blue," one of the best-selling jazz...Read more

Why do pop singers keep releasing jazz albums?
Stuff.co.nz, July 23rd

There's a lesson to be learned from the bevy of outsiders, usually pop musicians, who have tried their hands at releasing jazz records, and it's a simple one: Not everyone is Lady Gaga. In fact, if you ask jazz historian Ted Gioia, author of Jazz...Read more

Why do pop singers like Lady Gaga keep releasing jazz albums? The upsides are ...
Washington Post (blog), July 22nd

There's a lesson to be learned from the bevy of outsiders, usually pop musicians, who have tried their hands at releasing jazz records, and it's a simple one: Not everyone is Lady Gaga. In fact, if you ask jazz historian Ted Gioia, author of “Jazz...Read more

Interview:Jazz singer Clare Teal on coming to the Iford Arts Festival ...
Bath Chronicle, July 17th

"As a little girl, I would sit alone in the attic and sing along to my family's old jazz records," says the multi award winning performer. "I was very shy and, for years, no one knew I could sing, not even my family. I couldn't bear the thought of...Read more