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. Pressings with the address of 767 Lexington Avenue are generally more prized than pressings labeled 47 W. 63rd St. or simply New York, USA.
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.
Interviews & Articles
In case I haven't shared the beginning, here it is in a nutshell: My son came home from elementary school, and said, "Dad, I need … [more]
When I was a jazz DJ in Philadelphia, Blue Note was always my favorite label. Naturally I had a lot of jazz-musician friends, and … [more]
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I was a Hollywood kid. My father was a TV and radio editor in the San Fernando Valley, and he allowed me to do my first writing to… [more]
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Source: Google News
Editorial: Hip-Hop's New Jazz FlowThe Source, May 17th
The sampling of Jazz records are giving rappers like Chance more room to be creative with their voices and rhyming techniques. On drum heavy songs, rappers tend to rhyme strictly on the rhythm of the beat. But jazzier tones give rappers more freedom to...Read more
Hearing the SpursVICE, May 17th
There's rock, preppy folk, and a lot of very good jazz records; a few edge right up to Nixon-era avant-garde, without ever crossing into the sort of Pharaoh Sanders zone that would imply a prolonged and serious dalliance with hallucinogens. Then the...Read more
Michael Buble Tickets On Sale May 17, 2013: SuperbTicketsOnline.com ...PR Newswire (press release), May 16th
While growing up, he enjoyed listening to the jazz records that his grandfather owned, which helped to foster his interest in performing that type of music. He also performs traditional pop and the big band sound. About Us. Michael Buble tickets are in...Read more
Anything Goes Pulls Into Port - The Vital VoiceVital VOICE, May 16th
My parents are big music people and I was constantsly listening to old jazz records like Cole Porter and Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald – classic favorites. But no, I had never actually seen the show. I know it's a super common high school show...Read more
Legendary bluesman John Mayall to play SLO BrewThe San Luis Obispo Tribune, May 15th
“My father had a few blues records mixed in with his jazz records,” Mayall said. After his discharge from the British army in 1955, Mayall formed his first band, the Powerhouse Four, which he played in while working as a graphic artist at an ad agency...Read more
Review: Come over, let's listen to Daft Punk's 'Random Access Memories'Philly.com, May 15th
It sounds like the jazz records my dad plays, sometimes it sounds like an underwater soundtrack with whales off in the distance ("Touch" featuring Paul Williams) and sometimes it sounds like a car wash ("Motherboard.") Sometimes you can't control...Read more
Bing Crosby: From The Vaults, Surprising BreadthNPR, May 13th
sessions of tunes to be played on Crosby's 1950s CBS radio show, pianist Buddy Cole's quartet worked up quick and quirky arrangements of pop evergreens, informed by Nat Cole's tight piano-guitar combo and some recent Fred Astaire jazz records...Read more
All-American Jazz Festival at Festival Park is a dream for jazz loversFayetteville Observer, May 10th
be joined by fellow Jazz Crusaders Wayne Henderson and Wilton Felder. Drummer Stix Hooper is unavailable for the concert. The trio, Sample said, will play music that jazz aficionados will recall came from their early recordings with Pacific Jazz...Read more