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    

Rare Jazz Rock Lp Ian Carr "belladonna" Uk Swirl Vertigo Original Ex++Blue Note Blp 4163 Eric Dolphy Out To Lunch Nyc Rvg Ear 1st Pressing Ex/vg++Dorothy Ashby - Rubaiyat Lp - Cadet - Soul Jazz Vg++ PromoRare Jazz Rock Lp Nucleus "elastic Rock" Uk Swirl Vertigo Orig. Ex VinylJames Tatum Contemporary Jazz Mass Jttp Lp Sealed Hank Mobley - S/t - Blue Note Blp 1568 Deep Groove Rvg Ear No R Original LpLee Morgan Sextet Blue Note 1541, Lexington, Rvg, MonoPaul Chambers Bass On Top Lp Orig Mono Blue Note Rvg Ear Deep Groove W. 63rdDextor Gordon One Flight Up Blue Note 4176, New York , Van Gelder, Ear, MonoSun Ra "super-sonic Jazz" Original Saturn Lp Superb * Benny Velarde Ay Que Rico Afro Latin Jazz Dg Mono Red Wax Fantasy 3343 Lp HearRelaxin' With The Miles Davis Quintet John Coltrane Prestige 7129 1st Press Ex+Blue Note Blp 1510 Mono Genius Thelonious Monk Vol 1 Rvg Ear Dg Lexington Nm/exDextor Gordon A Swingin Affair Blue Note 4133, New York , Van Gelder, Ear, MonoJohn Coltrane & Alice Coltrane Cosmic Music Coltrane Lp Vg++ Sonny Rollins Saxophone Colossus 7079 Nyc Flat Dg Rvg Original Prestige Jazz LpJackie Mclean-lights Out Lp-original Press/microgroove Prestige 7035 - Nr!!!Louis Smith; Here Comes, Blue Note 1584; 63rd, Dg, No R! Rvg Stamp, Ear; Rare LpJimmy Smith - Root Down Lp - Verve - Funk Jazz Vg++ Shrink* Rafael Labasta En Vivo En El Rancho Guaguanco Latin Jazz Panama Remo Lp HearOrnette Coleman The Shape Of Jazz To Come Atlantic Mono 587022 *ex+** Har-you Percussion Group S/t Rare Latin Funk Jazz Luv N Haight 1993 Lp HearKenny Drew Undercurrent Blue Note 4059 47 W 63rd Rvg Lp Vg+ To Vg++Hank Mobley A Caddy For Daddy Lp Blue Note 4230 New York Usa Mono Van Gelder Nm- Jazz Lp - Art Taylor - At's Delight - Blue Note Mono DgHank Mobley Workout Blue Note 4080 Ny/47 W 63rd Rvg Lp Vg+ To Vg++Johnny Griffin A Blowing Session 1559 Dg 63rd Ny23 Original Rare Blue Note JazzJohn Coltrane Lp "a Love Supreme" Original Impulse Stereo Rvg W "sticker" Vg++Lee Morgan Lee-way Blue Note Lp Mono New YorkMisfits Walk Among Us Lp Warner Bros Samhain Danzig Cramps Alkaline Trio Kbd HcMiles Davis Kind Of Blue Columbia Cs 8163 6 Eye Stereo 1ac/1ac Ex+ 1st Great * Joseito Mateo Mi Hijo Y Yo Rare Guaguanco Cumbia Latin Jazz Quisqueya Lp HearGrant Green Grant’s First Stand Lp Blue Note Blp 4064 63rd Dg Mono Rvg Ear Vg+Miles Davis | Ascenseur Pour L’echafaud | Rare Fontana Original 10” Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue(uk 1980s Nimbus Supercut Vinyl Album / Unplayed Mint)Paul Chambers Whims Of Chambers Blue Note 47 W 63rd Ny23 Rvg Ear Dg Lp Flat EdgeEric Dolphy Outward Bound Njlp8236 Dg Rvg Original New Jazz Jazz LpPaul Chambers Whims Of Chambers Blue Note Lp Mono New YorkCurtis Fuller Bone & Bari Blue Note 1572 Lp Original Dg Mono Rvg LpJohn Coltrane Soultrane Prestige 7142 Rvg Dg Lp NmJazz Lp~relaxin With The Miles Davis Quintet~1957 Prestige Mono~w.50th St~excSonny Rollins; Moving Out, Prestige 7058, Dg, Rvg, Bergenfield Label, RareHerbie Hancock Maiden Voyage Lp Blue Note Blp 4195 New York Van Gelder Ear Nm-Miles Davis - B****** Brew 1970 Uk 2 X Lp CbsRonnie Foster Two Headed Freap Blue Note Lp78 Rpm Tiny Parham And His Musicians,, Victor 23432, E-v+ JazzPaul Chambers, Blue Note 1564, 1st Mono, 47 West 63rd, No Inc, Rvg, Ear, Dg, VgJackie Mclean Jackie's Bag Blue Note Blp 4051 - 47 West 63rd Nyc- Rvg-ex No EarJackie Mclean It’s Time! Blue Note Blp 4179 New York Mono Van Gelder Ear Nm- Art Blakey&the Jazz Messengers~meet You At The Jazz Corner~blue Note 4055 Lp(nm)Pre War Jazz 78 Rpm Duke Ellington Okeh 40955 E+ Black And Tan FantasyJutta Hipp At The Hickory House Volume 1 Blue Note Lp Mono LexingtonJoao Donato - "amazonas/cala Boca Menino" Jazz Bossa Funk 1973 Brazil 7" 45 HearJazz Lp - Bill Evans - Portrait In Jazz - Riverside Mono DgSonny Rollins Saxophone Colossus Prestige 7079 Rvg Dg Lp Vg To Vg+Grant Green Feelin' The Spirit Blue Note Lp Mono New YorkBeverly Kenney 1959 Like Yesterday Lp Decca# 8948 Rare Promo Jazz Vocals Vg+/vg+Bennie Green Back On The Scene Lp Blue Note Blp 1587 47 W 63rd Rvg Ear Dg Vg+Hank Mobley - Mobley's Message - Prestige Prlp 7061 Rvg LpJackie Mclean One Step Beyond Blue Note 84137 1st Press 12" Vinyl Jazz Rare

Recent News: Jazz Vinyl Records

Source: Google News

Arsenal will win the Premier League title only if they have finally re ...
Telegraph.co.uk, August 4th

Petr Cech presumably expected to find his new team-mates playing old jazz records and reading French texts on individualism. Instead he reported: "I've found the team spirit quite extraordinary." The fascinating bit about this is: does he mean Arsenal...Read more

Santana Speaks – interview with the guitar legend in Jazz á Juan
Jazzwise magazine, August 3rd

Santana told the audience a story about Michel Delorme, who as head of A&R at Columbia Records in the 1970s when he first came to the south of France had given him a pile of jazz records – in particular John Coltrane & Miles Davis, and this music had a ...Read more

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 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