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    

Naked City John Zorn Torture Garden Lp 45 Rpm Shimmy 80s Avant Rock Jazz Vg++* James Spaulding Give It Up/uhuru Sasa Rare Spiritual Jazz Funk East 45 Hear Weldon Irvine ~ Time Capsule ~ Rare Og Private Sealed Funk / Jazz Lp Holy GrailBlue Note 1550 Hank Mobley Quintet Art Farmer Doug Watkins Rare Mono LpHank Mobley Roll Call Hubbard-w.kelly Blue Note Usa 47w63rd Label Mono Dg LpBeverly Kenney Sings For Johnny Smith Rare 1956 Mono Jazz Lp Royal Roost 2206 Weldon Irvine ~ Liberated Brother ~ Sealed Orig Nodlew Jazz Funk Spiritual LpIan Carr Nucleus Elastic Rock Lp - Swirl Vertigo Orig - Jazz Rock ProgPlacebo * 1973 Lp * Marc Moulin Belgian Funk Fusion Acid Jazz Breaks Chet Baker And Art Pepper Playboys Rare 50s Dg Mono Jazz Lp World Pacific Pj1234 Sam Rivers: Fuchsia Swing Song Rare Blue Note 4184 Shrink Rvg Ear Ny Usa Lp NmMike Westbrook Love Songs Rare 1970 Uk Deram Jazz Lp Norma WinstoneJackie Mclean / Sonny Clark - A Fickle Sonance **blue Note Blp 4089 Mono Rvg**Jorge Ben Negro E Lindo Lp Philips 71 Brazil Original Trio Mocoto Arthur VerocaiCurtis Fuller "the Opener" Mono Blue Note Lp 1567 Hank MobleyPaul Chambers Blue Note Lp "whims Of Chambers" W.63rd Ny23~deep Groove~cleanOrig John Coltrane A Love Supreme Lp Impulse Mono A-77 Van Gelder Spiritual JazzTrio Mocoto 73 Rge Brazil Lp Stereo Original Funk Soul Jorge Ben Rogerio Duprat Lp Barclay 84o17 Original Chet Baker Quartet France!!Org Jackie Mclean It's Time Lp Blue Note Stereo Van Gelder Ear Ex Herbie HancockEric Dolphy Blue Note Lp "out To Lunch" Orig. ~ny,usa~ear~mono~deep Groove~cleanLee Morgan - Indeed! - Blue Note 1538 Lexington Dg Pressing Rvg Ear Jackie Mclean "swing Swang Swingin'" Jazz Lp Blue Note 4024 63rd St Nyc Mono Dg Nucleus We'll Talk About It Later Vertigo Swirl Gatefold Uk Prog JazzJoe Henderson Blue Note Lp "page One" Orig. Mono~ny,usa~ear Weldon Irvine ~ In Harmony Rare Straata East Free Jazz / Funk Vinyl Lp SealedMtume Rebirth Cycle 1977 Third Street Lp Sealed Spiritual Soul Jazz Strata EastOrig We Three Roy Haynes Phineas Newborn Paul Chambers Lp New Jazz 8210 Mono DgComplete Commodore Jazz Recordings-mosaic 123/128/134-66 Lp Set RareMiles Davis Kind Of Blue - Genuine First Pressing - Cs 8163 - Rare Ex Cover!Grant Green "grant's First Stand" Jazz Lp Blue Note 4064 63rd St. Nyc Mono Dg7" Mr Foundation (zoot Simms) Timo-oh 45 Studio 1 Uk 1968 Rocksteady Scorcher!!!Horace Parlan "us Three" Jazz Lp Blue Note 4037 63rd St. Nyc Mono Dg22 Audiophile Lp Lot Mfsl, Dcc, Rca Living Stereo, 1/2 Speed, Jazz, Lounge Rock Catalyst ~ Perception Rare Spiritual Jazz Vinyl Lp Muse 72' Funk MasterpieceCharles Mingus "the Black Saint And The Sinner Lady" Impulse Jazz Lp 1963!Rare Spiritual Jazz Funk Lp/ Juju "chapter Two:nia" Original~shrink~strata EastRare Or 10" - Bud Powell - The Amazing - Blue Note 5003 John Coltrane ~ Prestige 7105 Rare W. 50th Orig Vinyl Lp ~ Hear It!Dom Salvador Salvador Trio Edson Machado Orig Mocambo Brazil Lp HearSonny Clark "cool Struttin'" Jazz Lp Blue Note 1588 63rd St. Nyc Mono DgThelonious Monk - "genius Of Modern Music #2", Original "blue Note", ExcellentHorace Parlan Quintet - On The Spur Of The Moment **blue Note Blp 4074 Rvg Ear**D.piana/o.valdambrini 10 Situazioni Globe Rare Italian Original Jazz Library M-Sun Ra "stars That Shine Brightly/deep Purple???" Jazz Lp Saturn ResearchMiles Davis - Kind Of Blue Lp Mono Pressing W/ Label Misprint Columbia 6 EyeCharles Mingus - "the Clown", Original 50's Dg "atlantic", Near MintJohn Coltrane, "a Love Supreme" Jazz Lp Impulse Mono Nm/nm* Island Jazz Quartet Feel Like Makin Love Rare Island Afro Funk ~ Drums 45 HearMiles Davis / Stan Getz / Lee Konitz / Gerry Mulligan "conception" Prestige LpJohn Coltrane-with The Red Garland Trio-1957-prestige 7123-mono-nyc AddressLee Morgan Blue Note Lp "the Cooker" Orig. W.63rd ~deep Groove~monoBlue Note 84091 Sonny Clark Leapin And Lopin Rare Original Ny Usa Ear Stereo LpJackie Mclean: A Fickle Sonance Blue Note St-84089 Rvg Imprint ExcellentAndrew Hill Blue Note Lp "point Of Departure" Orig. Ny,usa~ear~cleanHank Mobley-cohn-coltrane-sims-tenor Conclave-1956-prestige Lp7074-nyc AddressBlue Note 84187 Larry Young Into Somethin Rare Original Ny Usa Ear Stereo LpThe New Miles Davis Quintet-miles-original Deep Groove Mono, Rvg,* Tarika Blue Contagious / Downtown Sound Cosmic Jazz Funk Chiaroscuro 45 Hear Pete La Roca ~ Basra Blue Note 84205 Shrink Van Gelder Lp Joe Henderson

Recent News: Jazz Vinyl Records

Source: Google News

Shana & The Hooligans' First Track 'Get Gone' Premieres on Vibe
Broadway World, April 24th

1" was included in Sasha Frere-Jones' "Best Music of 2012", and his new album, Esperanto Slang, coming this summer on Bastard Jazz Records, features the single "Poquito Mas ft. Chico Mann". Chuck Wild has done remixes (both official and bootleg) for ...Read more

Elizabeth & The Catapult's namesake brings bravery to Big Sur.
Monterey County Weekly, April 24th

I guess, subconsciously, when I listened to jazz records with my dad as a kid, the music got into my soul.” By the end of the 18-month Fitzgerald tour, Ziman had been schooled in all the female jazz vocalist greats, from Nina Simone to Sarah Vaughan...Read more

Marshall Crenshaw, in town for DMAs, reflects on Detroit
The Detroit News, April 23rd

“I had a few jazz records in high school (Berkley High),” he says. One favorite was the Tony Williams jazz-rock fusion “Emergency!” from 1969. “I had a subscription to Downbeat,” he says. “I can't play jazz, really — if you put me in a jazz group I'd...Read more

Steve Backer, Advocate for Jazz Records, Dies at 76
New York Times, April 23rd

Steve Backer, who ran successful jazz programs at several major record labels, shaping the careers of visionary avant-gardists like the saxophonist-composers Anthony Braxton and Henry Threadgill as well as potent crossover bands like the Brecker...Read more

Herb Wong, jazz icon and educator, dies at 88
Mountain View Voice, April 21st

"They found jazz (records) and Herb said, 'This is my music.'" The two men were collaborating on a compilation of Wong's liner notes and recollections, a project Fingerote intends to complete. "Herb was a living history of jazz... his writing was so...Read more

Mercury Records a rare breed
Orillia Packet & Times, April 18th

jazz artists almost exclusively; Albert Ammons, Jay McShann, Sippie Wallace, Roy Byrd (a.k.a. Professor Longhair), Buddy Rich and Eddie “Mr. Cleanhead” Vinson and others made some great, and rare, jump blues and jazz records on the Mercury label...Read more

For UNLV, 10000 jazz albums are killer-diller donation
Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 10th

When Arnold J. Smith donated his collection of 10,000 jazz records to UNLV's Arnold Shaw Popular Music Research Center, he hoped to create a living jazz collection, one that could be accessed and enjoyed. “If I gave it to the Smithsonian, it would sit...Read more

Poncho Sanchez at the Jazz Kitchen
NUVO Newsweekly, April 9th

NUVO: I've heard that you taught yourself conga by listening to classic Latin Jazz records from guys like Mongo Santamaria. I wanted to get your opinion on a quote Mongo gave in an old issue of Downbeat. He said "you can't learn to play things like ...Read more