Birka Jazz Home
   On Internet since 1999

The Birka Jazz Archive
Records we have bought and sold over the years - the rare and the beautiful!

Please note!
Birka Jazz record store is closed but Birka Jazz Archive is still available. Scroll down and use the links to browse this comprehensive archive of rare jazz album covers


The pioneers of album cover design

David Stone Martin

The photographic covers

Searching for a modern jazz identity

BLUE NOTE  1500 series
Defining the hard bop style

BLUE NOTE  4000 series
Masterpieces of Reid Miles

Images of East Coast jazz

Street cred with Thelonious Monk

Moods of Chet and Claxton

Cool West Coast, great Sound

Masterworks by Charlie Parker

Small label, big Bird sound

Bold and striking albums

The classic drummer logo label

The beautiful design of Burt Goldblatt

Artist-operated jazz label with Mingus & Roach

Legendary, early 1960s LPs

Free jazz and silk screened covers

Edgy and experimental

The high spirit of Jim Flora

VARIOUS US labels (1)
ABC-Paramount, Aladdin, Argo, Capitol, Coral, Dawn, Decca,
and more

VARIOUS US labels (2)
Epic, Fantasy, HiFi, Imperial, Jazzland, Jazz West, Jubilee, Mercury, Mode, and more

VARIOUS US labels (3)
Roost, Signal, Storyville, Tampa, Transition, United Artists, Vee Jay, and more


The EP era and Metronome Records in 1950s

The LPs in the 1950s, and Swedish jazz abroad

Changing times in the 1960s

New energy to Swedish jazz in the 1970s

Montmartre, Debut Records and the heydays in Danish jazz

Krog and Garbarek, greats in Norwegian jazz

Plenty of merged styles in Finnish jazz

Americans in Paris, force in French jazz

Esquire and Tempo, classic labels in British jazz

Jazz labels with strong identity

Rare Italian jazz covers

From Diamonds to ICP in
Dutch jazz

Unique series of Polish jazz on Muza

Jazz labels around the world


Bethlehem Records

The beautiful design of
Burt Goldblatt

BURT GOLDBLATT began his long association with Bethlehem Records in 1953. He was a versatile genius and one of the most prolific designers in the record business. Some of his best covers are for Bethlehem Records. They are masterpieces and beautiful timeless designs with minimized text and strong visual and graphic impact.

BETHLEHEM was a New York based record label founded by Gus Wildi in 1953. Wildi was a young man, born and raised in Switzerland, who had the ambition to issue high quality jazz records, both concerning the music and the package.

He had recognized that the importance of the cover quality was underrated by other companies. So Bethlehm was one of the first company to create LP covers which could match the artistic merit of the music.

The covers were heavily laminated and the design was modern and sophisticated, giving off a feeling of quality and substance. From the beginning it was Burt Goldblatt who designed the covers.

One of the first producers was Creed Taylor, who later created the Impulse label. He stayed at Bethlehem into 1956. In 1958 King Record acquired a 50% interest in the company, and then taking it over in 1962 and let it fade out.

All 10" albums designed by Goldblatt

Bethlehems strongest impact on jazz was the 10" LPs. About 40 albums were issued between 1953 and 1955. All of them were designed by Burt Goldblatt. He also designed many of the about 160 LPs in the 12" format which followed into 1962.

Burt Goldblatt was born in Boston in 1924 and moved to New York in the early 1950s. Up to the 1970s, he produced more than 3000 covers for labels such as Roost, Savoy, Atlantic, Emarcy and Bethlehem.

He was at home with photography, drawing, painting and typography. He utilized a vast range of methods and styles, including collage, montage, even x-rays.

In an interview with Angelynn Grant in 1998 he said:

- When I started to do covers, a lot of these people had no budget for photographs, no budget for illustrations. It means that I have to do everything my self. But I was glad for it, because it was all mine.

Master of photographic effects

Burt Goldblatt was an outstanding photographer and also a master of using photographic effects. About his liner drawings, it is the use of unusual perpectives, above all, that distinguishes him from others of the same period.

He always created images that were inspired by the music, and he could easly find the relationsship between the experimental fields of graphic and jazz.

He was closely involved in the album productions and always present in the recording studio. He told about it in the interview with Angelynn Grant:

- I liked the music and I got to know the musicans. No one paid me to go to those reharsals or recording sessions. But I enjoyed it and felt like I was a part of what was being put together.

- Sometimes they would give me a tape or a dub. And while I was designing the thing, I was actually listening to the music. I was not just a grahic designer trying to outshine anybody or anything. I wanted to get a feeling for what was taking place at this recording session.

Burt Covers Bud

One of Burt Goldblatt´s covers for the Roost label was the album in 1953 with Bud Powell trio. The fact that Bud named a tune after Goldblatt says something about his present in the studio and his friendship with the musicians. The tune is "Burt Covers Bud".

See the Burt Goldblatt Roost covers at Various US labels, part 2. There are aslo Goldblatt covers on the Savoy, Atlantic and EmArcy pages among others.

Burt Goldblatt continued doing cover designs in the 1960s for Columbia and RCA before he gave up the record business in the 1970s. He went to a writing career, co-authoring and publishing several books in various topics. He passed away in 2006.

    Burt Goldblatt in 1950s


Bethlehem Discography

Angelynnn Grant

Interview  GUS WILDI a.o.
Bethlehem Interviews

 Charlie Mariano   Label: Bethlehem BCP 1022   10" LP 1954
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

Bethlehem Records

The first LP of Bethlehem Records was the 1954 10" album Chris Connor Sings Lullabys of Birdland (Bethlehm BCP 1001). Design and photo by Burt Goldblatt. Also the second Bethlehem LP was by Chris Connor (below)

 Chris Connor Sings Lullabys for Lovers Label: Bethlehem BCP 1002   10" LP 1954
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Oscar Pettiford   Label: Bethlehem BCP 1003   10" LP 1954
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Charlie Shavers: Horn O' Plenty   Label: Bethlehem BCP 1007   10" LP 1954
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Joe Puma: East Coast Jazz 3   Label: Bethlehem BCP 1012   10" LP 1954
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Eddie Shu: I only have eyes for Shu   Label: Bethlehem BCP 1013   10" LP 1954
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Jonah Jones   Label: Bethlehem BCP 1014   10" LP 1954
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Conte Candoli: Sincerely, Conte   Label: Bethlehem BCP 1016   10" LP 1954
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Oscar Pettiford: Basically Duke   Label: Bethlehem BCP 1019   10" LP 1954
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Carmen McRae   Label: Bethlehem BCP 1023   10" LP 1954
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Stu Williamson: Sapphire   Label: Bethlehem BCP 1024   10" LP 1954
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Max Bennett Quintet with Charlie Mariano   Label: Bethlehem BCP 1028   10" LP 1954
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Red Mitchell: Happy Minors   Label: Bethlehem BCP 1033   10" LP 1955
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 J.J. Johnson - Kai Winding: K + J.J.   Label: Bethlehem BCP 13   12" LP 1955
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Hal McKusick: East Coast Jazz 8   Label: Bethlehem BCP 16   12" LP 1955
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Henry Red Allen: Jazz at the Metropole   Label: Bethlehem BCP 21   12" LP 1955
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Charlie Mariano   Label: Bethlehem BCP 25   12" LP 1955
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Charlie Shavers: Gershwin, Shavers and Strings   Label: Bethlehem BCP 27   12" LP 1955
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Stu Williamson Plays   Label: Bethlehem BCP 31   12" LP 1955
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Dexter Gordon: Daddy Plays The Horn   Label: Bethlehem BCP 36   12" LP 1955
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Ralph Sharon Trio   Label: Bethlehem BCP 41   12" LP 1956
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 The Return of Howard McGhee   Label: Bethlehem BCP 42   12" LP 1956
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Johnny Hartman: Songs From The Heart   Label: Bethlehem BCP 43   12" LP 1956
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Charlie Mariano Plays   Label: Bethlehem BCP 49   12" LP 1956
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Max Bennett Plays   Label: Bethlehem BCP 50   12" LP 1956
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Mel Tormé   Label: Bethlehem BCP 52   12" LP 1956
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Peggy Connelly   Label: Bethlehem BCP 53   12" LP 1956
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Claude Williamson   Label: Bethlehem BCP 54   12" LP 1956
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Stu Williamson with Charlie Mariano   Label: Bethlehem BCP 55   12" LP 1956
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Chris Connor: Chris   Label: Bethlehem BCP 56   12" LP 1956
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Sal Salvador: Frivolous Sal   Label: Bethlehem BCP 59   12" LP 1956
 Design and foto: Burt Goldblatt

 Duke Ellington: Historically Speaking   Label: Bethlehem BCP 60   12" LP 1956
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Relaxin´ with Frances Faye   Label: Bethlehem BCP 62   12" LP 1957
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Betty Roché: Take the A Trane   Label: Bethlehem BCP 64   12" LP 1957
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Herbie Nichols: Love, Gloom, Cash, Love   Label: Bethlehem BCP 81   12" LP 1957

 Charlie Rouse / Paul Quinichette: The Chase Is On   Label: Bethlehem BCP 6021   12" LP 1959

 Art Blakey Big Band   Label: Bethlehem BCP 6027   12" LP 1959

 Nina Simone and Her Friends   Label: Bethlehem BCP 6041   12" LP 1959

 Mal Waldron: Left Alone   Label: Bethlehem BCP 6045   12" LP 1959

 Howard McGhee: Dusty Blue   Label: Bethlehem BCP 6055   12" LP 1961

 Pepper Adams: Motor City Scene   Label: Bethlehem BCP 6056   12" LP 1961