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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


Heydays in
Danish jazz with
Debut Records

The first "Golden Age" of Danish jazz was in the 1930s and 1940s. The dominant figures in the era were the pianist Leo Mathisen and the violinist Svend Asmussen. And among the modernists in the 1950s there were players such as Max Brüel, Jörgen Ryg and Erik Moseholm.

But it is the 1960s that counts as the heydays in Danish jazz. It began when Jazzhus Montmartre opened in Copenhagen early in the decade. It was a place modelled on the jazz clubs in New York and Paris and it had a great inspiring effect on the Danish jazz life.

Not least the young Danish musicians were inspired by all the Americans who settled in Copenhagen and played at Montmartre. It was great jazz musicians such as Stan Getz, Oscar Pettiford, Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon and Kenny Drew among others.

   Interior detail Jazzhus Montmartre

Besides Svend Asmussen, who made his mark on the international scene early on, a number of other Danish jazz musicians have also attracted international attention over the years. During the 1960s, saxophonist John Tchicai was a part of the avant-garde scene in New York. In the 70's Palle Mikkelborg collaborated with Miles Davis, who in turn discovered the Danish percussionist Marilyn Mazur, and hired her for his band. Niles-Henning Örsted Pedersen was in many years one of the most influential bassist in the world.

The legendary Debut label

The early Danish jazz were recorded by labels like Odeon and Tono, and in the 1950s by Metronome, Sonet and international labels lika Philips and Columbia. From late 1950s Danish jazz also was recorded by Debut Records.


DANISH DEBUT was launched in 1957 by Ole Vestergaard. He had a book shop in the little Danish town Brande, and was keeping the American Debut catalogue alive, at a time when the label was about to falter.

Many of Debut´s American recordings were reissued by Vestergaard, mostly with new covers and sometimes in an unexpected way, like the Jimmy Knepper quintet recording in New York 1957. It was ment to be a regular LP album in the USA but was never released. Instead, the first issue is the Danish Debut DL-101, a rare 7" LP (or 33 rpm EP).

Vestgaard´s first production of his own was a trio session with Oscar Pettiford. It was followed with more recordings by Americans in Europe and by young Danish musicians such as Bent Axen, Bent Jaedig and Allan Botschinsky among others.

Later on, the Danish Debut continued with an avantgarde-policy for some years. Recordings, made in Copenhagen, with Eric Dolphy, Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor and others gave the label legendary fame.


SONET was a Swedish-Danish collaboration launched in mid 1950s. The founder was Anders Dyrup in Copenhagen and the two Swedes Sven Lindholm and Gunnar Bergström.

Soon included was also Karl Emil Knudsen, who brought his Danish jazz label Storyville into the new record family, as well as Dan Haeggqvist whose contribution was the Swedish label Gazell.

In the 1950s and the early 1960s Sonet´s Danish recording activity centered on traditional jazz and blues, issued on the Storyville label. The first great blues singer to arrive in Copenhagen was Big Bill Broonzy in 1956. Many recording sessions followed with Champion Jack Dupree, Lonnie Johnson, Speckled Red, Memphis Slim, Sonny Boy Williamson and many others.


These Storyville blues recordings made it also economically possible to record modern jazz, originally issued on Sonet and later reissued on Storyville. Among the artists were Bud Powell and Archie Shepp, but also Scandinavian musicians such as RoIf Billberg, Bernt Rosengren, Max Brüel and Jörgen Ryg.

Besides their own recordings, Sonet also reissued jazz from many sources. This includes the series of American Music recordings (Bunk Johnson, George Lewis, et all) on the Storyville label, and many modern jazz EPs on the Sonet label from other small American labels. They are of interest, not least because of their often unique original covers.


StepleChase was founded in Copenhagen in 1972 by Nils Winther. The label took over the tradition from Debut and recorded Americans, living or visiting Copenhagen.

Nils Winther was a student when he started to record live performances at Montmartre. When Jackie McLean heard a tape from a set, he encouraged the young enthusiast to make a record. Winter used his grant for university studies, and pressed 500 LPs of Jackie McLean´s Live at Montmartre. The SteepleChase Records was born.

SteepleChace continued to issue LPs by Kenny Drew, Johnny Griffin, Ben Webster, Duke Jordan and many others. Dexter Gordon led his first recording date for the label in 1974 (The Apartment), and over the next few years, he would release over a dozen albums. Today the catalogue contains more than 400 albums.




The Danish Jazz Scene
Kjeld Fransen

Debut Records Discography

 A. Botschinsky: Jazz Quintet -60   Label: Metronome 15124 (Denmark)   12" LP 1962


 Svend Asmussen Moods   Label: Philips B 10575 R   10" LP 1950s

 Max Brüel Quartet featuring Birgit Brüel   Label: Metronome MEP 48   7" EP 1954
 Design: Stig Söderqvist

 Max Brüel Quartet, vol. 2   Label: Metronome MEP 119   7" EP 1955

   EPs from 1955: Jörgen Ryg Quartet, vol 1 and 3 (Metronome MEP120 and 1045)

 Max Bruel: Cool Bruel   Label: EmArcy 36062 (USA)   12" LP 1956

   The Cool Scandinavians. With Jörgen Ryg, Max Brüel and Rolf Billberg.
EPs from 1956 (Sonet SXP 2001 and SXP 2000)

   EPs from 1956 and 1957: Max Brüel Quartet (Metronome MEP1071), and
William Schiöpffe: Drum Colours (Columbia SEGK 1038)

 Ib Glindemann: Special Brew   Label: Danish Columbia 33 KP 2   10" LP 1957
 Cover design: Jack Jensen

 Erik Moseholm: Made by Moseholm   Label: Metronome MEP 1143   7" EP 1957

    EPs from 1957: Made by Moseholm, vol. 2-3 (Metronome MEP1144 and 1145)

    EPs from 1957 and 1958: Jazz Saloon Dortmund by Max Bruel (Metronome MEP 1139)
and Ib Glindemann (UG EP6)

 George Lewis Jazzband   Label: Storyville SEP 315   7" EP c.1957

 George Lewis Jazzband   Label: Storyville SLP 108   12" LP c.1958
 Design: Jens Nordsö & Anders Dyrup   Photo: Lennart Steen

 Finn Savery Trio   Label: Metronome MEP 1188   7" EP 1958

 Jazz Quintet 58   Label: Triola TEP6   7" EP 1958

 Erik Moseholm: My Favourite Ladies   Label: Hit Records HR703   7" EP 1958

    EPs from 1958: Ib Glindemann Gallery (Columbia SEGK 1042), and
Erik Moseholm presents Jazz Strings 58 (Sonet SXP 2011)

    EPs from 1959: A Bit a la Miles by Finn Mickelborg (Debut DEP 46),
and Jazz at the Highschool by Paul Godske a.o. (Metronome MEP 1189)

 Meet Paul Godske   Label: Odeon GEOK 214   7" EP 1959

 Louis Hjulmand: Trio   Label: Debut DEP 47   7" EP 1959

 Jimmy Knepper Quintet   Label: Debut DL-101   7" LP 1959
 Design: Diane Dorr-Dorynek

 The New Oscar Pettiford Sextet   Label: Debut DL-102   7" LP 1959
 Design: Bill Spilka   Photo: Herman Leonard

 The Max Roach Quartet   Label: Debut DL-103   7" LP 1959
 Design: Diane Dorr-Dorynek

 Bent Axen: Poll Winner 59   Label: Fona Klubben LPJ 416   12" LP 1959

 Jazz Quintet 60   Label: Debut DEP 50   7" EP 1960

 Jörgen Borch: Take the Coaltrain   Label: Debut DEP-51   7" EP 1960

 The Essen Jazz Festival All Stars   Label: Debut 131   12" LP 1960
 Photo: Jazzlife

 Speckled Red: The Dirty Dozen   Label: Storyville SLP 117   12" LP c.1960
 Design: Carin Bertelsen   Photo: Lennart Steen

 Oscar Pettiford: My Little Cello   Label: Debut 132   12" LP 1960
 Design: Anders Dyrup   Photo: Lennart Steen

 Bent Axen - Bent Jaedig   Label: Debut 133   12" LP 1960
 Photo: Lennart Steen

 Oscar Pettiford + Grethe Kemp   Label: Columbia 45-DD717   7" EP 1960

    EPs from 1960: Oscar Pettiford - Lee Gaines - Grethe Kemp (Columbia SEGK 1068),
and Finn Mickelborg Quintet (Debut DEB 52)

    EPs from 1960 and 1961: Topmeeting by Jan Johansson trio (Life LEP 501), and
Axen in Action by Bent Axen trio (Debut DEB 53)

 Bent Axen Trio   Label: Debut D45-2   7" single 1961

 Jazz Quintet 60   Label: Domino DOEP 1051   7" EP 1961

 Jazz Quintet 60 spiller Leo Mathisen   Label: Top Pop 5016   7" EP 1961

 Erik Moseholm: My Favourite Ladies, vol. 3   Label: Hit Records 707   7" EP 1961
 Photo: Preben Sonne

 Erik Moseholm: Two Oscars to Oscar   Label: Hit Records HR 708   7" EP 1961
 Design: Ebbe Wråe

 Erik Moseholm: Svinninge Blues   Label: Hit Records 709   7" EP 1961

 Bjarne Rostvold: Jazz Journey   Label: Hit Records 710   7" EP 1961

 Jorn Elniff: Music for Mice and Men   Label: Debut 134   12" LP 1961
 Photo: Lennart Steen

 Bent Axen - Bjarne Rostvold: Our Dilemma   Label: Hit Records HR711   7" EP 1961

 L. Hjulmand - A. Botschinsky: Blues Bros   Label: Debut 135   12" LP 1961
 Photo: Vibeke Winding

 Bent Axen: Holiday in Studio   Label: Top Jazz 5007   7" EP 1961

 Gitte Henning with Oscar Pettiford   Label: HMV 45X 8439   7" EP 1961

   EPs from 1961: Jazz Quintet 61, vol. 2 (Debut DEB 54), and
Van Prince and Orchestra (with Palle Mikkelberg, Sahib Shihab): Hully Gully (Adlon SP 1)

    10"LPs from 1962: Louis Hjulmand: Jazz Jamboree 62, vol 3 (Muza L0396 - Poland),
and Jörgen Leth: Jazz Jamboree 62, vol 4 (Muza L0397 - Poland)

 Bud Powell: Bouncing with Bud   Label: Sonet SLP 31   12" LP 1962

 Triple Action, vol. 1   Label: Hit Records HR713   7" EP 1962

 Erik Moseholm: Gris på gafeln   Label: Hit Records HR718   7" EP 1962
 Design: Kirsten Stenbaek

 Eric Dolphy in Europe   Label: Debut 136   12" LP 1962
 Photo: Ole Vestegaard (?)

 Bent Axen: Sketch   Label: Hit Records 714   7" EP 1963

 Bjarne Rostvold: Tricrotism   Label: RCA LPM 9955   12" LP 1963

 New York Contemporary Five   Label: Sonet SLP 36   12" LP 1963

 Don Byas: Ballads for Swingers   Label: Polydor 623 207   12" LP 1963
 Photo: Rolf Ambor

 Brew Moore - Lars Gullin: Swinget 14   Label: Debut 137   12" LP 1963
 Photo: Jack Lind

 Presenting Jazz Quintet 60   Label: Fontana TL 687527   12" LP 1963

 Cecil Taylor Live at the Montmartre   Label: Debut 138   12" LP 1963
 Design: Nina Aae   Photo: Lennart Steen

 Presenting Louis Hjulmand   Label: Fontana R 687525 L   12" LP 1963

 Charles Mingus: Chazz!   Label: Debut 139   12" LP 1963

 Pedro Biker: Evergreens in Danish Design   Label: Fontana T 687528   12" LP 1963

 My Name is Albert Ayler   Label: Debut 140   12" LP 1963
 Design: Nina Aae

 Sahib Shihab: Sahib´s Jazz Party   Label: Debut 141   12" LP 1963
 Design: Nina Aae   Photo: Jan Persson

 The Blues of Champion Jack Dupree   Label: Storyville SLP 194   12" LP 1963

 Louis Hjulmand: Jazz og Poesi   Label: Lousiana/Gyldendal LGLP 3010   12" LP 1963

 Krzysztof Komeda Quintet with Allan Botschinsky: Ballet Etudes   Label: Metronome 15132  
12" LP 1963   Design: Olav Bennike   Photo: Vibeke Winding

 Presenting Ib Glindemann Orchestra   Label: Fontana TY 887529   12" LP 1963

 Don Byas: The Big Sound   Label: Debut 142   12" LP 1964
 Design: Nina Aae

 The Contemporary Jazz Quartet: Action   Label: Debut 143   12" LP 1964
 Design: Boris Rabinowitsch

 Albert Ayler: Ghosts   Label: Debut 144   12" LP 1964
 Design: Nina Aae

 Albert Ayler: Spirits   Label: Debut 146   12" LP 1964
 Design: Nina Aae

 Sahib Shihab + Danish Radio Jazz Group   Label: Oktav OKLP 111   12" LP 1965

 The Radio Jazz Group   Label: Debut 1145   12" LP 1965

 Bjarne Rostvold: Switch   Label: Odeon MOEK 9   12" LP 1966
 Design: Claus Albrechtsen

 Pedro Biker sings The Song Is You   Label: Sonet SLP 1219   12" LP 1966

 Hugh Steinmetz; Nu!   Label: Debut 1148   12" LP 1966

 Bent Jaedig: Danish Jazzman 1967   Label: Debut 1149   12" LP 1967
 Photo: Jan Persson

 Palle Mikkelborg: The Mysterious Corona   Label: Debut 150   12" LP 1967
 Photo: Jan Persson

 Tom Prehns kvartet   Label: V 58   12" LP 1967
 Cover painting: Tommy Storkholm

 John Tchicai: Cadentia Nova Danicanbsp;  Label: Polydor 243-015   12" LP 1968
 Painting: Giorgio Musoni

 The Contemporary Jazz Quintet   Label: Debut SDEB 151   12" LP 1968

 Max Leth: Time's Up   Label: Columbia E052-37031   12" LP 1969

 Dollar Brand: African Piano. Live at Montmartre   Label: Spectator 1005   12" LP 1969
 Design: Hudson Keller

 The Noble Art of Teddy Wilson   Label: Metronome 15328   12" LP 1969
 Photo: Jan Persson

 Tordenskjolds Soldater: Peace   Label: Spectator SL 1007  12" LP 1970

 Sahib Shihab: Sentiments   Label: Sonet / Storyville SLP-1008   12" LP 1971
 Design: Chris Olesen   Photo: Jan Persson

LPs from 1971: The Jazz Dancer, vol. 1-2   Label Fona 501 and 502

 Arne Forchhammer Trio   Label: Artist ALP505   12" LP 1971

 Torolf Mölgaard: Lone Rider   Label: Artist LP508   12" LP 1972

 Jackie McLean Live at Montmartre   Label: SteepleChase 1001   12" LP 1972
 Design: Lissa Winther   Photo: Jörgen Bo

 Mads Winding: Danish Design   Label: Sonet SLP-2560   12" LP c.1973
 Design: Lasse Åberg   Photo: Bengt H. Malmquist

 Brief Encounter   Label: Metronome 15627   12" LP 1978
 Design: Kenny Drew

 Allan Botschinsky Quintet   Label: Stunt Records 8301   12" LP 1983
 Design: St. Cherome Jusjong   Photo: Pylle Söndergaard