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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

American Blue Note 10" LP from 1954 with British jazz including Johnny Dankworth, Don Rendell a.o.


Esquire and Tempo,
classic labels in
British Jazz

Esquire Records and Tempo are two classic and important labels in modern British jazz, and most in demand among collectors. Esquire was the first label to record modern jazz in England and Tempo Records took over in the mid 1950s.

Otherwise, Club Eleven was the first place to bring modern jazz and bebop to the attention in London after the war. It became the focal point for the new jazz and the inspiration to many young musicians throughout the country.

    Club Eleven c.1948 with Ronnie Scott,
    Johnny Dankworth, Tommy Pollard,
    Len Bush, Denis Rose, Tony Crombie

The club opened in 1948. Among the musicians involved were Ronnie Scott, Johnny Dankworth, Dennis Rose, Tony Crombie, Don Rendell, Laurie Morgan, Tommy Pollard and Tony Kinsey.

    Johnny Dankworth

A movement in an opposite direction was the traditional revival, which began to flourish in the 1940s and eventually led to the trad jazz boom in the 1950s. This music was represented by musicans like Ken Colyer, Humphrey Lyttelton and Chris Barber.

    Ken Colyer with Monty Sunshine and
    Chris Barber in 1953

ESQUIRE RECORDS was founded in 1947 by Carlo Krahmer and Peter Newbrook. Many of the best British jazz musicians were recorded early in their careers, besides the already named also Victor Feldman, Jimmy Deuchar and Tommy Whittle among others.


Esquire also undertook leasing deals with American record companies. They issued the Charlie Parker Dials and later almost the entire Prestige catalogue. The company introduced Swedish jazz in Britain by names such as Lars Gullin, Bengt Hallberg and Arne Domnerus.

Esquire´s catalogue of Britsh jazz contained a large number of 78s. The first 10" LPs of British modern jazz were issued in 1952. Into 1956 the numbers of modern British jazz LPs were about 25, most of them in the 10" format. In the same time around 40 EPs were issued.


TEMPO RECORDS did in the second half of the 1950s, what Esquire had done in the early part of the decade. The label was founded in 1946s and recorded in the first years traditional jazz. The recordings of modern British jazz started in 1955, when British Decca was the company´s new owner. Recordings of traditional continued as well.

Decca kept the Tempo label active into 1960. Until then around 40 LPs were issued (of which about 10 in the 10" format), and the number of 45 rpm EPs was about 100.

New sounds in the 1960s

The main influence on British jazz in the 1950s was the Americans. But in the early 1960s some musicians were developing new sounds, among them Joe Harriott, Don Rendall and Stan Tracey. An original British sound was being developed, taking elements from bop but branching out to use different musical ideas.

    Don Rendall
    Photo: Walter Hanlon

    Vic Feldman and Harry Klein
    Photo: Walter Hanlon

An important source in the 1960s and 1970s was the the music of South Africa, negotiated by musicians such as Chris McGregor, Mongezi Feza, Dudo Pukwana, Johnny Dyani, Harry Miller and others.

There was also a growth in free jazz inspired by European models, as well as currents from British rhtym & blues. These influences helped British contemporary jazz to develope a distinctive identy, distanced from American styles.


The British DECCA was an important label in British jazz during the years, not least via the subsidiary label Tempo. Many albums were also issued on the Decca label itself.

When Decca had dropped Tempo in the early 1960s, they formed a new subsidiary in mid 60s called DERAM. It was intended for alternative and progressive artists, and gave some space for new voices in jazz.


Composers and musicians such as Mike Westbrook, Graham Collier, Michael Garrick, Mike Gibbs and Alan Skidmore made major contributions for the Deram label in the late 1960s. But Decca also placed pop artists on Deram, so it failed to get a real profile. In 1969, Decca formed a true progressive label called Nova, which lasted less than a year.


It came to be other players who took care of the new jazz in Britian in the 1970s. In the end of the 1960s Evan Parker and Derek Baily formed a group called Music Improvisation Company. They made a record for the German label ECM. The group breaked up, but it led to that Parker and Bailey, together with Tony Oxley, started their own record company, INCUS.

Incus was the first musician-owned independent label in the UK. Incus released about 50 LPs into mid 1980s. From that point the label was run by Derek Bailey alone, until his death in 2005.


Another important label for avant garde jazz in Britain was OGUN. It was formed in 1974 by South African-born bassist Harry Miller and his wife Hazel Miller.

Ogun recorded the Brotherhood of Breath (collectively and under individual muisician´s names), Mike Osborne, John Surman, Elton Dean, Keith Tippett, John Stevens, Trevor Watts, Harry Beckett and others. Around 40 LPs were issued until mid 1980s. Harry Miller died in a car accident in 1983.

    Harry Miller


British Modern Jazz
David Taylor

Esquire Records Listing

Tempo Records Discography
Amarcord Records

Incus Records

 The Jazz Couriers in Concert   Label: Tempo TAP 22   12" LP 1958


   Two 10" LPs from 1953: Ronnie Scott Quintet (Esquire 20-006), and
New Orleans to London by Ken Colyer´s Jazzmen (Decca LF 1152). The clarinetist Monty Sunshine made the cover design for the Decca album.

 Another Monty Sunshine cover art in the early 1950s, a 10" LP with James P. Johnson
on the London label (AL 3511).  

 Don Rendell, Phil Seamen, Jimmy Deuchar a.o.: Music In The Making  
Label: Vogue EPV 1009   7" EP 1954

Joe Harriot´s first EP in 1954 on Melodisc 7-117, and
early Prestige recording by Sonny Rollins on Esquire 32-045 with unique UK cover

 Meet Don Rendell (with quartet)   Label: Tempo LAP 1   10" LP 1955
The very first LP on the Tempo label

    Another two 10" LPs from 1955 on the Tempo label: Dizzy Reece Quintet (Tempo LAP 3) and Victor Feldman Septet (Tempo LAP 5)

    Joe Harriott on EP from 1955: Quartet (Columbia DC 701) and With Strings (Polygon JTE 106)

 Jimmy Deuchar Quartet  Label: Esquire 20-059   10" LP 1955

 Jimmy Deuchar - Dizzy Reece   Label: Tempo TAP 4   12" LP 1956

    Another two LPs from mid 1950s by the top trumpeters of modern British jazz:
Jimmy Deuchar on 10" Tempo LAP 2, and Dizzy Reece on 12" Tempo TAP 9

    EPs by drummer Tony Kinsey from mid 1950s: with Trio (Esquire E.P. 82),
and Quartet (Decca DFE 6282). Both with Joe Harriott

    LPs by Kenny Graham from mid 1950s: Presenting Kenny Graham (Nixa NJL 12 - 12" LP) and Caribbean Suite (Esquire 20-023 - 10" LP)

 Tubby Hayes: After Lights Out   Label: Tempo TAP 6   12" LP 1956  

 Annie Ross: Annie by Candlelight   Label: Nixa 504   10" LP 1956   Photo: Walter Hanlon

 Annie Ross: Nocturne for Vocalist   Label: Nixa 1035   7" EP 1956  Photo: Walter Hanlon

 Ronnie Scott and Tony Crombie at the Royal Festival Hall   Label: Decca LF 1261   10" LP 1956

 Ken Colyer: Club Session   Label: Decca LK 4178   12" LP 1956

    EPs from 1956: Ronnie Scott Blows with Dizzy Reece (Tempo EXA 45) and Tubby Hayes The Swinging Giant (Tempo EXA 28)

    EPs from 1956 and 1957: Jazz at The Flamingos with Tubby Hayes (Tempo EXA 56),
and with Tony Kinsey (Decca DFE 6439)

    Dizzy Reece EPs from 1957: Mutural Admiration with Victor Feldman (Tempo EXA 85),
and On the Scene with quintet (Tempo EXA 89)

    EPs from 1957: Victor Feldman Nine-tet (Tempo EXA 67) and Jazz Couriers (Tempo EXA 75)

 Victor Feldman: In London, vol. 1   Label: Tempo TAP 8   12" LP 1957

 Various Artists (Tubby Hayes, Dizzy Reece, Victor Feldman a.o.): Cool Music for a Hot Night  
Label: Tempo TAP 10   12" LP 1957

 Victor Feldman: In London, vol. 2   Label: Tempo TAP 12   12" LP 1957   Foto: Bill Penny

 Tubby Hayes and The Jazz Couriers   Label: Tempo TAP 15   12" LP 1957

    EPs from mid 1950s by Don Rendell:
The Quintet (Tempo EXA 20), and The Sextet (Tempo EXA 12)

    Another two EPs from 1950s by Don Rendell:
The Jazz Committe (Decca DFE 6587), and Doggin Around (Pye Nixa NJE 1044).

 Presenting Ronnie Scott Sextet   Label: Philips BBL 7153   12" LP 1957

 The Tony Kinsey Quintet with Joe Harriott: Jazz at The Flamingo   Label: Decca LK 4207  
Issue: 12" LP 1957

 The Tommy Whittle Quartet   Label: HMV 7EG 8325   7" EP 1957

10" LPs by Humphrey Lyttelton from mid 1950s: Jazz at the Royal Festival Hall (Parlophone PMD1032) and Humph Swings Out (Parlophone PMD1044)

   10" LPs by Chris Barber from 1957 (Nixa NJT 505 and NJT 508)

    EPs from 1957-1958: Eddie Thompson Trio (Nixa NJE 1030 - Photo Walter Hanlon)) and
Keith Christie Jazz Quartet (Decca DFE 6564)

    EPs from 1958; Allan Ganley (Nixa NJE 1046), and Tony Kinsey (Decca DFE 6541)

 Don Rendell: Playtime   Label: Decca LK 4265   12" LP 1958

 Tony Crombie with Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott a.o.: Atmosphere  
Label: Columbia SCX 3262   12" LP 1958

 Stan Tracey: Showcase   Label: Vogue VA160130   12" LP 1958

 Alan Clare with Don Rendell: Jazz Around the Clock   Label: Decca LK4260   12" LP 1958

 Dizzy Reece: A Variation on Monk   Label: Tempo EXA 84   7" EP 1958

   Another two albums from 1958 featuring Tubby Hayes.
He appears on the 12" LP anthology "Speak Low" (Tempo TAP 17) and he plays tenor with
Eddie Thompson Quintet on "London After Dark", a 10" LP on the VOX label (VX 1450)

   EPs from 1958: Alexis Korner (Tempo EXA 76) and the Dizzy Reece soundtrack from
"Nowhere To Go" (Tempo EXA 86)

 Ken Colyer plays Standards   Label: Decca LK 4294   12" LP 1958

 Jimmy Deuchar: Pal Jimmy   Label: Tempo TAP 20   12" LP 1958

   American LPs with unique 1950s UK covers: Thelonious Monk (London LTZ U15097)
and Hal McKusick (Parlophone 1093)

 The Eddie Thompson Trio   Label: Tempo TAP 24   12" LP 1959

 Wilton Gaynair: Blue Bogey   Label: Tempo TAP 25   12" LP 1959
Photo: Bill Penny 

 The Couriers of Jazz   Label: London LYZ-L 15188   12" LP 1959

 Joe Harriott: Blue Harriott   Label: Columbia SEG7939   7" EP 1959

 The Jazz Couriers: The Last Word   Label: Tempo TAP 26   12" LP 1959
 Design: Tony Hall and John Taylor Photo: Martin Brookes

 Tubby Hayes London Jazz Quartet   Label: Tempo TAP 28   12" LP 1959

 Ken Colyer: This Is Jazz   Label: Columbia SX 1220   12" LP 1959
 Photo: Patrick Gwynn-Jones

 Zoot Sims: Solo for Zoot   Label: Fontana 886151   12" LP 1961

   Another two Fontana LPs recorded in London 1961 by Zoot Sims with British musicians:
Zoot at Ronnie Scott´s (TFL 517)  and Cookin´ (FJL 123)

   LPs from 1961 and 1962: Dick Morrissey Quartet (Fontana TFL 5149), and
Tony Coe Quintet (Philips B10784L)

 Tubby Hayes: Tubbs in N.Y.   Label: Fontana 885 240 TY   12" LP 1961

 Tubby Hayes: Return Visit   Label: Fontana STFL 595   12" LP 1962

   The two Fontana LPs above, recorded in New York, were also issued in USA on American labels.
The first one (Tubby the Tenor) on Epic LA-16023, and the second (Tubby´s Back in Town) on Smash SRS-67026

   More British LP jazz exports in the early 1960s: Tubby Hayes on Brunswick 87913 (Germany)
and Don Rendell on Jazzland 51 (USA)

 Alexis Korner: R & B from the Marquee   Label: Decca ACL 1130   12" LP 1962

 EmCee5 with Mike and Ian Carr: Let´s take five!   Label: Columbia SEG 8153   7" EP 1962

 Tubby Hayes - Jack Costanzo   Label: Fontana STFL 598   12" LP 1962

 Tubby Hayes: Down In The Village   Label: Fontana 680 998 TL   12" LP 1963

LP albums from 1963-1964: Tubby Hayes´ Late Spot at Scott´s (Fontana TL 5200),
and Dick Morrissey´s Have You Heard? (77 Records LEU 12-8)

 Tubby Hayes: Tubb's Tours   Label: Fontana TL 5221   12" LP 1964

 The Sound of Cyril Davies   Label: Pye NEP 44025   7" EP 1964

 Paul Gonsalves Quartet: Boom-Jackie-Boom-Chick   Label: Vocalion LAE 587   12" LP 1964
 Design: Robin Benson   Photo: Harry Morris

 Joe Harriott: Movement   Label: Columbia 33SX 1627   12" LP 1964

 Harold McNair: Affectionate Fink   Label: Island ILP 926   12" LP 1965

 Don Rendell - Ian Carr: Shades of Blue   Label: EMI Columbia 335X 1733   12" LP 1965

 Michael Garrick: Promises   Label: Argo ZDA 36   12" LP 1965

 Paul Gonsalves - Tubby Hayes: Just Friends   Label: Columbia SX 6003   12" LP 1965

 Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated   Label: Decca ACL 1187   12" LP 1965

    LPs from 1965 and 1966: Stan Tracey´s Jazz suite Under Milk Wood (Columbia SX 1774),
and Don Rendell-Ian Carr´s Dusk Fire (Columbia SX 6064)

    Rhythm å Blues LPs with jazz flavour by Graham Bond from 1965 and 1966:
The Sound of 65 (Columbia SX1711), and There´s a Bond beteen us (Columbia SX1750)

    Anthem is an EP from 1965 by Michael Garrick Quintet with Joe Harriott (Argo EAF 92).
Jazz Tete a Tete is a LP from 1966 with Tony Coe Quartet, Tubby Hayes Quartet and Frank Evans Trio (77 Records LEU 12-21)

 Joe Harriott: Indo-Jazz Suite   Label: EMI Columbia SX 6025   12" LP 1966
 Design: Dennis Preston

 The Joe Harriot Quintet Swings High   Label: Melodisc SLP 12-150   12" LP 1967

 Graham Collier: Deep Dark Blue Centre   Label: Deram SML 1005   12" LP 1967

 Tony Coe: Tony´s Basement   Label: EMI SX6170   12" LP 1967

    Two LPs by Dick Morrissey from 1967: Storm Warning (Mercury 20077MCL),
and Here and Now and Sounding Good (Mercury 20093MCL)

    LP albums with American vocal jazz and blues recorded and issued in London in 1967:
Eddie Boyd (Decca LK 4872) and Blossom Dearie (Fontana STL 5399 - Design: Anthony Ward)

 Mike Westbrook: Celebration   Label: Deram 1013   12" LP 1967
 Design; Alan Jackson   Photo: Graham Keen

 Tubby Hayes: 100% Proof   Label: Fontana TL 5410   12" LP 1967

 Mike Westbrook: Release   Label: Deram 1031   12" LP 1968

 Don Rendell - Ian Carr: Phase III   Label: EMI Columbia SX 6214   12" LP 1968

 Michael Garrick: Black Marigolds   Label: Argo DA 88   12" LP 1968

 Michael Garrick: Jazz Praises   Label: Airborne NBP 0021   12" LP 1968

 Harold McNair Quartet   Label: RCA Victor SF 7969   12" LP 1968

 Davy Graham: Large as Life and Twice as Natural   Label: Decca SKL 4969   12" LP 1968

 Phil Seamen Now!...Live!   Label: Verve SVLP 9220   12" LP 1968

 Stan Tracey: With Love from Jazz   Label: EMI Columbia SX 6205   12" LP 1968

 Duke Pearson: Angel Eyes   Label: Polydor 583 723   12" LP 1968

 LP albums from 1968: Phil Seamen meets Eddie Gomez (Pantonic 6306, and
John Surman (Deram SML 1030)

 LP albums from 1968: Gordon Beck´s Gyroscope (Morgan MJ1), and
Joe Harriott´s Personal Portrait (Columbia SCX 6249)

 LP albums from 1968 and 1969: Chris McGregor´s Very Urgent (Polydor 184137), and
Don Rendell - Ian Carr: Live (Columbia SX 6316)

 Amancio D'Silva: Integration   Label: Columbia SCX 6322   12" LP 1969
 Design: Denis Preston  Photo: William Holden

 Joe Harriott - Amancio D'Silva: Hum Dono   Label: Columbia SCX 6249   12" LP 1969

 Bryony James: Feeling Good   Label: Mercury 20139 SMCL   12" LP 1969

 John Surman: Anglo-Sax   Label: Deram 18027   12" LP 1969
 Design: Alan Jackson   Drawing: Mike Westbrook

 Mike Westbrook: Marching Song, Vol. 1   Label: Deram SML 1047   12" LP 1969
 Drawing: David Desire

 Tony Oxley Quintet: The Baptisted Traveller   Label: CBS 52664   12" LP 1969

 Don Rendell - Ian Carr: Change Is   Label: EMI Columbia SX 6368   12" LP 1969

 Topography of the Lungs   Label: Incus 1   12" LP 1970
 Design: Alan Johnston and Avril Hodges

 Graham Collier: Songs for my Father   Label: Fontana 6309 006   12" LP 1970

 Neil Ardley: Greek Variations   Label: Columbia SXC6414   12" LP 1970

    LPs by Alan Skidmore from 1970: Once Upon A Time (Deram Nova DN 11)
and TCB (Philips 6308 041)  

    LPs by Bob Downes from 1970: Open Music (Philips SBL 7922)
and Electric City (Vertigo 6360 005)

 Mike Westbrook: Love Songs   Label: Deram 1069   12" LP 1970

 Henry Lowther: Child Song   Label: Deram SML 1070   12" LP 1970
 Photo: Richard Sacks

 John Surman: How many clouds can you see?   Label: Deram SML-R 1045   12" LP 1970

 Norma Winstone - Michael Garrick: The Heart is a Lotus   Label: Argo ZDA 135   12" LP 1970

 Spontaneous Music Ensemble: The Source   Label: Tangent 107   12" LP 1970

 Ric Colbeck: The Sun Is Coming Up   Label: Fontana 6383 001   12" LP 1970
 Design and Photo: Marcus Keef

    LP albums by American jazz stars recorded and issued in London around 1970:
Ben Webster (Philips 6308 101) and Maynard Ferguson (CBS 63514)

    LPs by Harry Beckett from 1970 and 1971: Flare Up (Philips 6308026)
and Warm Smiles (RCA Victor SF 8225)

 Derek Bailey: Solo   Label: Incus 2   12" LP 1971   Design: Chris Jeffrey

 Mike Osborne: Outback   Label: Turtle TUR 300   12" LP 1971

 Lol Coxhill: Ear of the Beholder   Label: Dandelion DSD 8008   12" LP 1971

 Keith Tippett: Dedicated To You   Label: Vertigo 636024   12" LP 1971

 The Trio (John Surman, Stu Martin, Barre Phillips): Conflagration   Label: Dawn DNLS 3022  
Issue: 12" LP 1971

 John Taylor: Pause and Think Again   Label: Turtle TUR 302   12" LP 1971

 Elton Dean   Label: CBS 64539   12" LP 1971

 Norma Winstone: Edge of Time   Label: Argo ZDA 148   12" LP 1971

 Tony Oxley: Ichnos   Label: RCA Victor SF 8215   12" LP 1971

 Howard Riley: Flight   Label: Turtle TUR 301   12" LP 1971

 Phil Seamen: Phil on Drums   Label: 77 Records 77SEU12-53   12" LP 1972
 Design: Tony Martin   Photo: Jan Persson

 Don Rendell: Space Walk   Label: EMI Columbia SCX 6491   12" LP 1972

    LPs from 1972: Michael Garrick´s Home Stretch Blues (Argo 2DA 154), and the anthology with British jazz from 1968-69 (Decca ECS 2114)

 Derek Bailey - Han Bennink   Label: Incus 9   12" LP 1972
 Design: MAL-DEAN

    LPs by Ian Carr from 1972 and 1973: Belladonna (Vertigo 6360 07),
and Labyrinth (Vertigo 6360 09)

 Don Rendell at the Avgarde Gallery   Label: Spotlite 501   12" LP 1973   Photo: J.C. Coles

 Dudu Pukwana: In the Townships   Label: Caroline C1504   12" LP 1973
 Photo and Design: George Hallett

 Anthony Braxton - Derek Bailey: Duo   Label: Emanem    12" LP 1974
 Photo: Valerie Wilmer

 Brotherhood of Breath: Live at Willisau   Label: Ogun OG 100   12" LP 1974
 Design: Niklaus Troxler

 Mike Osborne: Bordercrossing   Label: Ogun OG 300   12" LP 1974
 Design and photo: George Hallett

 Chris McGregor, Dudu Pukwana a.o.: Blue Notes for Mongezi   Label: Ogun OGD-001-002  
Issue: 12" LP 1975

 Derek Bailey - Evan Parker: The London Concert   Label: Incus 16   12" LP 1975

 Keith Tippett: Ovary Lodge   Label: Ogun OG600   12" LP 1976 6nbsp; Design: Liz Walton

 John Stevens: Chemistry   Label: Vinyl VS 102 (Germany)   12" LP 1977

 Chris McGregor: In His Good Time   Label: Ogun 521   12" LP 1977

 Evan Parker: Monceros   Label: Incus 27   12" LP 1978   Photo: Roberto Masotti

 Louis Moholo: Spirits Rejoice!   Label: Ogun OG 520   12" LP 1978
 Photo: Andreas Raggenbass

 Trevor Watts and Amalgam: Wipe Out   Label: Impetus 47901   4 LP Box 1979