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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


Strong identity labels
in German jazz

Record labels with strong identity has since the 1960s been significant on the German jazz scene. Labels such as MPS, FMP and ECM are all known for both their musical achievments and their unique graphic look.

Jazz took off in Germany, as elsewhere in Europe, after the World War II. Frankfurt was a hub of modern jazz in the 1950s and 1960s, and so were Munich, Stuttgart, Cologne and Berlin. In the early 1950s, the jazz scene was strongly influenced by American jazz but from mid 50s, West German jazz slowly began to find its own identity.

The quintet of pianist and composer Jutta Hipp played a central role in this development. Her group included Emil Mangelsdorff and Joki Freund, both composers and strong individuals. They, and some other German musicians, began to inject their own cultural influences into their improvisations.

    Jutta Hipp with the saxophonists
    Emil Mangelsdorff and Joki Freund

Other leading musicians on the 1950s German jazz scene were Albert Mangelsdorff (Emil´s younger brother), Hans Koller and Roland Kovac. Both Koller and Kovac were from Austria, but had been working in Germany since the early 1950s.

    Albert Mangelsdorff
    Photo: Karlheinz Klüter

In the 1960s Mangelsdorff moved into free jazz, and was foremost in the new German avant garde along with musicians such as Wolfgang Dauner, Alex von Schlippenbach, Manfred Schoof and Gunther Hampel.

    Young Peter Brötzmann
    Photo: Hans Harzheim

In the late 1960s a circle of freely improvising musicians was formed in Wuppertal and Berlin. A central figure was Peter Brötzmann who had roots in the avant garde Fluxus movement. He helped form FMP, which became the most important European record company for free jazz.


FMP (Free Music Production) was formed in 1969 by Brötzmann, Schlippenbach, Peter Kowald and Jost Gebers. Almost 200 LPs were issued into 1990, and a numbers of EPs.

Peter Brötzmann was primarily working as a visual artist in the first half of the 1960s. He has designed most of his own album covers, and his aesthetics gave the FMP label its unique graphic look for decades.


ECM was founded in Cologne, Germany in 1969 by Manfred Eicher. From beginning a jazz label, ECM has come to embody an approach to the meeting of also classical, contemporary and world music that is difficult to quite define. In all the label has issued more than 900 titles.

Manfred Eicher believs in cooperating with artists over long term, and many have remained loyal to ECM since the company´s early days. For example, the label has released over 60 titles by Keith Jarrett, while the Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek has made around 30 titles.

ECM is almost as famous for its cover art as it is for its great musical achievement. The design and photography have played a role in establishing the label´s identity. Ignoring design trends, they always have produced covers of enigmatic and austere beauty that perfectly matches the Northern European sound in the music.

Many of the ECM covers were designed by Barbara Wojrisch. She pioneered the austere modernist look that remains the label"s hallmark to this day.


MPS stands for "Music Produktion Schwarzwald" and was founded in 1968 as a successor of SABA in Villingen, Germany. Both labels were founded by Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer.

The SABA label produced about 40 jazz LPs between 1963 and 1968. Then MPS continued to issue almost 700 albums into the beginning of 1980s.


MPS ranks among the most important and influential labels in Europe. It is closely connected to its founder. He create a signature sound from one of the world´s most progressive audio studios, built and and developed in his own private home in that little town of Villingen in the German Black Forest.

Brunner-Schwer decided the label´s repertoire, but he did not produced all the records by himself. Joachim-Ernst Berendt produced a large number of records, especially live recordings and recordings in studios outside Villingen.

Berendt, and his wife Gigi, also contributed to the label´s visual look. Their interest in modern art led to that MPS frequently brought in artists to adorn the covers. Gigi Berendt also designed album covers herself. Over the years the label´s packaging exhibits a variety of innovative, striking and colourful pieces of contemporary arts and designs.


FMP online

FMP Records Listing
Peter Losin

SABA/MPS Records Listing

Groove is in their hearts (ECM)

 Hans Koller: Jazz Made in Germany   Label: Bertelsmann 36734   7" EP 1958


 Hans Koller - Jutta Hipp   Label: Brunswick 10014 EPB   7" EP 1954

 EP albums from 1954: Roland Kovac (Mod Records BMEP 06016), and
Jutta Hipp (Mod Records BMEP 06015)

 Hans Koller Quintet. EP-album recorded and issued in Stockholm 1954.
Label: Polydor EPH 10706

    EP albums from 1955: Hans Koller on "STARting 55" (Mod Records BMEP 06018), and
Jutta Hipp and Helmut Brandt on "Jazz Festival 1955" (Brunswick 10022 EFB)

 Joki Freund with Emil and Albert Mangelsdorff   Label: Brunswick 10804 EPB   7" EP 1958

    EPs from 1957 and 1958: Jazzing in Stuttgart by Horst Jankowski (Manhattan 66026),
and Hans Koller New Jazz Stars (Brunswick 10811)

    EPs late 1950s: Die Opa Horchleitner Story by Albert Mangelsdorff (Brunswick 10815 EPB),
and Jazztime Baden-Baden by Hans Koller (Bertelsmann 66015)

 H. Koller, A. Mangelsdorff, R. Kovac a.o.: Berlin Calling   Label: Bertelsmann 61161  
Issue: 12" LP 1959

 Jack Sels Sextett with Lucky Thompson and Fats Sadi: Bongo Jazz   Label: Bertelsmann 66126  
Issue: 7" EP 1959

 The European All Stars 1961   Label: Telefunken BLE 14206-P   12" LP 1961

 George Gruntz: Jazz Sound-Track "Mental Cruelty"   Label: Decca LF 1612   10" LP 1962

 Hans Koller: Jazz Workshop Concert 1962   Label: Columbia-Odeon 83342   12" LP 1962

 Elsie Bianchi Trio   Label: Atlantis Basel 6   10" LP 1962

    LPs from 1962 and 1963: Rolf Kühn featuring Klaus Doldinger (Brunswick 87911), and
Die Deutschen All Stars featuring Hans Koller, Albert Mangelsdorff et al. (Columbia 83418)

 Hans Koller: Exclusiv   Label: Saba 15024   12" LP 1963

 Karlhanns (Karl) Berger Quarted with Bent Jaedig   Label: Da Camera Da Ca JZ 7001  
Issue: 7" EP 1963

 Joki Freund: Yogi Jazz   Label: CBS 62273   12" LP 1963

 Albert Mangelsdorff: One Tension   Label: CBS 62336   12" LP 1963

 Klaus Doldinger: Jazz Made in Germany   Label: Philips P48024L   12" LP 1963

 Wolfgang Dauner Trio - Hans Koller Oktett: Jazz Studio   Label: Saba 15003  
Issue: 12" LP c.1963

 Hans Koller: Jazz Workshop Concert 1964   Label: Philips 840475 PY   12" LP 1964

 Miles Davis: Miles in Berlin   Label: CBS S62976   12" LP 1964

 Johnny Griffin: Night Lady   Label: Philips 840 447 PY   12" LP 1964

    LPs from 1964 and 1965: Now Jazz Ramwong by Albert Mangelsdorff (CBS 62398), and
George Russell featuring Don Cherry at Beethoven Hall, vol. 2 (Saba 15960)

    Black Christ by Mary Lou Williams (Saba 15062), and
Heartplants by Gunter Hampel (Saba 15026)   Both LPs from 1965

 Nathan Davis: Happy Girl   Label: Saba 15025   12" LP 1965

 Dieter Reith, Wolfgang Dauner, Elsie Bianchi, Ewald Heidepriem: Piano x 4  
Label: Saba 15035   12" LP 1965

 Attila Zoller, Hans Koller, Martial Solal   Label: Saba 15061   12" LP 1965

 Nathan Davis: The Hip Walk   Label: Saba 15063   12" LP 1965
 Design: Gigi Berendt   Photo: Jean-Pierre Leloir

 Elsie Bianchi: The Sweetest Sound   Label: Saba 15069   12" LP 1965

 Clarke-Boland Sextett: Swing im Bahnhof   Label: CBS S62681   12" LP 1965

 Jazz Workshop Ost-West with Rolf Kühn, Idrees Suliemann a.o.   Label: Columbia SMC 83875
Issue: 12" LP 1965

 Rolf and Joachim Kühn: Re-Union in Berlin   Label: CBS S62407   12" LP 1965

 Rolf Kühn: Solarius   Label: Amigas 850046   12" LP 1965

    George Gruntz: Jazz Goes Baroque, vol. 2 (Philips P48134L), and
Klaus Doldinger in Südamerika (Philips 843728 PY)   Both LPs from 1965

    LPs from 1965 and 1966: Friedrich Gulda (Saba 15097), and
Voices by Manfred Schoof Quintet (CBS S62621)

 George Duke: Jazz Workshop   Label: Saba 15074   12" LP 1966
 Design: William Hopkins

 Annie Ross and Pony Poindexter   Label: Saba 15082   12" LP 1966
 Design: Sepp Werkmeister

 Hans Koller: Relax with my Horns   Label: Saba 15088   12" LP 1966
 Design and Photo: Sepp Werkmeister

 Karl Drevo: Swing, Waltz, Swing   Label: Philips 840 246PY   12" LP 1966

 Fats Sadi: Ensadinado   Label: Saba 15111   12" LP 1966
 Design: Stephan Boeder   Photo: Gerd Preeser

 Peter Thomas, Klaus Doldinger, Ingfried Hoffman a.o.: Playgirl (Soundtrack)  
Label: Philips 843903 PY   12" LP 1966

    Klaus Weiss Trio: Greensleeves (Philips 843932 PY), and
Alexander Schlippenbach: Globe Unity / Sun (Saba 15109)   Both LPs from 1966

    LPs from 1966 and 1967: Jeff Gilson: New Call from France (Saba 15081), and
George Gruntz: Noon in Tunisia (Saba 15132)  

 Attila Zoller: Katz å Maus   Label: Saba 15112   12" LP 1967

 Barney Wilen a.o.: Jazz Meets India   Label: Saba 15142 (Germany)   12" LP 1967
 Design: Heinz Bähr

 Alber Mangelsdorff: Folk Mond å Flower Dream   Label: CBS S 63162   12" LP 1967

 Hampton Hawes: Hamp´s Piano   Label: Saba 15149   12" LP 1967

    Gustav Brom Big Band (Saba 15122), and Francy Boland Trio (Saba 15137)
Both LPs from 1967

    Jazz am Rhein with Clarke-Boland Sextett, T. Curson, D. Gojkovic a.o. (Columbia SMC 74 334), and Klaus Doldinger Goes On (Philips 843966 PY). Both LPs from 1967

 Dieter Reith: A Happy Afternoon   Label: Saba 15127   12" LP 1967

 Archie Shepp: Live at the Donaueschingen   Label: Saba 15148   12" LP 1967
 Photo: Joseph Werkmeister

 Dusko Goykovich: Swinging Macedonia   Label: Philips 843 942 PY   12" LP 1967

 Manfred Schoof Sextett   Label: Wergo WER 80003   12" LP 1967

 Mark Murphy: Midnight Mood   Label: Saba 15151   12" LP 1967
 Design: Heinz Bähr

 Clarke-Boland Sextett   Label: Columbia SMC 74324   12" LP 1967

 Clarke-Boland Big Band: Sax No End   Label: Saba 15138   12" LP 1967
 Design: Heinz Bähr

    LPs from 1968 with the Clarke-Boland Big Band: All Smiles (MPS 15214), and
Fellini 712 (MPS 15220). Photos by Sam Haskins

    LPs from 1968: Ben Webster meets Don Byas (Saba 15159) and,
Piano for Nuria by Tete Montoliu (Saba 15163)

 Benny Bailey - Nathan Davis: Soul Eyes   Label: Saba 15158 (Germany)   12" LP 1968
 Design: W. Todt   Photo: Joseph Werkmeister

 Peter Brötzmann: Machine Gun   Label: Brötzmann Record 2   12" LP 1968
 Design: Peter Brötzmann

 J. Griffin: Lady Heavy Bottom´s Waltz   Label: Vogue 17164 (Germany)   12" LP 1968
 Design: Heinz Bähr   Photo: Sam Haskins

 Sahib Shihab: Seeds   Label: German Vogue LVDS 17165   12" LP 1968

 Gitte Haenning with Clarke-Boland Big Band: My Kind of World   Label: Hör Zu SHZE 280  
Issue: 12" LP 1968

 Lee Konitz: ZoKoMa   Label: MPS 15170   12" LP 1968
 Design: Claus-Bend Kolbe   Photo: Heinz Finke

 Don Cherry: Eternal Rhythm   Label: MPS 15204   12" LP 1968   Design: Heinz Bähr

 Fred van Hove: Requim for Che Guevara   Label: MPS 15205   12" LP 1968
 Design: Heinz Bähr

 Roland Kovac   Label: Saba 15165   12" LP 1968

 Dave Pike: Noisy Silence - Gentle Noise   Label: MPS 15215   12" LP 1969
 Design: Heinz Bähr

 Jan Hammer: Malma Maliny   Label: MPS 15217   12" LP 1968

 Manfred Schoof: European Echoes   Label: FMP 0010 (Germany)   12" LP 1969
 Design: Wolfgang Walter   Photo: Johannes Muth

 Peter Brötzmann: Nipples   Label: Calig 30604   12" LP 1969
 Design: Peter Brötzmann

 Lucky Thompson: A Lucky Songbook in Europe   Label: Saba 15231   12" LP 1969
 Design: Heinz Bähr

 John Tchicai: Afrodisiaca   Label: MPS 15249   12" LP 1969   Design: Bernhard Weltz

 Mal Waldron: Free At Last   Label: ECM 1001   12" LP 1969   Design: Rufus Wedder

    LPs from 1969: Harpodelic by Jonny Teupen (MPS 15247), and
A Day in Copenhagen by Dexter Gordon (MPS 15230)

    LPs from 1969: Yancy Körössy´s Identification (MPS 15260), and
Ella Fitzgerald´s Sunshine of your Love (MPS 15250)

 Marion Brown in Sommerhausen   Label: Calig 30605   12" LP 1969

 Alexander von Schlippenbach: The Living Music   Label: Quasar HO1   12" LP 1969
 Design: Alexander von Schlippenbach 

 Sven-Åke Johansson, Norbert Eisbrenner, Werner Goetz: Moderne Nordeuropäische Dorfmusik   Label: Edition Mariental 3331   12" LP 1969

 Walter Strerath: Trio - Quartet - Quintet   Label: JG 03   12" LP 1969
 Design: Uwe Loesch and Jurgen Hillmer 

 Peter Brötzmann: Balls   Label: FMP 0020   12" LP 1970
 Design: Peter Brötzmann   Photo: Wolfgang Wilke

 Clarke-Boland Big Band: Off Limits   Label: Polydor 2310 147   12" LP 1970
 Design: Heinz Bähr

 Sahib Shihab: Companionship   Label: German Vogue LDVS 17243   12" LP 1970
 Design: Heinz Bähr

 The Music Improvisation Company   Label: ECM 1005   12" LP 1970
 Design: Barbara Wojirsch

 Wolfgang Dauner: Output   Label: ECM 1006   12" LP 1970   Design: F+R Grindler

 Various artists: Gittin´ To Know Y´All. From the Baden-Baden Free Jazz Meeting 1969  
Label: MPS 15269   12" LP 1970   Design: Wolfgang Baumann

 Wolfgang Dauner: Music Zounds   Label: MPS 15270   12" LP 1970
 Design: Peter Gross

    Born Free - triple album from German Jazz Festival 1970 (Scout Sc-s 11-14)
and Joachim Kuhn - Eje Thelin Group (German Metronome 2-40005). Both LPs from 1970.  

    LPs from 1970 and 1971: One Page by New Jazz Trio featuring Manfred Schoof (MPS 15276 - Design: Jörge Stever), and Actions by Don Cherry (Philips 6305 153)

    LPs from 1971 and 1972 by Sunbirds with Klaus Weiss: Sundbirds (BASF 20 21110-2),
and Zagara (Polydor-Finger 2396101)

    Afire by Niagara with Klaus Weiss (Finger 2960102), and
Atomic Drums by Charly Antolini (EMI Columbia C 062 29462)   Both LPs from 1972

 Sven-Åke Johansson: Schlingerland   Label: FMP SAJ-01   12" LP 1972
 Photo: Norbert Eisbrenner

 Eje Thelin, Jouck Minor, Pierre Favre: Candles of Vision   Label: Calig 30609  
12" LP 1972    Design: F. Schwab

 Peter Trunk: Sincerely P.T.   Label: Spiegele-Aamok 25578-3 U   12" LP 1973

 Peter Brötzmann   Label: FMP 0130   12" LP 1973   Design: Peter Brötzmann

 John Taylor: Decipher   Label: MPS BASF 21 21290-4   12" LP 1973

 Various artists: Free Improvisation   Label: Deutsche Grammophon 2563 298-300  
Issue: 3 LP Box 1974

 Misha Mengelberg - Han Bennink: EinepartieTischtennis   Label: FMP SAJ-03 / ICP 014   12" LP 1974
 Photo: Peter Brotzmann

 Alex Schlippenbach: Three Nails Left   Label: FMP 0210   12" LP 1975
 Photo: Nick Leidner

 Globe Unity Special: Evidence, vol. 1   Label: FMP 0220   12" LP 1975

 Walter Strerath Trio: Fly to Brazil   Label: Fly Record 0751   12" LP 1975
 Design: Heinz Bähr

 Klaus Weiss: The Git Go   Label: MPS BASF 20 22406-6   12" LP 1975

 Peter Peter Herboltzheimer: Live im Onkel Pö   Label: Polydor 2371 564   12" LP 1975

 Peter Brötzmann - Han Bennink   Label: FMP 0420   12" LP 1977   Design: Peter Brötzmann

 Paul Lytton: The Inclined Stick   Label: FMP 0420   12" LP 1979  
Design: Paul Lytton & Paul Lovens   Photo: Ellen Walter