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   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

Classic 10" LP mid 1950s called Jazz from Holland


From Diamonds
to ICP
in Dutch jazz

The first Dutch modern jazz recordings were released in the mid 1950s. A 10" LP was called "Jazz from Holland", and "Jazz behind the dikes" was a series of three LPs 1955-1957.

        Rob Madna trio with Dick Bezemar
    and Wessel Ilcken, featured on Jazz     behind the dikes

Among the featured groups on these albums were The Diamonds, later called the Five Diamonds or The Diamond Five. It was an excellent hardbop unit, including musicians such as Harry Verbeke, Cees Narrow and Cees Slinger.

Also featured were Rita Reys and Wessel Ilcken. Ilcken was the first truly modern drummer in Holland, and a central personality in Dutch jazz. He married the singer Rita Reys in the 1940s and they played together in Wessel´s combos until his death by a water skiing accident in 1957.

    Wessel Ilcken Combo with Rita Reys
    Photo: Wouter van Gool

Europe's First Lady of Jazz

Rita Reys was called "Europe´s First Lady of Jazz". After the death of Wessel, she married pianist Pim Jacobs in 1960, and built her fame with concerts and recordings throughout Europe.

    Eric Dolphy´s last date in Hilversum

In 1964 the pianist Misha Mengelberg and drummer Han Bennink played with Eric Dolphy in a concert in Hilversum that was released as the LP album Last Date.

The birth of ICP

A couple of years later the two Dutch musicians met saxophonist Willem Breuker, and in 1967 this trio started the label and group concept ICP, Instant Composers Pool.

    Breuker, Mengelberg, Altena, Bennink
    Photo: Pieter Boersma

ICP became an important part of the Dutch jazz life, and an institution in the European avant garde jazz.

The orchestra was an umbrella for a wide variety of line-ups during its first decade of existence. Routing members were Dutch musicians such as Maarten Altena, Willem van Manen, Leo Cuypers and European free jazz pioneers like Evan Parker, Peter Brötzmann, Dave Bailey and many others.


By 1973 a split came, and musicans went with one or the other, resulting in Willem Breuker´s Kollektief, while Mengelberg continued with the name IPC. The duo Mengelberg/Bennink continued to play together for many years.

    Willem Breuker Kollektief
    Photo: Pieter Boersma


In 1974 Willem Breuker founded his own record company, BVHAAST. The label released Breuker´s own records, and also other improvised music as well as classical contemporary music by Dutch composers.

    Hans Dulfer

One of the best known Dutch jazz musicians is the saxophonist Hans Dulfer. He started with bop and free jazz in the 1960s and won in 1969 the Wessel Ilcken price, the most important jazz price in The Netherlands. Since the 1970s he has been involved in a variety of fusion, funk and dance music, in which he has been very successful.


PHILIPS RECORDS was established in 1950 by the Dutch electronic company. During the 1950s it served to distribute US recordings by Columbia, but also made own recordings in The Netherlands and in other European countries.

In 1961, when Columbia formed its own international operations, Philips purchased Mercury Records and also merged with Deutsche Grammophon, which hold the Polydor label.

In 1950s Philips started Fontana Records as a subsidiary label, which also formed divisions in USA and England.


In mid 1960s the British producer Alan Bates initiated a series of avant garde jazz releases for the Fontana, now highly prized by collectors. Not only for the music, but for their unique covers. The series had both Dutch and UK imprints.

The covers were made by the Dutch artist Marte Röling. They are beautiful pop arts of its time, with their fanciful rendations of the artists´ heads and minds.

The sessions origins are varied. Most of them are live concerts, some taken from the artists´ own tapes. 15 albums were issued.


Main source:
Nederlands Jazz Archief


Nederlands Jazz Archief

Instant Composers Pool

Fontana Marte Rölings Series
Clifford Allen

 The Cool Voice of Rita Reys   Label: Philips B 08006 L   12" LP 1956


    Classic collections of modern Dutch jazz from mid 1950s: Jazz behind the dikes
Vol. 1 (10" LP - Philips P 10078), and vol. 3 (12" LP - Philips P 08004 L)

    The Rob Madna Trio (EP 1955 - Philips 422 053 PE), and
Salute to the Flute by Herbie Mann with Wessel Ilcken Combo (LP 1956 - Philips B 08007 L)

    EPs from 1957: Wessel Ilcken and his Combo (Philips 422167 PE),
and The Travelling Mr. Bob Cooper (HMV 7EGH 125)

    EPs from 1957: The Kees Kuyt Combo (Fontana 463110TE),
and The Rainbow Quartet (Fontana 166007TH)

    EPs from 1957 and 1959: Frans Elsen Quartet (Philips 422147 PE),
and Rhythme All Stars 1958-1959 (Columbia SEGH 58)

 The Cool Voice of Rita Reys, No. 2   Label: Philips P 08010 L   12" LP 1957

 Miles Davis   Label: Philips B07198L   12" LP 1957
Unique Dutch cover   Photo: Marvin Koner (?)

 The Diamonds   Label: Omega 145 PE   7" EP 1959

    EPs from 1959 and 1960: Sea-Side Quartet: Joy! (Columbia SEGH60),
and Roelof Stalknecht Trio (CNR UH9459)

 Rita Reys: Marriage in Modern Jazz   Label: Philips P 08052 L   12" LP 1960    

 Rita Reys: Jazz Pictures at an Exhibition   Label: Philips P 08062 L   12" LP 1961  
Photo: Hans Katan

 Louis van Dijk: Loosdrecht Jazz Concours   Label: Philips 433072 PE   7" EP 1961

 The Diamond Five: Poll Winners Jazz   Label: Fontana 463.233TE   7" EP 1961

 Rita Reys at the Golden Circle, Stockholm   Label: Philips P 84033 L   12" LP early 1960s

 Trio Hans van Leuween   Label: Philips 433169 PE   7" EP 1962

 Don Byas: Blues by Byas   Label: Philips 433.183PE   7" EP 1962

 Jan Huydts: Trio Conception   Label: Philips 840465 PY   12" LP 1963

    EPs from 1963 and 1964: The Diamond Five: Ermi Musical (Tevera 16890F),
and Loosdrecht Jazz Concours 1964 (Philips 433271PE)

 The Diamond Five: Brilliant!   Label: Fontana 650 520 TL   12" LP 1964

 Pim Jacobs: School Concert   Label: Philips 433298 PE   12" LP 1965

 Ann Burton    Label: Decca BU70017   7" EP 1965

 Dollar Brand: Anatomy of a South African Village   Label: Fontana 888 314 ZY  
12" LP mid 1960s   Design and illustration: Marte Röling

 Carla Bley: Jazz Realities   Label: Fontana 881 010 ZY   12" LP mid 1960s
 Design and illustration: Marte Röling

 Jazz Composer's Orchestra: Communication   Label: Fontana 881 011 ZY   12" LP mid 1960s
 Design and illustration: Marte Röling

 New York Contemporary Five: Consequences   Label: Fontana 881 013 ZY  
12" LP mid 1960s   Design and illustration: Marte Röling

 Paul Bley: Touching   Label: Fontana 888 608 ZY   12" LP c.1965
 Design and illustration: Marte Röling

 A. Shepp - J. Tchicai: Rufus   Label: Fontana 881 014 ZY   12" LP c.1965
 Design and illustration: Marte Röling

 Cecil Taylor: Nefertiti   Label: Fontana 888 609 ZY   12" LP c.1965
 Design and illustration: Marte Röling

 Bud Powell: Hot House   Label: Fontana 883 903   12" LP 1965
 Photo: Don Bronstein

 Eric Dolphy: Last Date   Label: Fontana 681 008 ZL   12" LP 1965
 Photos: Rolf Amber and Henrik Visser

    To the left the Misha Mengelberg LP from Newport 1966 (Artone MOS S-3196),
to the right the first Mengbelberg LP with Instant Composers Pool in 1968 (IPC 002).
Cover design by Misha Mengelberg

The very first LP from Instant Composers Pool was issued by Han Bennink and Willem Breuker in 1966. It was called New Acoustic Swing Duo (ICP 001). The silkscreened cover is designed by
Han Bennink.

Ann Burton with Louis van Dyke trio: Blue Burton Label: Arton 3063   12" LP 1967
Design: John J. Vis   Photo: Carel de Vogel

Pierre Courbois: Free Music Quartet   Label: Ketchup No. 3   7" EP 1969

 Ferdinand Povel: Calling Joanna   Label: Cat - EP2   7" EP 1969

 J.R. Monterose in Amsterdam Paradiso   Label: HSM 1502   12" LP 1969
 Design and photo: Pieter Boersma

 Dexter Gordon at Amsterdam Paradiso   Label: Catfish 5C18824   12" LP 1969
 Design: Jan Fijnheer   Photo: Pieter Boersma

 Ben Webster: Blow Ben, Blow!   Label: Catfish 5C054.24159   12" LP 1969

Instant Composers Pool: Han Bennink and Derek Bailey   Label: ICP 004   12" LP 1969
Han Bennink had many funny ideas as designer. On this handmade cover he has torn off a piece of paper, added drops of blood, and then dressed the wound with a real plaster

Dave Pike Set: Got The Feeling   Label: Relax 30.577   12" LP 1969

Instant Composers Pool: Groupcomposing   Label: ICP 006   12" LP 1970
 Design: Han Bennink 

Instant Composers Pool: "The Chocolate Box" (IPC 07-08)  
The picture shows front and back on this round 2 LP box from 1970 with various ICP groups

 Hans Dufler: Candy Clouds   Label: Catfish 5C054-24307   12" LP 1970

 Hans Dufler with Jan Akkerman   Label: Catfish 5C054-24181   12" LP 1970

 J.R. Monterose: Body and Soul   Label: Munich 6803 635   12" LP 1970

 B.J. Ward: Vocal Ease   Label: Catfish 5C062-24323   12" LP 1970

Instant Composers Pool: Duo Misha Mengelberg / Han Bennink   Label: ICP 010   12" LP 1971
Design: Tomas Schmit

    Rob Agerbeek Quintet: Home Run (Polydor 2441040 - LP 1972), and
Rob Madna Trio: I got it bad and that ain't good (Omega OM 555.058 - LP 1976)

Willem Breuker - Leo Cuypers: Live in Shaffy   Label: BVHAAST 005   12" LP 1974
The odd triangle cover is designed by Ger van Elk

ICP 10-tet: Tetterett   Label: ICP 020   12" LP 1977 &nsp; Design: Han Bennink

Dudu Pukwana: YiYole   Label: ICP 021   12" LP 1978

Trio Pim Jacobs: Come Fly With Me   Label: Philips 6423 529   12" LP 1982