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Jazz Labels

What is this page?

A compendium containing informations about Jazz Labels.

What is its purpose?

Help moderators (who do work documenting labels and catalogs informations) to quickly find:

  • labels names and possibly official web site and/or discographic work site about it
  • labels periods of activity and relevant historical facts
  • labels catalog number schemes
  • labels relations with other labels
  • labels fusion / buy out

Ultimate Goal

Ultimately, I'm dreaming that label / catalog# become database entries (which is apparently scheduled), and that labels become entities (like artists) on which we could have both advanced relationships and annotation.

Meanwhile, this page wants to partly serve this purpose and be a time saver for these moderators who need it.

Introductory Note

Jazz golden era is probably 45-70.

The 70s period ressort mainly to Free-Jazz (the kind of stuff only a few crazes like dmppanda listen to), while the pre 40s period, although very interesting, lacks recorded material (most of what's available being reissued in anthologies by specialized labels).

There's of course a modern jazz, both by (quite old now) veterans, and by talented newcomers, but you better ask Yllona for that.

During a period (until 1990), labels buying other labels tend to simply reissue the bought catalogs under their own name (Fantasy reissues used the name Original Jazz Classics).

Recently though, now that all is left is 3 or 4 conglomerates which gobbled everything, such holdings tend to reissue stuff under the original label name, or even produce new stuff under that name, which of course are not to be confused with the "historical" labels/periods.

Quick Find Me

This section mention labels names, country of origin, historical period of activity, off-sites links, and mentions bootleg.

Major Labels

Label Name/Site Country Active Period Sold to Discographic ressources Subsidiaries Comment
Atlantic (wp) USA 1947-? Warner Music Group BothSides JD.com Spark Records (1955), Lava Records, 143 Records, Stax Records, Interscope in the 90s
Atco Records (wp) USA 1955-1991 Was a branch of Atlantic BothSides Atlantic rock label
Black Lion
Blue Note (wp) USA 1939-? Liberty Records (1965) Plosin JD.org
Capitol (wp) USA 1942-? EMI (1955) Made a career out of messing records
Columbia (wp) USA 1888-? Sony (1988) BothSides
Contemporary (wp) USA 1951-1984 Fantasy (1984) JD.com
EmArcy (wp) USA 1954-1962 Verve Music Group JD.com JD.org Replaced by Limelight, then revived 80s
ESP (wp) USA 1966-? JD.com Shut Dormant and/or "distributed" by dubious european thingies (Axaras, GetBack!), the label came back to life in 2005
Dial (wp) USA 1946- ??? JD.com JD.org Not to be confused with other Dial companies
Enja DE 1971 Stuff JD.com
Fantasy (wp) USA 1949- Concord Debut Records, Good Time, Prestige (1971), Riverside, Milestone (1972), Stax Records (1977), Contemporary (1984), Specialty Records (1991), Pablo (1987), Takoma Records, Kicking Mule Records (1995) Gobbled a good number of jazz label, which were cd reissued in the 80s90s under the collection/label name Original Jazz Classics (apparently on mondays during 85-95)
Impulse! (wp) USA 1960-late 70s Verve Music Group JD.com Now a reissue label. Has been shortly revived for new stuff though.
Liberty Records (wp) USA 1955-? EMI (?) Pacific Jazz (1957), Blue Note (1965) A complicated history also...
Limelight wp USA is a Mercury subsidiary JD.com
Milestone (wp) USA 1966-1972 Fantasy Reissued stuff from Gennett Records
Mercury (wp) USA (UK now) 1945- Verve Group JD.org Blue Rock Records, Cumberland Records, EmArcy Records, Fontana Records, Limelight Records, Philips Records, Smash Records and Wing Records
Original Jazz Classics (wp) USA 1983- Is a sub/collection of Fantasy
Verve (historical)


Modern Holdings

Label Name Subsidiary of Website Contain
Concord Music Group
Verve Music Group

Warner Music Group

Reddition only Labels

32 Jazz
Mobile Fidelity

Other Labels

Label Name/Site Country Existence Sold to Discographic ressources Subsidiaries Comment
Brunswick Records (wp) USA 1916-1940 Warner (1930) American Record Corporation (1931) Decca Records (1932) ... Vocalion Records (1924) Totally crazy history - may now belong to Universal - was revived in 44 for re-release, and in 50s as a brand label
Decca Records (wp) UK 1929-1980 Polygram (1980) Brunswick Records, Gennet Records Totally declined in the 70s. Distributed RCA 1957-1971, and Atlantic until 1966
Gennet Records (wp) USA 1917-1934 Decca Records (1935) Oldies from the 20s
Vocalion Records (wp) USA/UK 1916-1940 Brunswick Records (1925) Revived in the 50s as a budget label, and in 1997 as a reissue label (material from Decca and EMI). Alternate site

Bootlegs (or doubtful) Labels

Lonehill Jazz
Cool 'N Blue

Detailed Data

This section should be as detailed as possible, for each label. Possibly one table per label, the names from previous section serving as a TOC.


Producers Engineers
Nesuhi Ertegun Tom Dowd

Charles Mingus John Coltrane Ornette Coleman

Milestone: Sonny Rollins McCoy Tyner