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The Birka Jazz Archive
Records we have bought and sold over the years - the rare and the beautiful!

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Scroll down and use the links to browse our comprehensive Archive of rare jazz album covers

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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


Atlantic Records

Heavy jazz,
bold and striking albums

ATLANTIC was founded in 1947 by Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson. From the beginning a r&b label, issueing only some few jazz recordings. But in 1955 Ahmet´s brother Nesuhi Ertegun joined the company and built up an important jazz catalogue.

Atlantic´s first jazz album covers in the second half of 1950s were made by a variety of fine designers, including Burt Goldblatt and Robert Guidi. Often with delicious black and white photos by William Claxton, Hugh Bell and others, and an artful designs.

But in the last years of the decade, when Marvin Israel took over as art director, Atlantic began to assert a more coherant design policy: more powerful, more colours, bold typefaces, striking abstracts or strong photograph portraitures by Lee Friedlander and others.

Atlantic had several sub-labels, among them Atco, Cotillion and East-West. Clarion was a budget label. The company also had distribution relationship with several labels, such as Stax, Vortex and Volt.

In the 1960s Atlantic moved gradually back into the r&b and soul jazz field. The label was sold to Warner Brothers in 1967.


MARVIN ISRAEL and his designer collegue LORING EUTEMY created the new look of Atlantic in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The abiding impression of Atlantic album covers of this period is their restrained elegance and deceptive simplicity. The covers were heavily laminated, often with high quality photographical portraits of the artists. The typyfaces were bold and colourful.

The designer´s desire was to employ graphic design in a way that elevate the status of jazz and r&b artists, to give those mostly black artists a graphic package that had dignity and gravitas. At the same time the covers should be in full view in the record shops and be immediately recognizable as an hot Atlantic LP.

Marvin Israel moved on from Atlantic in 1963, Loring Eutemey continued to work with the company until the mid 1970s.

LEE FRIEDLANDER took many of the photographs on the Atlantic covers in the late 1950s and the 1960s. He was born in Washington 1934 and moved to New York in 1956.

As a house photographer his picture style became an important part of that special Atlantic feeling. His brilliant portraits appealed to every jazz fans mind. They were wonderfully detailed and warmly empathetic.

Lee Friedlander worked with Atlantic into 1970s. Today he is widely regarded as one of America´s most accomplished photographic artists.

   Ahmed and Nesuhi Ertegun


Atlantic Discography

Ahmet Ertegun

Lee Friedlander
Fraenkel Gallery

 Lee Konitz with Warne Marsh   Label: Atlantic 1217   12" LP 1955
 Photo: William Claxton

Atlantic Records

 Don Byas: Tenor Saxophone Solos   Label: Atlantic 117   10" LP 1952
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Dizzy Gillespie, vol. 1   Label: Atlantic 138   10" LP 1953
 Design: Marshall Barer   Photo: William Gottlieb

 Joe Turner   Label: Atlantic EP 536   7" EP 1953

 Shorty Rogers: The Swinging Mr. Rogers   Label: Atlantic 1212   12" LP 1955
 Photo: William Claxton

 Paul Barbarin and his New Orleans Jazz   Label: Atlantic 1215   12" LP 1955
 Design: Lamarine Le Goullon   Photo: Arthur Kramer

 Tony Fruscella   Label: Atlantic 1220   12" LP 1955   Photo: Hugh Bell  

 Lennie Tristano   Label: Atlantic 1224   12" LP 1955
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Teddy Charles Tentet   Label: Atlantic 1229   12" LP 1956
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Wilbur DeParis: Marchin´   Label: Atlantic 1233   12" LP 1956
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Joe Turner sings Kansas City Jazz   Label: Atlantic 1234   12" LP 1956
 Design: Marvin Israel

 Phineas Newborn: Here is Phineas   Label: Atlantic 1235   12" LP 1956
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Charles Mingus: Pithecanthropus Erectus   Label: Atlantic 1237   12" LP 1956
 Design and illustration: Julio de Diego

 The Jimmy Giuffre Clarinet   Label: Atlantic 1238   12" LP 1956
 Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: Lee Friedlander

 Chris Connor: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not   Label: Atlantic 1240   12" LP 1956
 Photo: Jay Maisel

 Sylvia Syms Sings   Label: Atlantic 1243   12" LP 1956
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Modern Jazz Quartet at Music Inn   Label: Atlantic 1247   12" LP 1956
 Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: Jay Maisel

 The Jimmy Giuffre 3   Label: Atlantic 1254   12" LP 1957
 Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: William Claxton

 Lee Konitz: Inside Hi-Fi   Label: Atlantic 1258   12" LP 1957
 Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: Lee Friedlander

 Charles Mingus: The Clown   Label: Atlantic 1260   12" LP 1957
 Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: Pickow-Three Lions

 Wilbur DeParis - Jimmy Witherspoon: New Orleans Blues   Label: Atlantic 1266  
12" LP 1957  Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: Lee Friedlander

 Milt Jackson: Plenty, Plenty Soul   Label: Atlantic 1269   12" LP 1957
 Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: Jay Maisel

 The John Lewis Piano   Label: Atlantic 1272   12" LP 1957
 Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: Lee Friedlander

 Milt Jackson - Ray Charles: Soul Brothers   Label: Atlantic 1279   12" LP 1957
 Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: Lee Friedlander

 Ray Charles Sings   Label: Atlantic 8006   12" LP 1958 (Denmark)
 Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: Lee Friedlander

 La Vern Baker sings Bessie Smith   Label: Atlantic 1281   12" LP 1958
 Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: Tom Palumbo

 Warne Marsh   Label: Atlantic 1291   12" LP 1958
 Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: Lee Friedlander

 Jimmy Giuffre: Four Brothers Sound   Label: Atlantic 1295   12" LP 1959
 Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: Lee Friedlander

 Charles Mingus: Blues & Roots   Label: Atlantic 1305   12" LP 1959
 Photo: Lee Friedlander

 Ray Charles: What'd I Say   Label: Atlantic 8029   12" LP 1959
 Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: Lee Friedlander

 John Coltrane: Giant Steps   Label: Atlantic 1311   12" LP 1960
 Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: Lee Friedlander

 Dick Katz: Piano & Pen   Label: Atlantic 1314   12" LP 1960
 Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: Lee Friedlander

 Ornette Coleman: The Shape of Jazz To Come   Label: Atlantic 1317   12" LP 1960
 Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: William Claxton

 Ornette Coleman: This Is Our Music   Label: Atlantic 1353   12" LP 1960
 Design: Loring Eutemey   Photo: Lee Friedlander

 John Coltrane: Coltrane Jazz   Label: Atlantic 1354   12" LP 1960
 Design: Loring Eutemey   Photo: Lee Friedlander

 The New Tristano   Label: Atlantic 1357   12" LP 1960
 Design: Loring Eutemey   Photo: Lee Friedlander

 John Coltrane: My Favorite Things   Label: Atlantic 1361   12" LP 1961
 Design: Loring Eutemey   Photo: Lee Friedlander

 Ornette Coleman: Free Jazz   Label: Atlantic 1364   12" LP 1961
 Design: Loring Eutemey   Painting: Jackson Pollock

 Milt Jackson/John Coltrane: Bags and Trane   Label: Atlantic 1368   12" LP 1961
 Design: Loring Eutemey   Photo: Lee Friedlander

 John Coltrane: Ole   Label: Atlantic 1373   12" LP 1961
 Design: Jagel-Slutzky

 Charles Mingus: Oh Yeah   Label: Atlantic 1377   12" LP 1961
 Design: Loring Eutemey

 Modern Jazz Quartet: Lonely Woman   Label: Atlantic 1381   12" LP 1961
 Design: Loring Eutemey   Photo: Richard Heimann

 John Coltrane: Coltrane Plays the Blues   Label: Atlantic 1382   12" LP 1962
 Design: Marty Norman/Bob Slutzky

 John Coltrane: Coltrane's Sound   Label: Atlantic 1419   12" LP 1964
 Design: Marvin Israel

 Max Roach trio featuring the legendary Hasaan   Label: Atlantic 1435   12" LP 1965
 Design: Marvin Israel   Photo: Laurence Fink

 John Coltrane/Don Cherry: The Avant-Garde   Label: Atlantic 1451   12" LP 1966
 Design: Loring Eutemey

 Roland Kirk: Here Comes The Whistleman   Label: Atlantic SD 3007   12" LP 1967
 Design: McCann / Fuentes

 Roland Kirk: The Inflated Tear   Label: Atlantic 1502   12" LP 1968
 Design: Stanislaw Zagorski   Photo: Lee Friedlander

 Roland Kirk: Left & Right   Label: Atlantic 1518   12" LP 1969
 Design: Stanislaw Zagorski   Photo: Lee Tanner

 Roland Kirk: Natural Black Inventions: Root Strata   Label: Atlantic 1578   12" LP 1971
 Design: Loring Eutemey   Painting: Price Givens

 Joe Zawinul   Label: Atlantic 1579   12" LP 1971
 Design and photo: Ed Freeman

 Roland Kirk: Blacknuss   Label: Atlantic 1601   12" LP 1972
 Design: Haig Adishian   Photo: Ray Ross

 Yusef Lateef: The Gentle Giant   Label: Atlantic 1602   12" LP 1972
 Design: Ira Friedlander   Photo: Giuseppe Pino

 Don Cherry: Hear & Now   Label: Atlantic 18217   12" LP 1977
 Design: Lynn Breslin

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