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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, experimental, deluxe

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

         Clef label with trumpeter logo


The photo-
graphic covers

The album covers on the Norman Granz labels are most remembered for the illustrations of David Stone Martin. But Granz also had an eye for photography, and a great deal of the covers are memorable for their fine images of photographers like Herman Leonard, Phil Stern and others.

These covers are shown on this page, while the covers of David Stone Martin can be found at the previous page.

NORMAN GRANZ was a legendary producer who played a major role in the history of jazz. He instituted the famous Jazz At The Philharmonic concerts, launched and ran four record labels and managed the careers of two of the greatest in jazz - Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson.

Norman Granz established his first record label CLEF in Los Angeles 1946, and lanuched a second label, NORGRAN, in 1953. Then Norman Granz combined the two labels into VERVE in 1956.

Clef issued almost a hundred jazz 10" LPs in the first half of the 1950s. Many of them were also issued on the Mercury label. Clef continued to issue about 165 LPs in the 12" format, some were reiusses of the 10".

         Norgran label with trumpeter logo

Norgran issued about 30 LPs in the 10" format and about 100 in the 12" format, and Verve finally issued more than 700 LPs into the early 1970s.

Norman Grantz sold Verve to MGM in 1961. The label continued to produce jazz during the 1960s and early 1970s. Norman Granz returned to the record business in 1973 when he launched Pablo Records. He died in 2001.

         Verve label with trumpeter logo

HERMAN LEONARD is one of the great photographer in jazz. He had his studio in Greenwich Village in New York and later in Paris. His photographs are on numerous LP albums, especially on the Norman Grantz labels, the EmArcy label and the French label Barclay.

PHIL STERN was born in New York 1919. After a two-year stint as a combat photographer in World War II, covering the invasions of North Africa and Sicily, he moved to Los Angeles and began to cover Hollywood films and celebrities for magazines such as Life, Look and Colliers.

The 1950s began to see a surge of interest in the private lives of movie stars. His ability to capture people being themselves make him great as photographer. During this time, he also shot jazz album covers for the Norman Granz labels. Those pictures are among the best from the 1950s jazz scene.

   Herman Leonard, photo
    Herman Leonard in the 1940s

   Norman Granz, photo
    Norman Granz in 1947

See also

David Stone Martin
on the Norman Granz labels


Verve Discography

Interview with NORMAN GRANZ

official website

Count Basie and Lester Young This picture of Lester Young and Count Basie is one of another 30 great b/w photos that are included in the beautiful 78 rpm album (six records) that Norman Granz produced and issued in 1949. It was distributed by Mercury and entitled The Jazz Scene. The album is spiral bound
into a portfolio book, and the cover is plain black. So this photo will better tell about it.
The photographer is Gjon Mili.

Clef,  Norgran  &  Verve

Stan Getz, Clef 143  The Artistry of Stan Getz   Label: Clef 143   10" LP 1953   Photo: Phil Stern

Flip Phillips, Clef 158  Flip Phillips: Jumping Moods   Label: Clef 158   10" LP 1954

Johnny Hodges, Norgran 1  Swing with Johnny Hodges   Label: Norgran 1   10" LP 1954

Charlie Ventura, Norgran 8  Charlie Ventura Quartet   Label: Norgran 8   10" LP 1954

Benny Carter, Norgran 10  Benny Carter: The Urbane Mr. Carter   Label: Norgran 10   10" LP 1954

Don Byas, Norgran 12  Don Byas et ses rythmes   Label: Norgran 12   10" LP 1954

Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz, Norgran 18  Dizzy Gillespie - Stan Getz Sextet, vol. 2   Label: Norgran 18   10" LP 1954

Charlie Ventura, Norgran 20  An Evening with Ch. Ventura & Mary Ann McCall   Label: Norgran 20   10" LP 1954

Benny Carter, Norgran 21  The Formidable Benny Carter   Label: Norgran 21   10" LP 1954   Photo: Phil Stern

George Wallington trio, Norgran 24  The Workshop of George Wallington Trio   Label: Norgran 24   10" LP 1954

Stan Getz, Norgran 1000  Stan Getz: Interpretations, vol. 1   Label: Norgran 1000   12" LP 1954

Kenny Drew, Norgran 1002  The Modernity of Kenny Drew   Label: Norgran 1002   12" LP 1954

Johnny Hodges, Norgran 1004  Johnny Hodges: Memories of Ellington   Label: Norgran 1004   12" LP 1954

Stan Getz, Norgran 1008  Stan Getz: Interpretations, vol. 2   Label: Norgran 1008   12" LP 1954

Johnny Hodges, Norgran 1009  More of Johnny Hodges   Label: Norgran 1009   12" LP 1954

George Wallington, Norgran 1010  George Wallington with Strings   Label: Norgran 1010   12" LP 1954

Louis Bellson and Zoot Sims  Louis Bellson Quintet with Zoot Sims   Label: Norgran 1011   12" LP 1954

Illinois Jacquet, Clef 622  Illinois Jacquet: Jazz Moods   Label: Clef 622   12" LP 1954

Lionel Hampton, Clef 628  Lionel Hampton Quintet   Label: Clef 628   12" LP 1954

Count Basie Jazz, Clef 633  Count Basie: Basie Jazz   Label: Clef 633   12" LP 1954   Photo: Phil Stern

Flip Phillips, Clef 637  The Flip Phillips Quintet   Label: Clef 637   12" LP 1954

Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie, Clef 641  Roy Eldridge - Dizzy Gillespie: Roy and Diz, vol.1   Label: Clef 641   12" LP 1954
 Photo: Phil Stern

Gene Krupa - Lionel Hampton - Teddy Wilson, Clef 681  Gene Krupa - Lionel Hampton - Teddy Wilson   Label: Clef 681    12" LP 1955
 Photo: Phil Stern

Roy Eldridge, Clef 683  Roy Eldridge: Little Jazz   Label: Clef 683   12" LP 1955

Tal Farlow, Norgran 1014  The Artistry of Tal Farlow   Label: Norgran 1014   12" LP 1955

Bud Powell, Norgran 1017  Bud Powell: Jazz Original   Label: Norgran 1017   12" LP 1955   Photo: Herman Leonard

Johnny Hodges, Norgran 1048  Johnny Hodges: Castle Rock   Label: Norgran 1048   12" LP 1955

Johnny Hodges, Norgran 1056  Johnny Hodges: Ellingtonia 56   Label: Norgran 1055   12" LP 1956   Photo: Herman Leonard

Lester Young, Norgran 1071  Lester Young: Lester's Here   Label: Norgran 1071   12" LP 1956   Photo: Herman Leonard

Lionel Hampton, Norgran 1080  Lionel Hampton and his Giants   Label: Norgran 1080   12" LP 1956   Photo: Phil Stern

Buddy Rich, Norgran 1086  Buddy Rich: This One´s for Basie   Label: Norgran 1086   12" LP 1956   Photo: Phil Stern

Stan Getz, Norgran 1088  Stan Getz: More West Coast Jazz   Label: Norgran 1088   12" LP 1956
 Photo: Herman Leonard

Billie Holiday, Clef 690  Billie Holiday: Solitude   Label: Clef 690   12" LP 1956   Photo: Alex de Pau

Oscar Peterson, Clef 694  Recital by Oscar Peterson   Label: Clef 694   12" LP 1956   Photo: Herman Leonard

Roy Eldridge, Clef 705  Roy Eldridge: Dale´s Wail   Label: Clef 705   12" LP 1956&nsp;  Photo: Herman Leonard

Billie Holiday, Clef 713  Billie Holiday: Velvet Mood   Label: Clef 713   12" LP 1956   Photo: Alex de Paula

Harry Edison, Clef 717  Harry Edison: Sweets   Label: Clef 717   12" LP 1956   Photo: Herman Leonard

Billie Holiday, Clef 721  Billie Holiday: Lady Sings the Blues   Label: Clef 721   12" LP 1956   Photo: Herman Leonard

Lionel Hampton, Clef 727  Lionel Hampton: Air Mail Special   Label: Clef 727   12" LP 1956   Photo: Herman Leonard

Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie, Clef 731  Roy Eldridge - Dizzy Gillespie: The Trumpet Kings   Label: Clef 731   12" LP 1956

Bob Brookmeyer, Clef 732  The Modernity of Bob Brookmeyer   Label: Clef 732    12" LP 1956   Photo: Phil Stern

Lionel Hampton, Clef 735  Lionel Hampton: Flying Home   Label: Clef 735   12" LP 1956   Photo: Herman Leonard

Lionel Hampton, Clef 738  Lionel Hampton: Hamp!   Label: Clef 738    12" LP 1956   Photo: Herman Leonard

Anita O'Day, Verve 2000  Anita O´Day: Anita   Label: Verve 2000   12" LP 1956   Photo: Alex de Paula

Oscar Peterson, Verve 2002  Oscar Peterson: In a Romantic Mood   Label: Verve 2002   12" LP 1956   Photo: Alex de Paula

Gene Krupa, Verve 2008  Gene Krupa: Drummer Man   Label: Verve 2008   12" LP 1956   Photo: Herman Leonard

Blossom Dearie, Verve 2937  Blossom Dearie   Label: Verve 2037   12" LP 1956   Photo: Charles Stewart

Al Hibbler, Verve 4000  Al Hibbler Sings Love Songs   Label: Verve 4000   12" LP 1956   Photo: Alex De Paula

Ella Fitzgerald, Verve 4002  Ella sings the Rodgers and Hart Song Book   Label: Verve 4002-2   12" LP 1956
 Photo: Herman Leonard

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Verve 4003  Ella Fitzgerald - Louis Armstrong   Label: Verve 4003   12" LP 1956   Photo: Phil Stern

Charlie Parker, Verve 8004  Charlie Parker: April in Paris   Label: Verve 8004   12" LP 1956   Photo: Herman Leonard

Anita O'Day, Verve 2043  Anita O´Day: Pick Yourself Up   Label: Verve 2043   12" LP 1957   Photo: Herman Leonard

Charlie Parker, Verve 8007  Charlie Parker plays Cole Porter   Label: Verve 8007   12" LP 1957   Design: Sheldon Marks

Ben Webster: King of the Tenors  Ben Webster: King of the Tenors   Label: Verve 8020   12" LP 1957
 Photo: Phil Stern

Ray Brown, Verve 8022  Ray Brown: Bass Hit!   Label: Verve 8022   12" LP 1957   Photo: Herman Leonard

Illinois Jacquet, Verve 8023  Illinois Jacquet Swing´s the Thing   Label: Verve 8023   12" LP 1957

Art Tatum - Lionel Hampton - Buddy Rich, Verve 8093  Art Tatum - Lionel Hampton - Buddy Rich   Label: Verve 8093   12" LP 1957
 Photo: Phil Stern

Lester Young, Verve 8187  Lester Young: It Don´t Mean A Thing   Label: Verve 8187   12" LP 1957
 Photo: Herman Leonard

Billie Holiday, Verve 8197  Billie Holiday: Body and Soul   Label: Verve 8197   12" LP 1957
 Photo: Howard Moorehead

Lester Young - Teddy Wilson, Verve 8205  Lester Young - Teddy Wilson: Pres and Teddy   Label: Verve 8205   12" LP 1957
 Photo: Herman Leonard

Sonny Stitt: New York Jazz, Verve 8219  Sonny Stitt: New York Jazz   Label: Verve 8219   12" LP 1957
 Design: John D'Emilio   Photo: Chuck Stewart

Art Tatum and Ben Webster, Verve 8220  The Art Taum - Ben Webster Quartet   Label: Verve 8220   12" LP 1958
 Design: Gould Associates

Dizzy Gillespie, Verve 8242  Dizzy Gillespie at Newport   Label: Verve 8242   12" LP 1958
 Photo: Burt Goldblatt

Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond, Verve 8246  Gerry Mulligan - Paul Desmond Quartet   Label: Verve 8246   12" LP 1958
 Photo: Burt Goldblatt

Stan Getz meets Gerry Mulligan, Verve 8249  Getz meets Mulligan in Hi-Fi   Label: Verve 8249   12" LP 1958
 Design: John D´Emilio   Photo: Phil Stern

Sonny Stitt: Only The Blues, Verve 8250  Sonny Stitt: Only The Blues   Label: Verve 8250   12" LP 1958
 Photo: Phil Stern

Dizzy Gillespie, Verve 8260  Dizzy Gillespie Duets   Label: Verve 8260   12" LP 1958   Photo: Burt Goldblatt

Coleman Hawkins, Verve 8261  The Genius of Coleman Hawkins   Label: Verve 8261   12" LP 1958   Photo: Phil Stern

Dizzy Gillespie, Verve 8262  Dizzy Gillespie: Sonny Side Up   Label: Verve 8262   12" LP 1958
 Photo: Burt Goldblatt

Stan Getz, Verve 8265  Stan Getz and J.J. Johnson at the Opera House   Label: Verve 8265   12" LP 1958
 Photo: Burt Goldblatt

Teddy Wilson, Verve 8272  Teddy Wilson: The Impeccable Mr. Wilson   Label: Verve 8272   12" LP 1958
 Photo: Burt Goldblatt

Ben Webster, Verve 8274  Ben Webster: Soulville   Label: Verve 8274   12" LP 1958   Photo: Phil Stern

Lee Konitz, Verve 8281  Lee Konitz: Tranquility   Label: Verve 8281   12" LP 1958   Photo: Ken Whitmore

Bud Powell, Verve 8301  Bud Powell: The Lonely One   Label: Verve 8301   12" LP 1959
 Photo: Howard Morehead

Sonny Stitt, Verve 8306  Sonny Stitt: The Hard Swing   Label: Verve 8306   12" LP 1959
 Design: Norman Gollin   Photo: Tommy Mitchell

Junior Mance, Verve 8319  Junior Mance: Junior   Label: Verve 8319   12" LP 1959
 Photo: Burt Goldblatt

Art Tatum, Verve 8323  Art Tatum: The Greatest Of Them All   Label: Verve 8323   12" LP 1959
 Photo: Herman Leonard

Konitz, Verve 8335  Lee Konitz meets Jimmy Giuffre   Label: Verve 8335   12" LP 1959
 Design: Sheldon Marks   Photo: Bill Rotsler and Chuck Stewart

Gerry Mulligan meets Ben Webster, Verve 8343  Gerry Mulligan meets Ben Webster   Label: Verve 8343   12" LP 1959
 Photo: William Claxton

Johnny Hodges, Verve 8355  Johnny Hodges: Not So Dukish   Label: Verve 8355   12" LP 1959
 Photo: Herman Leonard

Jimmy Giuffre, Verve 8361  Jimmy Giuffre: Ad Lib   Label: Verve 8361   12" LP 1960

Gerry Mulligan meets Johnny Hodges, Verve 8367  Gerry Mulligan meets Johnny Hodges   Label: Verve 8367   12" LP 1960

Sonny Stitt, Verve 8377  Sonny Stitt: Saxophone Supremacy   Label: Verve 8377   12" LP 1960
 Design; Merle Shore   Photo: George Jerman

Lester Young, Verve 8378  Lester Young in Paris   Label: Verve 8378   12" LP 1960

Red Allen meets Kid Ory, Verve 1018  Red Allen meets Kid Ory   Label: Verve 1018   12" LP 1960   Photo: Phil Stern

Stan Getz, Verve 8379  Stan Getz: Cool Velvet   Label: Verve 8379   12" LP 1960

Gene Ammons - Sonny Stitt, Verve 8426  Gene Ammons - Sonny Stitt: Boss Tenors   Label: Verve 8426   12" LP 1961
 Photo: Pompeo Posar

Johnny Hodges, Verve 8452  Johnny Hodges / Billy Strayhorn   Label: Verve 8452   12" LP 1961
 Photo: Charles Stewart

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