On Internet since 1998
The Birka Jazz Archive
Records we have bought and sold over the years - the rare and the beautiful!
These albums are not for sale. Click HOME to find our record store.
Scroll down and use the links to browse our comprehensive Archive of rare jazz album covers
First page | Previous | Next
Edgy and experimentalIMPULSE was started by Creed Taylor in 1960 as a subsidiary label of ABC-Paramount. It was an edgy, experimental jazz label that became one of the most influential in jazz.
John Coltrane was the new label´s first major signing. He, and the other artists on Impulse, were given a great deal of artistic freedom. Coltrane recorded more than 20 albums for the label. During the course of his later years he was given carte blanche to record as often as he wished.
Superb sound and deluxe coversThe Impulse records are known for their superb sound by the engineer Rudy Van Gelder and not least for their deluxe gatefold covers, with distinctive design dominated by high quality photography and the orange-and-black on the cover spine and record label.
The graphic look was a result of a creative dialogue between producer Creed Taylor and designer Robert Flynn. Also ABC-Paramount's designer Fran Attaway was involved. The orange-and-black was chosen for its brightness, and for the fact that no other company employed it.
Cutting-edge photographersCreed Taylor credits Fran Attaway for the choice of colours and also for establishing the tradition of employing cutting-edge photographers for the covers. She brought in Peter Turner, Roy DeCarava, Charles Stewart, Arnold Newman among others whose portraits and images adorned the Impulse covers. Fran Attaway, then known as Fran Scott and the wife of clarinetist Tony Scott, soon left her job for travelling in Asia with her husband.
Also the founder and producer Creed Taylor left the company after a while. He found the initial sound and look, and produced the first six albums, then he went to Verve Records. He was succeeded by Bob Thiele, who came to produce most of the Impulse albums.
Bob Thiele and John Coltrane in 1963
The first Impulse album was "The Great Kai & J.J.". The cover was designed by Robert Flynn with a photo by Arnold Newman. Flynn continued to design numerous of covers during the 1960s. Impulse issued more than 300 albums into 1977. The company was sold to MCA Records in 1979.
ARNOLD NEWMAN is one of the 20th century´s most renowned portraits photographers. He pioneered the style to place the subject in a carefully composed setting, capturing the essence of their work and personality.
He was born in New York in 1918. From the 1940s he worked as a freelance photographer for magazines like Life, Newsweek, Times and New Yorker, among others.
He photographed leaders of world culture and society as well as everyday people and he took memorable portraits of famous people like John F. Kennedy, Igor Stavinsky, Pablo Picasso and many others.
CHARLES STEWART, also know as "Chuck", is an afro-american photographer from New York who has been a part of the jazz world since the early 1950s.
In his book "Chuck Stewart's Jazz Files" hed said that he probably worked for more record companies, and produced more photo-visuals for albums, than any other free-lance, independent photographer in the world.
His jazz photographs have also appeard in books and magazines, and he has worked in editorial, travel and fashion photography.
Among his finest work is the many covers for Impulse in the 1960s.
PETER TURNER´s fine jazz photography is best know as a result of his collaboration with producer Creed Taylor. Their relationship started with ABC-Paramount in the 1950s, and continued with Impulse, Verve and CTI.
Their work have graced some of finest album covers of the 1960's and 1970s. Pete Turner pushed the medium of photography to achieve an uncompromising statement in bold color and composition that became his signature.
Creed Taylor in the late 1950s
The ABC-Paramount covers are found at
Various US labels (1)
John Coltrane: Live at the Village Vanguard
Label: Impulse A-10 12" LP 1961
The Great J.J. & Kai
Label: Impulse A-1 12" LP 1960
Gil Evans: Out Of The Cool
Label: Impulse A-4 12" LP 1961
The Blues and the Abstract Truth
Label: Impulse A-5 12" LP 1961
The Blues and the Abstract Truth
Label: Impulse A-5 12" LP 1961
John Coltrane: Africa / Brass
Label: Impulse A-6 12" LP 1961
Art Blakey: Impulse!!!
Label: Impulse A-7 12" LP 1961
Max Roach: Percussion Bitter Sweet
Label: Impulse A-8 12" LP 1961
Gil Evans: Into The Hot
Label: Impulse A-9 12" LP 1961
Benny Carter: Further Definitions
Label: Impulse A-12 12" LP 1961
Cound Basie and the Kansas City 7
Label: Impulse A-15 12" LP 1962
Max Roach: It´s Time
Label: Impulse A-16 12" LP 1962
Shelly Manne 2 3 4
Label: Impulse A-20 12" LP 1962
John Coltrane: Coltrane
Label: Impulse A-21 12" LP 1962
Roy Haynes: Out of the Afternoon
Label: Impulse A-23 12" LP 1962
Duke Ellington meets Coleman Hawkins
Label: Impulse A-26 12" LP 1962
Duke Ellington and John Coltrane
Label: Impulse A-30 12" LP 1963
John Coltrane: Ballads
Label: Impulse A-32 12" LP 1963
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
Label: Impulse A-35 12" LP 1963
Freddie Hubbard: The Body & Soul
Label: Impulse A-38 12" LP 1963
John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman
Label: Impulse A-40 12" LP 1963
John Coltrane: Impressions
Label: Impulse A-42 12" LP 1963
McCoy Tyner Live at Newport
Label: Impulse A-48 12" LP 1963
Coltrane live at Birdland
Label: Impulse A-50 12" LP 1963
S. Stitt - P. Gonsalves: Salt and Pepper
Label: Impulse A-52 12" LP 1963
Charles Mingus: Mingus, Mingus...
Label: Impulse A-54 12" LP 1963
Paul Gonsalves: Tell It The Way It Is
Label: Impulse A-55 12" LP 1963
Chico Hamilton: Man From Two Worlds
Label: Impulse A-59 12" LP 1963
Everybody knows Johnny Hodges
Label: Impulse A-61 12" LP 1964
John Coltrane: Crescent
Label: Impulse A-66 12" LP 1964
Archie Shepp: Four for Trane
Label: Impulse A-71 12" LP 1964
John Coltrane: A Love Supreme
Label: Impulse A-77 12" LP 1965
John Coltrane Quartet Plays
Label: Impulse A-85 12" LP 1965
Coleman Hawkins: Wrapped Tight
Label: Impulse A-87 12" LP 1965
Elvin Jones: Dear John C.
Label: Impulse A-88 12" LP 1965
Lawrence Brown: Inspired Abandon.
Label: Impulse A-89 12" LP 1965
Various Artists: The New Wave in Jazz
Label: Impulse A-90 12" LP 1966
Sonny Rollins on Impulse!
Label: Impulse A-91 12" LP 1965
John Coltrane/Archie Shepp: New Thing at Newport
Label: Impulse A-94 12" LP 1966
John Coltrane: Ascension
Label: Impulse A-95 12" LP 1966
Archie Shepp: On This Night
Label: Impulse A-97 12" LP 1966
Chico Hamilton: El Chico
Label: Impulse A-9102 12" LP 1966
John Coltrane: Kulu Se Mama
Label: Impulse A-9106 12" LP 1966
John Coltrane: Expression
Label: Impulse A-9120 12" LP 1967
John Coltrane: Village Vanguard Again
Label: Impulse A-9124 12" LP 1967
Chico Hamilton: The Dealer
Label: Impulse A-9130 12" LP 1967
Pharoah Sanders: Tauhid
Label: Impulse A-9138 12" LP 1967
Archie Shepp: The Magic of Ju-Ju
Label: Impulse A-9154 12" LP 1967
Albert Ayler in Greenwich Village
Label: Impulse A-9155 12" LP 1967
Elvin Jones - Richard Davis: Heavy Sounds
Label: Impulse A-9160 12" LP 1968
Three For A Quarter One For A Dime
Label: Impulse A-9162 12" LP 1968
Tom Scott: The Honeysuckle Breeze
Label: Impulse A-9163 12" LP 1968
Albert Ayler: Love Cry
Label: Impulse A-9165 12" LP 1968
Archie Shepp: The Way Ahead
Label: Impulse A-9170 12" LP 1968
Albert Ayler: New Grass
Label: Impulse A-9175 12" LP 1968
Pharoah Sanders: Karma
Label: Impulse A-9181 12" LP 1969
Music is the Healing Force of the Universe
Label: Impulse A-9191 12" LP 1969
Archie Shepp: Attica Blues
Label: Impulse A-9222 12" LP 1972
HOME FIRST PAGE | PREVIOUS | NEXT