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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


RCA Victor

The spirit
and excitement
of Jim Flora

The legendary designer and illustrator JIM FLORA produced some of his most oustanding works during the two years he was working for RCA Victor.

He had started at Columbia in the 1940s. In 1954 he was hired by Bob Jones who was a former colleague from Columbia, now art director at RCA Victor.

Jim Flora's RCA covers shows what a brilliant cartoonist he was. His zany cartoon-like covers have a unique dynamic motion and they bubble over with high spirit and excitement.

Finally his style began to fall out of fashion, and the tide was turning against album covers based on illustration. Photography-based covers came into vogue.

Jim Flora left RCA Victor in 1956 and started to write and illustrate children books. He died in 1998.

ANDY WARHOL made just some few jazz album covers, and the best known are those for Blue Note Records. But one of his finest cover from 1950s was made for RCA Victor. It's the cool drawing of Count Basie, shown among the images to the right.

BOB JONES was the art director at RCA Victor from the early 1950s. He was trained at Columbia in the 1940s, which design studio was the most innovative of the American companies. He worked together with Alex Steinweiss and Jim Flora and they developed the new LP format toward the end of the decade. When Jones came to RCA he hired his old friend Jim Flora.

Bob Jones stayed at RCA Victor into the late 1970s. Throughout most of his career Jones devoted his spare time to his private publishing venture Glad Hand Press. He became well known for his limited editions and he initiates a renewed interest in nineteenth century decorative and novelty typography. Bob Jones died in 1993.


RCA VICTOR was founded as Victor Talking Machine Company in 1901. In 1929 Victor was purchased by RCA and the company then became RCA Victor.

But it was still known as just Victor through the 1930s and 1940s and continued to do important recordings by jazz greats such as Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington.

The company started pressing vinyl discs in 1946, and in 1949 they issued the first 45 rpm single. Around this time they began to be known as RCA Victor, and used that name on the labels.

In 1968 RCA change its image with a new modern logo that replaced the famous classic Nipper dog trademark. And the background colour, which had always been black, switch to orange.


In the 1950s, RCA had three subsidiary labels: Groove, Vik and "X". Label "X" was founded in 1953 and renamed Vik in 1955. Groove (founded in 1954) was mainly a r&b speciality label. There were also some budget labels, RCA Camden among others.

See also

Jim Flora at Columbia

Andy Warhol at Blue Note


Interview JIM FLORA
Angelynnn Grant


 Nick Travis: The Panic Is On   Label: RCA Victor EJC-1010   7" EP 1954
 Design: Jim Flora

The jazz covers of Jim Flora

 Inside Sauter-Finegan   Label: RCA Victor LJM-1003   12" LP 1954
 Design: Jim Flora

 Shorty Rogers: Courts the Count   Label: RCA Victor LJM-1004   12" LP 1954
 Design: Jim Flora

 This is Benny Goodman   Label: RCA Victor LPT-3056   12" LP 1954
 Design: Jim Flora

 Charlie Ventura: For Boppers Only   Label: RCA Victor EP-659   7" LP 1954
 Design: Jim Flora

 Various Artists: Mambo for Cats   Label: RCA Victor 1063   12" LP 1955
 Design: Jim Flora

Andy Warhol
The jazz covers for RCA Victor

 Count Basie   Label: RCA Victor EPC-1112   7" EP 1955
 Illustration: Andy Warhol

Cool Gabriels   Label: Groove 1003 (RCA subsidiary label)   12" LP 1956
 Illustration: Andy Warhol  

 Joe Newman: I´m Still Swinging   Label: RCA Victor 1198   12" LP 1955
 Illustration: Andy Warhol

 Artie Shaw: Booth Feet In The Groove   Label: RCA Victor 1201   12" LP 1955
 Illustration: Andy Warhol

from the beginning

 Fats Waller on the Ivories   Label: RCA Victor    78 rpm album 1942

 A Duke Ellington Panorama   Label: RCA Victor    78 rpm album 1942

 Jelly Roll Morton: Hot Jazz   Label: RCA Victor   78 rpm album 1945

 Various Artists: Esquire´s Hot Jazz   Label: RCA Victor   78 rpm album 1946

 This is Oscar Peterson   Label: RCA Victor LPT-3006   10" LP 1952

 The Mundell Lowe Quintet   Label: RCA Victor LJM 3006   10" LP 1954

 Max Kaminsky: Jazz on the Campus Ltd   Label: RCA Victor LJM-3003   10" LP 1954

 Barbara Carroll Trio   Label: RCA Victor LJM-1001   12" LP 1954
 Design: Bob Jones

 Django Reinhardt   Label: RCA Victor 1100   12" LP 1955
 Photo: David B. Hecht

 Al Cohn: The Natural Seven   Label: RCA Victor 1116   12" LP 1955
 Design: Auerbach

 Milt Bernhart: Modern Brass   Label: RCA Victor 1123   12" LP 1955
 Design: Bob Jones

 Al Cohn: That Old Feeling   Label: RCA Victor 1207   12" LP 1955

 Dinah Shore: Boquet of Blues   Label: RCA Victor 1214   12" LP 1956

 Artie Shaw: Moonglow   Label: RCA Victor 1244   12" LP 1956

 Both Sides of Tony Scott   Label: RCA Victor 1268   12" LP 1956

 Muggsy Spanier: The Great 16!   Label: RCA Victor 1295   12" LP 1956

 Duke Ellington: In A Mellotone   Label: RCA Victor 1364   12" LP 1956
 Photo: Bob Parent

 Hal McKusick: The Jazz Workshop   Label: RCA Victor 1366   12" LP 1957
 Photo: Burt Goldbratt

 Bud Powell: Strictly Powell   Label: RCA Victor 1423   12" LP 1957
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Shorty Rogers plays Richard Rogers   Label: RCA Victor 1428   12" LP 1957

 Lou Levy: A Most Musical Fella   Label: RCA Victor 1491   12" LP 1957
 Photo: William Claxton

 Fats Waller: A Handful of Keys   Label: RCA Victor 1502   12" LP 1957
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Bud Powell: Swingin´ with Bud   Label: RCA Victor 1507   12" LP 1957
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Lee Wiley: A Touch of the Blues   Label: RCA Victor 1566   12" LP 1957

 Artie Shaw: Any Old Time   Label: RCA Victor 1570   12" LP 1958
 Photo: Raymond Jacobs

 Urbie Green   Label: RCA Victor 1667   12" LP 1958

 Shorty Rogers: Gigi in Jazz   Label: RCA Victor 1696   12" LP 1958

 Duke Ellington: At His Very Best   Label: RCA Victor 1715   12" LP 1959
 Painting: Sidney Goodman

 Red Norvo: Red plays the Blues   Label: RCA Victor 1729   12" LP 1959
 Photo: Garrett Howard

 Urbie Green: Jimmy McHugh in Hi-Fi   Label: RCA Victor 1741   12" LP 1959

 John Lewis: European Windows   Label: RCA Victor 1742   12" LP 1959
 Photo: Ken Klein

 Shorty Rogers: Chances Are It Swings   Label: RCA Victor 1975   12" LP 1959

 Toni Harper: Lady Lonely   Label: RCA Victor 2092   12" LP 1960

 Sonny Rollins: The Bridge   Label: RCA Victor 2527   12" LP 1962

 Charles Mingus: Tijuana Moods   Label: RCA Victor 2533   12" LP 1962

 Sonny Rollins: Our Man in Jazz   Label: RCA Victor 2612   12" LP 1962
 Photo: David B. Hecht

 Sonny Rollins - Coleman Hawkins: Sonny meets Hawk   Label: RCA Victor 2712   12" LP 1963

 Sonny Rollins: Now´s The Time   Label: RCA Victor 2927   12" LP 1964

 The Standard Sonny Rollins   Label: RCA Victor 3355   12" LP 1965

 Nina Simone Sings the Blues   Label: RCA Victor CPM-3789   12" LP 1967
 Photo: David Hollander

 Bill Dixon: Intents and Purposes   Label: RCA Victor LSP-3844   12" LP 1967
 Photo: David B. Hecht

 Cap'n John Handy: New Orleans and The Blues   Label: RCA Victor LSP-3929   12" LP 1968
 Cover art: Mike Ludlow

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