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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


Riverside Records

From trad jazz
to street cred
with Thelonious Monk

RIVERSIDE was established in 1953 by Orrin Keepnews and Bill Grauer. It started as a reiusse label for early jazz. In 1954, beginning with two 10" LPs by Randy Weston, the company begun recording modern jazz.

Riverside took off for real street credibillity in 1955 by signing Thelonious Monk, and became, after Blue Note and Prestige, the most important jazz label of the era.

Almost all Riverside's new jazz were produced by Orrin Keepnews. Bill Grauer directed the company's sales and business operations. The company established the subsidary labels Judson in late 1950s and Jazzland in 1960.


PAUL BACON designed a large number of covers for Riverside in the 1950s. He had started as designer at Blue Note and went to Riverside as art director in 1954.

Another designer at Riverside was Ken Deardoff. Often hired photographers were Paul Weller and Donald Silverstein, but Riverside also used pictures from William Claxton, Burt Goldblatt and Bob Parent among others.

Riverside issued around 120 LPs in the Archives series (traditionl jazz), of which about the half where 10". In the Contemporary series about 300 12" LPs were issued between 1955 and 1964.

Bill Grauer died in 1963, and the company went bankrupt the following year.

Paul Bacon, who in total made around 2000 covers for Blue Note, Riverside and other labels, turned to the book world in the 1960s. He designed book covers for famous writers such as Norman Mailer, Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut and Philip Roth.

     Paul Bacon in 2002  
     Photo: Hank O'Neal

     Orrin Keepnews

See also

Paul Bacon at Blue Note


Riverside Discography

Interview Paul Bacon

Randy Weston: Cole Porter In A Modern Mood   Label: Riverside 2508   10" LP 1954
  Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Bob Parent

Riverside Records

Randy Weston Trio   Label: Riverside 2513   10" LP 1955
  Design: Paul Bacon  

 The Incomparable Jelly Roll Morton   Label: Riverside 12-128   12" LP 1956
 Painting: Jacob Lawrence   Design: Paul Bacon

 King Oliver: Back O' Town   Label: Riverside 12-130   12" LP 1956
 Painting: Jacob Lawrence   Design: Paul Bacon

 Randy Weston: Get Happy   Label: Riverside 12-203   12" LP 1956
  Design: Gene Gogerty

 Thelonious Monk: The Unique   Label: Riverside 12-209   12" LP 1956
 First cover. Design: Gene Gogerty   Photo: Carole Reiff

 Randy Weston: With These Hands   Label: Riverside 12-214   12" LP 1957
 Design: Fran Scott   Photo: Hank Parker

 Thelonius Monk: The Unique   Label: Riverside 12-304   12" LP c.1957
 Second cover. Design: Paul Bacon

 Thelonious Monk: Brilliant Corners   Label: Riverside 12-226   12" LP 1957
 Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Paul Weller

 Randy Weston: Trio and Solo   Label: Riverside 12-227   12" LP 1957

 Randy Weston: Jazz a la Bohemia   Label: Riverside 12-232   12" LP 1957

 Thelonious Monk: Thelonious Himself   Label: Riverside 12-235   12" LP 1957
 Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Paul Weller

 Sonny Rollins: The Sound of Sonny´s Music   Label: Riverside 12-241   12" LP 1957
 Design: Paul Bacon :  Photo: Paul Weller

 Thelonious Monk: Monk´s Music   Label: Riverside 12-242   12" LP 1957
 Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Paul Weller

 Gerry Mulligan - Thelonious Monk   Label: Riverside 12-247   12" LP 1957
 Design: Paul Bacon

 Freddie Redd: San Francisco Suite   Label: Riverside 12-250   12" LP 1957
 Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Dennis Stock

 Benny Golson: The Modern Touch   Label: Riverside 12-256   12" LP 1958
 Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Paul Weller

 Sonny Rollins: Freedom Suite´s Music   Label: Riverside 12-258   12" LP 1958
 Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Paul Weller

 Thelonious Monk: Thelonious in Action   Label: Riverside 12-262   12" LP 1958
 Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Jack Manning

 Pepper Adams: 10 to 4 at the 5-Spot   Label: Riverside 12-265   12" LP 1958
 Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Shjeilagh Coulter

 Ernie Henry: Last Chorus   Label: Riverside 12-266   12" LP 1958
 Design: Paul Bacon

 Blue Mitchell: Big Six   Label: Riverside 12-273   12" LP 1958
 Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Hugh Bell

 Chet Baker: It Could Happen To You   Label: Riverside 12-278   12" LP 1958
 Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Paul Weller

 Thelonious Monk: Misterioso   Label: Riverside 12-279   12" LP 1958
 Design: Paul Bacon :  Painting: Giorgio de Chirico

 Max Roach: Deeds, Not Words   Label: Riverside 12-280   12" LP 1958
 Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Lawrence Shustak

 The Other Side of Benny Golson   Label: Riverside 12-290   12" LP 1958
 Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Paul Weller

 Chet Baker: Chet   Label: Riverside 12-299   12" LP 1958
 Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Melvin Sokolsky

 Johnny Griffin: Little Giant   Label: Riverside 12-304   12" LP 1959
 Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Charles Stewart

 Thlonious Monk: Five by Monk by Five   Label: Riverside 12-305   12" LP 1959
 Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Lawrence N. Shustak

 Abbey Lincoln: Abbey Is Blue   Label: Riverside 12-308   12" LP 1959
 Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Lawrence Shustak

 Blue Mitchell: Blue Soul   Label: Riverside 12-309   12" LP 1959
 Design: Paul Bacon   Photo: Lawrence Shustak

 Cannonball Adderley in San Fransisco   Label: Riverside 12-311 (1157)   12" LP 1959
 Design: Paul Bacon

 Thelonious Monk: Alone in San Fransisco   Label: Riverside 12-312   12" LP 1959
 Design: Paul Bacon :  Photo: William Claxton

 Julian Priester: Keep Swingin´   Label: Riverside 12-316   12" LP 1960

 John Lee Hooker: That's My Story   Label: Riverside 12-321   12" LP 1960
 Design: Paul Bacon :  Photo: Lawrence N. Shustak

 Barry Harris: At the Jazz Workshop   Label: Riverside 326   12" LP 1960
 Design: Ken Deardoff :  Photo: Jerry Stoll

 Bill Evans: Explorations   Label: Riverside 351   12" LP 1960
 Design: Ken Deardoff :  Photo: Mike Custa

 Barry Harris: Preminado   Label: Riverside 354   12" LP 1961
 Design: Ken Deardoff :  Photo: Lawrence N. Shustak

 Bill Evans: Waltz for Debby   Label: Riverside 399   12" LP 1961
 Design: Ken Deardoff

 Bill Evans: Moon Beams   Label: Riverside 428   12" LP 1962
 Design: Ken Deardoff :  Photo: Peter Sahula

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