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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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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


Savoy Records

by Charlie Parker

SAVOY was founded in 1942 in Newark, New Jersey by Herman Lubinsky. The most succesful parts of the label's catalogue were rhythm & blues, but Savoy also played an important part in popularizing bebop in the 1940s.

The artists and repertory were directed by Teddy Reig. He was responsible for introducing several musicians of the emerging bop movement to the label. Charlie Parker's first recordings as a leader was for Savoy; the famous KoKo-session in november 1945. Other masterworks were recorded for Savoy by Charlie Parker in 1947 and 1948. In the 1940s Savoy also organized sessions by Fats Navarro, Dexter Gordon, Brew Moore, Sonny Stitt among others.

Savoy began purchasing other labels in the late 1940s. Among them were Regent, National, Bop and Discovery, all of which had extensive jazz catalogues. In the early 1950s Savoy also took over the short-lived Dee Gee label, which was founded by Dizzy Gillespie.

In 1950s the artists and repertory was controlled by Ozzie Cadena. He instigated reissues on 12" LP of major recordings of the 1940s, and also orginized new recordings by Kenny Clarke, Cannonball Adderley, Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan and others.

In the late 1950s, jazz began to figure less prominently on the Savoy label. The focus went to black gospel music. Ozzie Cadena's successor, Fred Mendelsohn, built a large and important gospel catalogue for the label.

Avant-garde in the 1960s

In the early 1960s the company recorded a number of avant-garde jazz artists giving them important early exposure. These included Sun Ra, Bill Dixon, Archie Shepp and Paul Bley.

Savoy issued about 100 LPs in the 10" format, and from 1955 into the mid 1960s about 200 LPs in the 12" format, but many of them where reissues.

Savoy's founder Herman Lubinsky died in 1974 and the following year the label and the entire catalogue was sold to Arista.

Variable quality

The cover designs on the Savoy label is of quite variable quality. Some of them were beautiful, others were not. Credit was mostly not given to photographers or designers.

The owner Herman Lubinsky himself seems to have had a great interest in the designs. No other labels made so many alternate covers as Savoy did. There are some Savoy LPs from the 1950s which have 3-4 different covers on the same original pressing.

Burt Goldblatt created some of the early Savoy covers. In an interviue with Angelynn Grant in 1998 he has some viewpoints on Mr. Lubinsky: "Savoy did pitifull bad covers, they did awful covers, because Herman Lubinsky hade to be the "designer" more or less and he didn´t know beans. He was a horrar, that guy".

However Goldblatt created some fine covers for Savoy in the early 1950s, among others the first 10" LPs of Charlie Parker´s recordings. These covers have fine photographic images.

- For Savoy, I would work the whole night, he said to Angelynn Grant. I would do three or four covers in one night, bring them over and get a check right away. Then I'd grab a sandwich and go home and sleep.

The Harvey covers

Some of the Savoy jazz covers (and many gospel covers) have illustrations which are signed "Harvey". Collectors have tried to find the identity of this Harvey, but it seems to be a mystery. One theory says that Harvey was the owner himself, Herman Lubinsky. On Art Pepper´s album Surf Ride the painting is signed Harvey Ragsdale. Could it be the same Harvey?

See also

Burt Goldblatt at Bethlem


Savoy Discography

The cover art of Harvey

Angelynnn Grant

Charlie Parker's first recordings as a leader was for Savoy - the famous KoKo-session in november 1945. It´s included on this 10" LP from 1950 (Savoy MG 9000), the first volume
in a series of four.

Savoy Records

 Charlie Parker, Vol. 1   Label: Savoy MG 9000   10" LP early 1950s
 Alternate cover. Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Charlie Parker, Vol. 2   Label: Savoy MG 9001   10" LP 1951

 Charlie Parker, Vol. 2   Label: Savoy MG 9001   10" LP early 1950s
 Alternate cover. Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Lester Young: Tenor Sax Solos   Label: Savoy MG 9002   10" LP 1951

 Stan Getz: New Sounds in Modern Music, vol. 1   Label: Savoy MG 9004   10" LP 1951

 Stan Getz: New Sounds in Modern Music, vol 1   Label: Savoy MG 9004   10" LP 1951
 Alternate cover. Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Fats Navarro, vol. 1   Label: Savoy MG 9005   10" LP 1952   Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Leo Parker: New Sounds In Modern Music   Label: Savoy MG 9009   10" LP 1952

 Leo Parker: New Sounds In Modern Music   Label: Savoy MG 9009   10" LP 1952
 Alternate cover 

 Charlie Parker, Vol. 3   Label: Savoy MG 9010   10" LP 1952

 Charlie Parker, Vol. 3   Label: Savoy MG 9010   10" LP early 1950s
 Alternate cover. Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Charlie Parker, Vol. 4   Label: Savoy MG 9011   10" LP 1952

 Charlie Parker, Vol. 4   Label: Savoy MG 9011   10" LP early 1950s
 Alternate cover 

 Allen Eager: New Trends of Jazz, vol. 2   Label: Savoy MG 9015   10" LP early 1950s


 The Great Fats Navarro, vol. 2   Label: Savoy MG 9019   10" LP 1952

 Pee Wee Russell: Jazz at Storyville   Label: Savoy MG 15014   10" LP 1952
 Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Wild Bill Davison: Ringside at Condon´s   Label: Savoy MG 15029   10" LP 1953
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Phil Urso and Bob Brookmeyer   Label: Savoy MG 15041   10" LP 1954

 Don Byas   Label: Savoy MG 15043   10" LP 1954

 Allen Eager   Label: Savoy MG 15044   10" LP 1954

 J.J. Johnson - Kai Winding: Jay & Kai   Label: Savoy MG 15048   10" LP 1954
 Design: D. Picini Jr.

 Charles Mingus: The Moods of Mingus   Label: Savoy MG 15050   10" LP 1954

 Kenny Clarke   Label: Savoy MG 15051   10" LP 1954

 Brew Moore, vol. 1  Label: Savoy xp 8066   7" EP 1954   Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Illinois Jacquet, vol. 1   Label: Savoy XP 8068  7" EP 1954   Design: Burt Goldblatt

 Kai Winding´s All Stars´s Hollywood Party  Label: Savoy xp 8114   7" EP 1954
 Design and photo: Burt Goldblatt

 Fats Navarro: Fats - Bud - Klook - Sonny - Kinney   Label: Savoy MG 12011   12" LP 1955

 Big Maybelle Sings   Label: Savoy MG 14005   12" LP 1955

 Coleman Hawkins: The Hawk Returns   Label: Savoy MG 12013   12" LP 1955

 The Genius of Charlie Parker   Label: Savoy MG 12014   12" LP 1955
 Photo: William Popsie Randolph

 Kenny Clarke: Bohemia After Dark  Label: Savoy MG 12017   12" LP 1955
 Design and Photo: Unknown

 Eddie Bert with J.R. Monterose: Encore   Label: Savoy MG 12019   12" LP 1955

 Dizzy Gillespie: Groovin´ High   Label: Savoy MG 12020  12" LP 1955

 Howard McGhee and Milt Jackson  Label: Savoy MG 12026   12" LP 1955

 John Mehagan´s Reflections   Label: Savoy MG 12028   12" LP 1955

 Donald Byrd: Byrd´s Word   Label: Savoy MG 12032  12" LP 1955

 Milt Jackson - Frank Wess: Opus De Jazz  Label: Savoy MG 12036   12" LP 1955

 Milt Jackson: Roll 'Em Bags  Label: Savoy MG 12042   12" LP 1956

 Ernie Wilkins: Top Brass   Label: Savoy MG 12044   12" LP 1956

 The Quartet   Label: Savoy MG 12046  12" LP 1956

 Al Cohn´s Tones   Label: Savoy MG 12048   12" LP 1956

 Joe Wilder: ´n´ Wilder...   Label: Savoy MG 12063  12" LP 1956
 Design and photo: Richard Corson

 Hank Mobley: The Jazz Message   Label: Savoy MG 12064  12" LP 1956

 Kenny Clarke - John La Porta: Klook´s Clique´s Touch   Label: Savoy MG 12065  12" LP 1956

 Lester Young: Blue Lester   Label: Savoy MG 12068  12" LP 1956

 Milt Jackson: Skyline   Label: Savoy MG 12070  12" LP 1956   Design: Castronovo

 Lester Young: The Master´s Touch   Label: Savoy MG 12071  12" LP 1956

 Frank Wess: North, South, East...Wess   Label: Savoy MG 12072  12" LP 1956
 Design: Castronova

 Chuck Wayne: The Jazz Guitarist   Label: Savoy MG 12077  12" LP 1956

 The Charlie Parker Story   Label: Savoy MG 12079   12" LP 1956
 Photo: Herman Leonard

 The Charlie Parker Story   Label: Savoy MG 12079   12" LP 1956
 Alternate cover 

 Milt Jackson: Jackson's-Ville   Label: Savoy MG 12080   12" LP 1956

 George Wallington Trio   Label: Savoy MG 12081   12" LP 1956

 Jazzmen: Detroit   Label: Savoy MG 12083  12" LP 1956

 Art Pepper: Surf Ride   Label: Savoy MG 12089   12" LP 1956
 Illustration: Harvey Ragsdale

 Introducing Lee Morgan   Label: Savoy MG 12091  12" LP 1956

 Hank Mobley: Message´s Touch   Label: Savoy MG 12092  12" LP 1956

 Art Farmer: Trumpets All Out   Label: Savoy MG 12096   12" LP 1956
 Design: Stephen Haas

 J. J. Johnson Quintets   Label: Savoy MG 12106  12" LP 1957
 Design: Portrait Productions

 Sahib Shihab - Herbie Mann: The Jazz We Heard Last Summer  
Label: Savoy MG 12112  12" LP 1957

 Yusef Lateef: Prayer to the East   Label: Savoy MG 12117  12" LP 1957

 George Wallington: Jazz at Hotchkiss   Label: Savoy MG 12122  12" LP 1957

 Sahib Shihab: Jazz Sahib   Label: Savoy MG 12124  12" LP 1957

 Wilbur Harden Quintet featuring John Coltrane; Mainstream 1958  
Label: Savoy MG 12127  12" LP 1958

 Dexter Gordon Rides Again   Label: Savoy MG 12130  12" LP 1958

 Yusef Lateef: The Dreamer   Label: Savoy MG 12139  12" LP 1958

 Yusef Lateef: The Fabric of Jazz   Label: Savoy MG 12140  12" LP 1958

 Curtis Fuller: Blues-ette   Label: Savoy MG 12141  12" LP 1959

 Curtis Fuller: Imagination   Label: Savoy MG 12144  12" LP 1959
 Design: Harvey

 Cecil Payne: Patterns of Jazz   Label: Savoy MG 12147  12" LP 1959
 Design: Levy A. Agency

 The Tenor Stylings of Bill Barron   Label: Savoy MG 12160  12" LP 1961
 Design: Lee J. Morton

 Bill Barron: Modern Windows   Label: Savoy MG 12163  12" LP 1959

 The Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra   Label: Savoy MG 12169  12" LP 1961
 Design: Harvey

 The Bill Hardman Quintet   Label: Savoy MG 12170  12" LP 1961
 Design: Harvey

 Herbie Mann: Gone Native   Label: Savoy MG 12175  12" LP 1961
 Design: Harvey

 Perry Robinson: Funk Dumpling   Label: Savoy MG 12177  12" LP 1962
 Design: Harvey

 Archie Shepp - Bill Dixon   Label: Savoy MG 12178  12" LP 1962
 Photo: Irwin Goldstein

 Charlie Parker: The Bird Returns   Label: Savoy MG 12179  12" LP 1963

 Paul Bley: Footloose   Label: Savoy MG 12182  12" LP 1964

 Bill Barron: Hot Line   Label: Savoy MG 12183  12" LP 1965

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