This includes both current and defunct jazz labels, although the emphasis is on finding current ones. Labels are grouped by parent companies where known. Many labels also distribute other labels: the rule here is to group them where the distribution is exclusive, but keep them separate otherwise. It is often difficult to identify subsidiary labels vs. independent distributed labels.
Note: title counts are obtained from label website catalogs, listings from retailers, and independent discographies. Ideally the numbershould be the total number of titles released, so I've generally resolved disputes with larger numbers. Would be interesting to have a second number for how many titles are in print.
These are general questions that I have for more information about jazz labels.
8th Harmonic Breakdown
32 Jazz: Founded 1995 by Joel Dorn and Robert Miller. Mostly a reissue label, owning the Muse and Landmark catalogs, and licensing other titles, primarily from Atlantic. (Joel Dorn was former VP at Atlantic. Dorn started as a Philadelphia disc jockey in 1961, where he met Nesuhi Ertegun, leading to a job offer. Worked as producer before VP promotion, and has continued to produce. During mid-'80s Dorn founded Night, which released live material from Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Cannonball Adderley, Les McCann, etc.) Some non-jazz records listed as 32 Blues (mostly from Trix label), etc. Releases came in distinctive packaging -- a softer black plastic box with molded-in CD holder and printed paper attached to the box instead of the usual jewel case inserts. But many times reissues were renamed and mixed in odd combinations -- "deconstructed and reconstructed" was the phrase used to describe this. Company also came out with a series of mood oriented comps, like Jazz for a Rainy Day, which were quite popular at the time. Label collapsed after a few years, and is now defunct. Catalog sold to Savoy Jazz 2003. Joel Dorn went on to found Hyena.
33 Jazz [UK]: 143 titles (26 in WM Series). Key artists: Hans Koller, Tim Richards.
482 Music [US: Chicago]: Run by Mike Linter.
504 Records: Run by Mike Dine. New Orleans and British trad jazz label. 35 titles. Key artists: Ken Colyer, George Lewis, Kid Valentine.
1201 Music [US: Atlantic Highlands, NJ]:
Abraxas [Italy]: Seems to be a reissue label/distributor that specializes in vinyl.
Abray: Abbey Rader (drums).
Ace [UK]: Reissue label. Mostly r&b, r&r. Labels include: Ace, Big Beat, Blue Horizon, Cascade, Chiswick, GlobeStyle, Kent, Kicking Mule, Southbound, Westbound, as well as catalogs licensed from Fantasy and Vanguard. Distributed by Navarre.
Accurate [US: Somerville, MA]: Founded 1987 by Russ Gershon [Either/Orchestra]. Although originally started as an artist label, the label took on other local artists sharing its know how and distribution. Artists: Either/Orchestra, Charlie Kohlhase, Ken Schaphorst. Catalog includes some rock and film music due to ties with the particular artists. 100 titles (85 in print).
Acoustic [Norway]: Artists: Ole Amund Gjersvik. [Seen references to Acoustic Disc and Acoustic Music, apparently separate companies. Don't know which is which, or even which is this.]
ACT [Germany]: Founder by Siegfried Loch. US distributor: High Note.
Acta [UK]: Founded 1988 by John Butcher [reeds]. 14 titles. Other artists: Chris Burn.
Aero [US]: Ray Anthony.
Alma [Canada: Toronto]: Founded 1992 by Peter Cardinali. Key artists: Hilario Duran, Roberto Occhipinti.
Altrisuoni [Switzerland]: 160 titles.
Amayana: Founded by Heinz Ulm. Also: AAR.
Amazon Records [US: Kansas City]
Amigo Musik [Sweden]: Founded 1966. In 2001 joined Bonnier Amigo Music Group.
Ambiances Magnetiques [Canada: Montreal]
America [France]: After starting as a mainstream jazz and blues reissue label, released a series of avant-garde albums 1969-72 -- mostly reissued 2004-05 by EmArcy and Verve.
American Clavé: Kip Hanrahan.
Amulet: Founded by Billy Martin [Martin, Medeski & Wood].
Arabesque: Founded 1983 as a classical label, which is still the bulk of the catalog. Introduced Arabesque Jazz in 1992. Artists: Jane Ira Bloom, Thomas Chapin, Scott Colley, Dave Douglas, Ray Drummond, 8 Bold Souls, Art Farmer, Tony Malaby, Charles McPherson, Myra Melford, Ted Nash, Hilton Ruiz, Horace Tapscott. 170 titles [49 jazz, 121 classical].
Arbors Jazz [US: Clearwater, FL]: Founded 1989 by Rachel and Mat Domber, originally to record a record for a friend, Rick Fay. 160 titles.
Arc [UK]: Founded 1982 by Trevor Watts (departed from A Records).
Archeophone [US: St. Joseph, IL]: Founded 1998 by Richard Martin and Meagan Hennessey. Releases remastered copies of vintage recordings (1890s to mid-1920s), mostly popular music with some early jazz. Key artists: Bert Williams.
Arietta [Sweden]: 19 titles.
Arkadia [US: New York]
Arpeggio: Mostly live recordings from '40s: Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Stan Kenton. 18 titles.
ArtistShare: Founded by Brian Camelio. Provides a business model for artists to propose and finance projects through fan contributions, package, promote, and sell albums on the web only. First project was Maria Schneider's Concert in the Garden. 3 titles to date, but more artists participating.
Art of Life
Asian Improv [US: Chicago]: Founded by Jon Jang [piano] and Francis Wong [sax] in 1987. Wong was also co-founder of JMStore, a web music store for Asian Improv and a few other labels (Son del Barrio, Rizing Sun). Current president: Tatsu Aoki [bass]. 53 titles.
Atavistic [US: Chicago]: Founded 1986[?] by Kurt Kellison. In 2000 launched Unheard Music Series directed by John Corbett, mostly European avant-jazz but ranges widely. Key artists: Ken Vandermark, Gregg Bendian, Peter Brotzmann. Atavistic also has a label called Truckstop. 200 titles (53 in Unheard Music Series, 24 Truckstop).
ASC [UK]: Founded by Steve Plews. 20 titles.
AUM Fidelity [US: Brooklyn]: Founded 1997 by Steven Joerg, who had done publicity at Homestead Records when they wandered from noise rock into free jazz in the early '90s. After the demise of Homestead, Joerg founded AUM Fidelity to record artists he had worked with there: William Parker, Joe Morris, David S. Ware. (Name has something to do with "mantra of mantras" -- "all caps, no letter greater than the next; they're all a part of it is why.") 25 titles, 12 with Parker. Following labels exclusively distributed by AUM Fidelity.
Avant [Japan]: Key artists: John Zorn, Ikue Mori. [to Tzadik?]
Axiom: Bill Laswell.
Ayler [Sweden]: Founded 2000 by Jan Ström. Mostly local live performances plus some older archival material (Albert Ayler, Jimmy Lyons, Arthur Rhames, Mongezi Feza). 60+ titles.
Azica [US: Cleveland]: Catalog evenly split between classical (28) and jazz (23). Artists: Bill Cunliffe, Holly Hoffman, Frank Potenza, Mike Wofford.
Babel [UK]: Key artists: Billy Jenkins, Steve Arguelles.
Balance Point Acoustics [US: Oakland]: Founded 2001 by Damon Smith [bass].
Baldwin Street Music
Bardo [US: New York]: Founded 1983 by Jonas Hellborg [bass] as Day Eight Music, which continues as a subsidiary label. 43 titles (27 in print). Key artists: Jonas Hellborg.
Barking Hoop: Founded 1999 by Kevin Norton [drums].
Bassic-Sound [Germany]: "a bass players independent label." Key artists: Thomas Stabenow. 24 titles.
Between the Lines [Germany]: Founded 1999 with Franz Koglmann [trumpet] as artistic director. 35 titles [6 by Koglmann].
BGO (Beat Goes On) [UK]: Reissue label, mostly rock from '50s-'70s, but catalog includes some trad jazz.
Black & Blue [France]: Catalog to Evidence.
Black Jazz: Founded early '70s by Gene Russell [piano]. Ended 1976 after death of founder. Relaunched '90s by James Hardge.
Black Lion [UK]: Founded by Alan Bates in 1968. Subsidiary label: Freedom. Catalog to DA Music [Germany] in '90s. Appears to be defunct.
Black Saint/Soul Note [Italy]: Founded 1975 by Giacomo Pellicciotti, who ran the label through 1977. Purchased by Giovanni Bonandrini.
Bleu Regard: 23 titles. Key artists: Charles Tyler, Matthew Shipp.
Blujazz [US: Chicago]: Founded by Greg Pasenko to offer independent artists a range of services, including: distributed record lael, promotion, booking. Artists retain ownership rights and pay for services. Company also provides consulting and seminars on music business.
Boxholder [US: Woodstock, VT]: Founded 1998 by Lou Kannenstine. Artists: Borah Bergman, Eugene Chadbourne, Bill Cole, Raphe Malik, William Parker, Ivo Perelman, Sonny Simmons. 20 titles [numbers go to 47].
Bruce's Fingers [France]: Founded 1983 by Simon H. Fell.
Bud MusicMostly '40s.
BVHaast [Netherlands]: Founded 1974 by Willem Breuker.
BYG: Founded by Jacques Bisceglia, Jean-Luc Young and Jean Georgakarakos, whose initials contributed to the name. Released Actuel series (52 titles) early '70s. Catalog has been reissued several times, including: Charly, Sunspots, Fuel 2000. Relationship to Charly unclear.
Caber Music [UK: Scotland]: Founded 1998 by Tom Bancroft.
Cadence: Founded 1980 by Robert Rusch. Cadence magazine dates back to 1976. It includes one or two interviews with musicians each issue, plus an average of 150 reviews. A big chunk of the magazine serves as a catalog for North Country Distribution, Cadence's distribution business (over 900 labels, 12000 titles). North Country also sells audio equipment and socks.
Calligraph: Key artists: Humphrey Lyttelton.
Candid [UK]: Founded by Nat Hentof in 1960. Catalog to DA Music in late '80s.
Canyon [Japan]: 151 titles.
Canzona [UK]: 3 titles.
CAP (Consolidated Artists Productions): Founded by Mike Longo.
Capri: Founded 1981 by Thomas Burns. 82 titles.
Caprice [Sweden]: Associated with Concerts Sweden. Works with Swedish Broadcasting Corporation. Catalog includes History of Swedish Jazz.
Carrot Top [US: Chicago]: Eclectic label with a very minor jazz interest. Key artists: Handsome Family, Archer Prewitt, Coctails.
Cavity Search [US: Portland, OR]
Cellar Live [Canada]: Recordings from Vancouver's Cellar restaurant/jazz bar.
CELP [France]: 36 titles. Key artists: André Jaume,
Cexton: Founded 1984 by John Anello Jr.
Challenge [Netherlands]: Founded 1993, run by Hein van de Geyn and Anne de Jong. The following are distributed by Challenge:
Chesky [US]: Founded 1986 by David and Norman Chesky.
Chiaroscuro [US: Wilkes-Barre, PA]: Founded 1969 by Hank O'Neal. Sold 1979, largely inactive until 1989, after Andrew Sordoni bought company.
Classics [France]: Reissues label, extensive compilations of all major (and many minor) jazz artists (up to 50 years ago) compiled in chronological order (hence, label is often referred to as Chronological Classics).
Clean Feed [Portugal]: Founded 2001 by Pedro Costa. 35 titles, split between local musicians of varied styles and Americans with avant-garde reputations (Charles Gayle, Dennis Gonzalez, Ken Vandermark). Best seller is Bernardo Sassetti.
Comet [Italy]: Founded 1998 by Giorgio and Enrico Mangora.
Concord [US: Beverly Hills, CA]: Founded 1973 as Concord Jazz by Carl Jefferson (d. 1995), who in 1969 organized the Concord Jazz Festival in Northern California (Concord, CA). Sold 1999 to Act III Communications, an entertainment holding company owned by Norman Lear and Hal Gaba. After this takeover a large part of Concord's catalog was deleted. (355 Concord titles were dropped from the 7th Ed. of the Penguin Guide to Jazz, reflecting these deletions.) Moved corporate headquarters to Beverly Hills in 2002. Acquired Fantasy Records in 2004, merging into Concord Records Group, with venture capital financing from Tailwind Capital Partners. Merger has not had much impact thus far, other than that Fantasy's release schedule has largely halted. This remains an open question, especially given that Fantasy has a huge (more than 1000 title) and very important jazz catalog. Concord had a huge #1 hit with Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company in 2004, which was co-marketed with Starbucks' Hear Music.
Cope [Denmark]: Founded 1999 by Peter Kehl. Mostly Danish artists. Subsidiary label: Calibrated. 112 titles (46 jazz).
Cornucopia [UK]: Artist label: John Law.
Crammed Discs [Belgium]
Crazy Wisdom [Sweden]: Formed 2000 by Mats Gustafsson [reeds].
Creative Works [Switzerland]
Creative World [US]
Criss Cross [Netherlands]: Founded 1980 by Gerry Teekens. 267 releases.
Cryptogramophone: Founded 1998.
Cuneiform [US: Silver Spring, MD]: Founded 1984 by Steve Feigenbaum. Catalog leans toward experimental rock/jazz-rock fringe groups like Soft Machine, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, Mother Mallard, and include records that fall on the jazz side of that border, especially English avant-garde including archival material from the '70s. Jazz artists: Claudia Quintet, Chris McGregor, Keith Tippett, Paul Dunmall, Elton Dean, Yo Miles! (Henry Kaiser and Wadada Leo Smith). 225 titles (200 in print), 15 per year.
Curling Legs [Norway]: Owned by Knut Vaernes, Morton Halle, Helge Westbye. 90 titles.
DA Music: Reissued Black Lion and Freedom catalogs in '90s. Defunct.
Daagnim: Founded 1979 by Dennis Gonzalez [trumpet]. 31 titles (9 in print).
Data [Netherlands]: Founded 1982 by Dick Lucas. Distributed by Subterranean Music.
Deep Listening: Artists: Stuart Dempster, Pauline Oliveros, Joe McPhee.
Delmark [US: Chicago]: Founded 1953 by Bob Koester. (Koester grew up in Wichita KS. Talks about going to see Lionel Hampton at the Forum: "It was for black people but they let whites sit in the balcony." Koester went to St. Louis University. He started a record store in St. Louis with Ron Fister, K&F Sales, but they split up after a year, and in 1953 Koester moved to Chicago. The name comes from Delmar Ave. in St. Louis, plus K for Koester.) Early recordings included bluesmen like Speckled Red and Big Joe Williams. Koester bought a record store, Seymour's Jazz Mart, previously owned by Seymour Schwartz [no date, sometime between 1958-63; now Jazz Record Mart]. Delmark developed a major reputation as a blues label (key artists: Junior Wells, Magic Sam). Not sure when Delmark started recording jazz, but they were involved with AACM in late '60s -- Chuck Nessa worked for Delmark at the time -- when they released albums by Muhal Richard Abrams and Anthony Braxton (For Alto, 1968). Acquired catalog of Apollo. 377 titles.
Discovery [US: New York]: Founded 1948 by Albert Marx. Appears to be active until 1998, but defunct now.
DIW [Japan]: Key artists: David Murray, James Blood Ulmer. Gross estimates on titles: 300 series: 302-403; 600 series: 603-623; 800 series: 805-966; 8000 series: 8013-8033. Very rough estimate: 300 titles. Some titles released in US by DIW/Columbia. 27 David Murray titles 1986-1997.
Document [Austria]: Archival label, primarily old blues in complete chronological series, but includes some jazz, country, spirituals, boogie-woogie. Catalog series include RST, Blues Classics and Jazz Legends (only a subset listed on website). 913 titles.
Double Moon [Germany]: Founded 1998.
Double Time: 92 titles.
Drag City [US: Chicago]: Also labels: Palace, Quake Basket, Sea Note, Streamline.
Dragon [Sweden]: Founded 1975. Run by Dave Castle. Large catalog of mainstream Scandinavian jazz plus a few recordings of visiting US jazz musicians. 400 titles (180 LP, 220 CD). Subsidiary label Estrad releases Swedish music.
Dreambox Media [US: Philadelphia]
Dreyfus [France]: Founded 1991 by Francis Dreyfus.
Drimala: Founded by Philip Egert.
Dr. Jim's [Australia]: Founded 1990 by Jim Glaspole and Edgar Lee. Artists: Bucketrider.
DSM [Canada]: 35 titles.
Duns: Paul Dunmall.
Dutton Laboratories [UK]: Reissues of old classical, pop, and jazz, many licensed from the Vocalion catalog.
ECM [Germany]: Founded 1969 by Manfred Eicher, who produces about 95% of the titles. Steve Lake produces a small number of titles, mostly more avant-garde. Name stands for Edition of Contemporary Music. More than 900 titles, adding 40-50 titles per year (projected to top 1000 titles in 2006). Included in this count is the ECM New Series, which started with recordings of Steve Reich and Meredith Monk but has expanded to include a wide range of classical as well as new music (199 titles?). ECM also releases some world music, but not as an organized series -- indeed there is a lot of jazz/world borderline. ECM has released two series of compilations: Works (15 titles plus ECM Spectrum Vol. 1) and :rarum (20 titles, also packaged into two box sets). Distributed by Universal in US (since 1999), France, Germany, probably elsewhere. Not all titles available in US (about 700 are). Also distributed by ECM:
Ecstatic Peace [US]: Also: Ecstatic Yod. Artists: Arthur Doyle, Notekillers.
Effendi [Canada]: Founded 1999 by Carole Therrien and Alain Bédard. Quebec jazz. 52 titles.
Eighty-Eights [Japan]: Distributed in U.S. by Columbia (Sony/BMG).
Emanem [UK]: Founded 1974 by Martin Davidson. 139 titles (127 in print). Key artists: Steve Lacy, Paul Rutherford.
EMF (Electronic Music Foundation)
Enja [Germany: Frankfurt]: Founded 1971 by Horst Weber and Matthias Winckelmann. Self-description: "straight ahead modern jazz, avantgarde jazz bordercrossing into contemporary classical music, world music -- musicians of non-American/European background fusioning their ethnic heritage with a jazz concept -- high quality funk/fusion, blues and latin music." First record was Mal Waldron. Weber licensed this to a major in Japan generating some cash flow; Weber's Japanese contacts also brought in some Japanese artists. "In early 1986 Matthias Winckelmann and Horst Weber decided to separate and to produce and work individually from now on." After that, the company splits into two: Enja Records Matthias Winckelmann GmbH, Enja Records Horst Weber GmbH. Selected titles distributed in U.S./Canada by Justin Time as Justin Time/Enja. 670 titles [based on Michael Frohne's discography, weeding out blues titles and unlisted numbers]. (Other counts: 115 titles [Crazy Jazz, seems short; website mentions 30/year]; 169 titles [listed by Enja Records Horst Weber GMBH]; [Enja Matthias Winckelmann website hard to count].) Also some blues releases.
Entropy Stereo: Founded 1997 by Mike Khoury. 16 titles. Key artists: Faruq Z. Bey, Dennis Gonzalez. Also distributes: Abzu, ARC, Braille, Public Eyesore.
EPM (Editions Phonographiques et Musicales) [France]: Founded 1986 by François Dacla, formerly an executive with RCA France.
Eremite [US: Northampton, MA]: Run by Michael Ehlers. Eremite also distributes BRÖ, a label of Peter Brötzmann reissues.
Erstwhile [US: Jersey City, NJ]: Founded 1999 by Jon Abbey. 50 titles. Subsidiary label: Erstlive: series of live recordings. Key artists: Keith Rowe.
ESP-Disk: Founded in 1966 by Bernard Stollman. Recorded extensively to 1968, both avant jazz and fringe rock groups like the Fugs and the Godz. Catalog has been licensed to various companies over the years, including ZYX [Germany] and Calibre [Netherlands]. Company re-formed in 2003. They offer the back catalog on CD-R, have started to remaster some titles and issue previously unreleased tapes, and have at least one new record.
Evander Music: Founded 1995 by Philip Greenlief.
Evening Star [US]: 6 titles. Artists: Joe Wilder, Benny Carter, Chris Neville.
Evidence: Founded 1992 by Jerry Gordon and Howard Rosen. Has reissued catalog from labels: King [Japan], Sweet Basil, Theresa, Black & Blue, Bethlehem.
Eyran: Artist label: Eyran Katsenelenbogen [piano].
Expression [UK]: Phil Manzanera.
Faith [Japan]: 3 titles. Artists: Benny Powell, Jane Jarvis.
Fantasy [US: Berkeley, CA]: Founded 1949 by Max and Sol Weiss. In 1955 Saul Zaentz joined company and started a major expansion. In 1967 Zaentz bought out the Weiss brothers. Creedence Clearwater Revival became a major hit for Fantasy in 1968, and the profits fueled expansion by picking up many independent jazz labels/catalogs, including: Debut (1955), Prestige (1971), Riverside (1972), Milestone (1972), Contemporary/Good Time Jazz (1984), Pablo (1987). Also picked up non-jazz labels, including: Stax (1977), Specialty (1991), Takoma (1995), Kicking Mule (1995). Records some new jazz, but is primarily a reissues label, with well over 1000 titles in its Original Jazz Classics series. Merged with Concord in 2004. The ramifications of that merger are a major concern.
Favorite [Netherlands]: Founded 2004 by Ernst Glerum [bass].
First World [US: Seattle]: Founded by artists Lesli Dalaba, Greg Gilmore, Jeff Greinke, Trey Gunn, Bill Rieflin. 11 titles.
Flying Note: Artist label: Kali Z. Fasteau.
FMP (Free Music Production) [Germany]: Founded 1969 as a co-op directed by Jost Gebers. 130 titles [in print].
FMR (Future Music Records) [UK]: Founded late '80s by Trevor Taylor.
Folkways: Founded 1947 by Moses Asch with Marian Dister. Mostly folk, but some jazz, including recent reissues by Mary Lou Williams. Label taken over by Smithsonian Institution as Smithsonian/Folkways, distributed by Rounder.
Forward.rec [Portugal]: Founded 2001 by Carlos Bechegas [bass].
Four Leaf Clover [Sweden]: Label associated with FLC Distribution. 35 titles.
Free Elephant [Germany]: Founded 2004 to release performances by Peter Kowald [bass].
Fremeaux & Associes
Fresh Sound [Spain: Barcelona]: Founded 1983 by Jordi Pujol. Connected to Absolute Distribution. Also some non-jazz labels: Alma Latina, Atrium, Cantos y Danzas de Latinoamerica, El Bandoneon, Fork Series, Legend, Maestros del Tango Argentino, Planet, Ubatuqui, Witness.
Frog [UK]: Founded by David French. Reissues vintage jazz and blues recordings remastered by John R.T. Davies.
Gazell [Sweden]: Founded 1950 by Dag Haeggqvist. Directed by Sam Charters since '80s.
Giants of Jazz [Italy]
GM Recordings: Founded 1981 by Gunther Schuller.
GNP Crescendo: Founded 1947 by Gene Norman (GNP: Gene Norman Presents).
Gramavision: Founded 1979 by Jonathan Rose.
Half Note: Seems to be related to the Blue Note clubs, as opposed to the Blue Note label.
Harmonia Mundi [France]: Large classical music label/distributor. US distributed labels: Aeon, Ambroisie, APO, Calliope, Cantaloupe, Daqui, Dutton Laboratories, Institut du Monde Arabe, Iris Musique, K617, La Memoire et la Mer, Labeluz, Long Distance, Mirare, O + Music, Paris Jazz Corner, Praga Digitals, Sketch, Sound of World, Tahra, Zig-Zag Territoires.
Hat Hut [Switzerland]: Founded 1975 by Werner Uehlinger. Label changed to HatART c. 1990 although company continued to be identified as Hat Hut. HatART eventually gave way to HatOLOGY and the current lineup of labels. Recordings are issued as "limited editions" (typically running 3000 copies), but some titles have been reissued in other series (e.g., out-of-print HatART titles reissued as HatOLOGY). Label had a sponsorship arrangement with UBS (formerly Swiss Bank Corporation) from 1985-2000. Label offers many titles as "midprice"
Hep [UK]: Founded 1974 by Alastair Robertson.
Honest Jons: Founded by Mark Ainley and Alan Scholefield. Reissues classic soul music, reggae, calypso, odds and ends, including new world fusion by Damon Albarn [Blur]. Near-jazz by Jamaican saxophonist Cedric Im Brooks. Distributed by Astralwerks.
Hopscotch: Founded by Susie Ibarra [drums] and Assif Tsahar [reeds].
IAI (Improvising Artists International): Founded 1974 by Paul Bley and Carol Goss, until early '80s. 18 titles. Key artists: Bley, Lee Konitz, Steve Lacy, Sam Rivers.
IAJRC (International Association of Jazz Record Collectors)
Ikef [US: Chicago]: Founded 2001. Reissues, mostly '70s "black arts movement" works.
Imogena [Sweden]: Founded 1988. 105 titles.
Impetus [UK]: 20 titles. Artists: Bardo State Orchestra, Ken Hyder, Mike Westbrook.
Incus [UK]: Founded 1970 by Derek Bailey, Evan Parker and Tony Oxley.
India Navigation: Founded late '70s, inactive after mid-'80s, revived in '90s.
Inner City: Founded 1976 by Irv Kratka as subsidiary of MMO Music Group. Reissued jazz from European labels (Steeplechase, Enja, East Wind).
Innerhythmic: Bill Laswell.
Innova [US: St. Paul, MN]: Founded 1982 to document work of winners of the McKnight Fellowship, which is given by parent group American Composers Forum. Directed by Philip Blackburn. In 1994 started Recording Assistance Program, which markets and distributes finished tapes provided by artists. Releses about 25 titles per year under this program. 37 titles under jazz (new classical: 77; experimental: 23; world: 9; electronic: 13; short run: 8).
Jamey Aebersold [US: New Albany, IN]: Publishes jazz books and educational discs to play along with.
Jasmine [UK]: Founded 1982 by Mike Hazeldine [Hasmick Promotions]. Old music from most genres, including series: Stage & Screen, Personality & Jazz, Blue[s], Country, British Modern Jazz. Key artist: Tubby Hayes.
Jazz Crusade [US: Bridgeport, CT]: Run by Bill Bissonnette [trombone]. Traditional jazz. 120 titles, plus 22 in 1960s Jazz Crusade/GHB series.
Jazz Depot: Founded 1996[?] by Joe Fields and Barney Fields. Fields had worked at Prestige, where he discovered Houston Person and met Fathead Newman. Fields was also a founder of Buddha [not sure of sequence, since that would also be '60s]. Fields went on to found Muse. Original intent was that HighNote would be more mainstream, Savant would be "edgier," but as it worked out the catalogs are close to interchangeable. (One article basically says the label decision is made by release date, so they can extend the "newness" factor for each label.) Distributed by Ryko.
Jazzed Media [US: Denver]:Founded 2002.
Jazz Focus: Founded early '90s by Philip Barker. Defunct? Key artists: Jessica Williams.
Jazzheads: Headed by Randy Klein. Affiliated with the following:
Jazz House [UK]: Founded by Ronnie Scott [reeds]. Also known as Ronnie Scott's Jazz House Records. 77 titles. Distributed by New Note.
Jazz in Motion [Netherlands]
Jazz Inspiration [Canada]: Founded 1991 by Arnold Schwisberg as extension to Jazz Inspiration Radio Network, a syndicated show in Canada.
Jazzizit [UK]: 27 titles.
Jazzology: Founded 1949 by George Buck.
Jazz Oracle: Distributed by Timeless.
Jazz Records: Key artist: Lennie Tristano.
Joken: Founded by Kenny Barron [piano] and Joanne Klein. Artists: Bill Barron, Ben Riley, Sumi Tonooka.
JSP [UK]: Founded 1978 by John Stedman. Reissues old jazz, blues, country and pop, often in inexpensive 4- and 5-CD boxes.
Justin Time [Canada]: Founded 1983 by Jim West. 300 titles. Key artists: Billy Bang, Paul Bley, Hamiet Bluiett, Jeri Brown, Jane Bunnett, D.D. Jackson, Oliver Jones, Ranee Lee, David Murray, Hugh Ragin, World Saxophone Quartet.
Just Jazz [US]
JVC [Japan]: Licensed jazz recordings to GRP 1987-90. Opened U.S. offices in 1991.
K2B2: Formed 1979 by Marty Krystall [reeds] and Buell Neidlinger [bass]. Named after group Krystall Klear and the Buells (K2B2, or K-squared B-log).
Kenneth [Sweden]: 8 titles, 5 by Maxine Sullivan.
Knitting Factory: Founded 1991 by Michael Dorl.
Koch: A major distributor with various label interests as well as distribution deals. Jazz director is Donald Ellman.
Kokopelli: Founded 1994 by Herbie Mann and Jim Geisler.
Konnex [Germany]: Founded 1984 by Manfred Schiek.
Label M: Founded by Joel Dorn. Seems to have run from 2000-01. Used same packaging as Dorn's 32 Jazz label, and licensed some reissues from Atlantic (as did 32 Jazz). Some recordings may have been transfered to Hyena, perhaps as Left Bank series.
Lake [UK]: Run by Paul and Linda Adams. British trad jazz. 60 titles. Key artists: Chris Barber, Alex Welsh, Ken Colyer.
Landmark: Founded 1985 by Orrin Keepnews. Sold to Muse. Catalog reissued by 32 Jazz in '90s. Catalog subsequently sold to Savoy Jazz 2003, along with rest of 32 Jazz catalog (mostly Muse).
LaserLight: Budget reissue label, part of Delta Music.
Laughing Horse: Artist label: Lisa Sokolov.
Leo [UK]: Founded 1979 by Leo Feigin. Feigin was born in the Soviet Union (Leningrad, aka St. Petersburg); listened to short wave radio as a youth, falling in love with jazz music broadcast on Voice of America. Came to England in 1974. In 1979 got a smuggled tape of a Ganelin Trio concert in East Berlin. He tried to interest other labels in the tape; failing that, he started his own label, releasing two other records (Amina Claudine Myers, Keshavan Maslak) before Ganelin to try to build some credibility as a label. Interview quote/marketing maxim: "I don't want to convine anyone to listen to my CDs. Leo Records should be discovered, but once discovered these CDs and the music become a revelation." Another: "'Free Jazz' for me is the highest form of discipline on the part of a musician who is prepared to completely abandon his ego for the sake of creating something totally original." Key artists: Art Ensemble of Chicago, Anthony Braxton, John Wolf Brennan, Eugene Chadbourne, Marilyn Crispell, Ganelin Trio, Joelle Leandre, Joe and Mat Maneri, Simon Nabatov, Saimkha Namchylak, Lauren Newton, Evan Parker, Ned Rothenberg, Tibor Szernza, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Reggie Workman. 400 titles.
Level Green [US: Ithaca, NY]
Libra [Japan]: Founded 1996 by Satoko Fujii [piano] and Natsuki Tamura [trumpet]. 11 titles.
Lifeforce Jazz [US: San Jose, CA]: 28 titles.
Limetree: Distributed by Timeless.
Linn: Divisions: jazz, classical, Scottish.
Little Brother [US]: Key artist: Nels Cline.
LJ [Sweden]: Run by Ove Johansson and Susanna Lindeborg.
Locust [US]: 45 titles, including non-jazz like: Allen Ginsburg, Timothy Leary, Alan Watts, Ihlan Mimaroglu.
Lone Hill Jazz [Spain]: Extensive reissues, mostly jazz from '50s-'60s. Some 2-albums/1-CD deals, some "complete sessions" based on limited themes: e.g., Eddie Costa-Sal Salvador Quartet, Complete Studio Recordings. 74 titles. Distributed by Disconforme.
Love Slave [US]: Key artist: Jerry Granelli.
LRC (Lester Radio Corporation): Founded 1971 by Sonny Lester. Ended 1979.
Madacy [Canada: Montreal]: Markets budget compilations, including a small amount of jazz.
Magnatude Records: Related to Magna Carta Records, more of a rock label.
MAMA Foundation: Founded 1992 by Gene Cerwinski.
Mapleshade: Founded 1989 by Pierre Sprey.
Marge [France]: Run by Gérard Terrončs.
Matchless [UK]: Founded by Eddie Prévost to release works by his group AMM.
Materiali Sonori [Italy]: Mostly avant/experimental, with some fringe jazz. Key artists: Wim Mertens.
MaxJazz: Founded 1998 by Richard McDonnell. Catalog organized as series: Horn (Jeremy Pelt, Terrell Stafford, Steve Wilson), Piano (Bruce Barth, Geoffrey Keezer, Peter Martin, Mulgrew Miller, Jessica Williams, Denny Zeitlin), St. Louis (Dave Venn, Kennedy Bros., Brilliant Corners, Mardra & Reggie Thomas), String (Russell Malone), Vocal (Claudia Acuńa, Erin Bode, LaVerne Butler, Carla Cook, Asa Harris, Christine Hitt, Philip Manuel, René Marie, Rebecca Martin, Mary Stallings, Holiday), VocalPiano (Dena DeRose, Patti Wicks), Holiday (Eric Reed). 33 titles.
Maya [UK]: Founded 1992 by Barry Guy [bass] and Maya Homburger.
Meniscus [US: Minneapolis]: Founded 1999 by Jon Morgan.
Merry Makers: Run by Ted Shafer.
Messidor [Germany]: Founded 1980 by Gotz Worner. Major Cuban jazz label. Distributed by Rounder.
Meta [US: Venice, CA]: Artist: Adam Rudolph.
Minor Music [Germany]
Mirrors [Sweden]: 14 titles. Artists: Fredrik Noren, Joakim Milder, Bernt Rosengren.
Moers Music [Germany]
Mons [Germany]: Founded 1991 by Thilo Berg. 56 titles.
Mr. Bean and Bumpy
Muse: Founded 1972 by Joe Fields and Don Schlitten. Fields had previously run Cobblestone, a jazz subsidiary of Buddah. Schlitten left in 1978 to found Xanadu [founded 1975?]. Sold "during the economic boom of the '80s" [another source says that Fields sold Muse to Joel Dorn in 1996]. Recordings go up to 1995. Bought Landmark mid-'80s. Catalog sold to Joel Dorn (32 Jazz) 1996; later sold to Savoy Jazz 2003. 500 titles, plus about 60 albums worth of unreleased tapes (prior to 32 Jazz acquisition).
Music & Arts [US: Berkeley, CA]: Founded 1988, directed by Fred Maroth. Mostly classical music, but jazz catalog has some notable items, including artists: Anthony Braxton, Marilyn Crispell. Appears to be inactive in jazz since 2002.
Music Masters: Founded early '80s.
Music Mecca [Denmark]: Key artists: Papa Bue's Viking Jazz Band.
Musicraft: Founded 1937, primarily classical until 1941, but from 1944 recorded jazz under Albert Marx. Sold in early '50s. Scattered but erratic catalog reissues.
Mutable Music [US: New York]: Founded 2000 by Thomas Buckner to re-released catalog of 1750 Arch Records. 16 titles.
Nagel Heyer [Germany: Hamburg]: Founded 1992; President/CEO Sabine Nagel Heyer. Recorded live concert of Gershwin music on birthday, Sept. 26, followed by seven additional live recordings of concerts in Hamburg in 1993. Key artists: Harry Allen, Marc Copland, Donald Harrison, Brian Lynch, Ken Peplowski, Marcus Printup, Eric Reed, Randy Sandke, Allan Vaché, Warren Vaché, Frank Vignola, Bob Wilber. 175 titles. Distributed in US by Qualiton.
Nato [France]: Sister label Chabada.
NatSat [Japan] Founded 2003 as subsidiary of Polystar Records by Takashi Tannaka [A&R, Polystar] to release music by Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura (name derived from musicians' names). 4 titles.
Naxos [Hong Kong]: Founded 1987 by Klaus Heymann, as a budget classical label. Label is based in Hong Kong, with wholly owned subsidiaries in US, Canada, UK, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Denmark and Finland. Label has over 2500 titles, overwhelming majority classical, but issues jazz as Naxos Jazz and world music as Naxos World. Naxos Jazz musical director is Mike Nock [piano]. 66 albums in catalog.
Nessa: Founded 1967 by Chuck Nessa.
Nimbus West: Founded 1979 by Tom Albach. Key artist: Horace Tapscott.
Nine Winds [US: Beverly Hills, CA]: Founded 1977 by Vinny Golia. 142 titles [118 CD], 38 with Golia.
Ninth World Music [Denmark]: 30 titles.
No Labels [US]: Artists: Rob Brown, Daniel Carter, Sabir Mateen. Related to No More?
No Man's Land [Germany]: 28 titles. Website also has section for "Andere Label" (7 titles), which I read to be "other" rather than one separate label.
No More [US]: Artists: Rob Brown, Roy Campbell, Frank Lowe, William Parker.
Not Two [Poland]
Nuscope [US: Dallas]: Founded 1998 by Russell Summers. 14 titles.
Ogun [UK]: Founded 1974 by Harry Miller [bass] and Hazel Miller. Catalog focuses on interactions between South African jazz (Brotherhood of Breath) and UK free jazz.
Okka Disk [US: Milwaukee]: Founded 1993 by Bruno Johnson. 48 titles. Key artists: Ken Vandermark, Fred Anderson, Peter Brötzmann, Georg Graewe.
Omnitone [US: Brooklyn]
OO Discs [US]: 60 titles.
The Orchard: Actually a distributor/publicity firm which works for many small labels. Shows up frequently (but erroneously) as label name on AMG.
Origin [US: Seattle]: Founded 1997 by John Bishop.
Otá [US: Oakland, CA]: Founded 1996. Dedicated to music of Omar Sosa.
Owl: Founded 1975 by Jean-Jacques Pussiau.
Palmetto [US: New York]: Founded 1990 by Matt Balitsaris, who also produces the records. Owns Maggie's Farm studio in a 18th century barn in Bucks County PA, which is where most records are recorded at. Baltisaris has won Downbeat polls for best producer, and Palmetto has scored high in Downbeat polls for best label. From website: "Palmetto also supports artists who are often overlooked or are considered somewhat 'left of center'. This enables the label to help expand the boundaries and even the vocabulary of jazz, and also give the artists the freedom they need to make great music." Artists: Ben Allison, David Berkman, Marty Ehrlich, Joel Frahm, Larry Goldings, Fred Hersch, Andrew Hill, Javon Jackson, Frank Kimbrough, Bill Mays, Kate McGarry, Ted Nash, Bobby Previte, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Ray Vega, Bobby Watson, Matt Wilson, 100 titles.
Palo Alto: Founded 1981 by Jim Benham, operated by Herb Wong. Ended 1985.
Paradigm [UK]: Founded 1996 by Clive Graham.
Parkwood: Founded 1983 by Hugh Leal.
Passin' Thru [US: Montclair, NJ]
Past Perfect [UK]: Founded by Michael Daily, who left to found ASV, and Nigel Jagger. Remastered editions of vintage jazz from '20s-'40s.
Periplum [US: Fort Worth, TX]: 11 titles.
Pi [US: New York]: Founded 2001. 16 titles, including: Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, Vijay Iyer, the Revolutionary Ensemble.
Piadrum: Founded by Jessica Shih.
Platinum Disc: Large distributor, mostly video, but releases CD compilations of classic jazz. Owned by Echo Bridge Entertainment.
Playscape: Founded 1999 by Michael Musillami [guitar]. 30 titles from a circle of artists, many centered around the late Thomas Chapin. Key artists: Mario Pavone, Peter Madsen, Michael Musillami.
Pogus [US]: Electronic, electro-acoustic and experimental music. 30 titles. Artists: Chris Brown, Tom Johnson, Leo Kupper, Al Margolis [If, Bwana], Pauline Oliveros. Also distributes: Sound of Pig cassettes.
Potlatch [France]: Founded 1997 by Jacques Oger and Jean-Marc Foussat. 20 titles: Derek Bailey, Joelle Leandre, Fred Van Hove, Evan Parker, John Butcher, Axel Dorner.
Po Torch [Germany]: Founded by Paul Lovens [drums].
Power Bros. [Poland]
Premonition [US: Chicago]: Founded 1993 by Michael Friedman [drums]. Artists: Patricia Barber, Dave Douglas, Von Freeman. 26 titles.
Proper Music [UK]
Prophone [Sweden]: Founded 1990. Approx. 75 titles.
Putumayo World Music
Quakebasket [US]: Run by Tim Barnes. 11 titles.
Quinnah [US: Girard, OH]: Founded by Jeffrey Dreves. 10 titles. Key artists: Ken Vandermark, Flying Luttenbachers.
Quinton [Austria]: Some role: Heinrich Schläfer, Andreas Rathammer. 20 titles. Key artists: Wolfgang Muthspiel, Wolfgang Puschnig, Vienna Art Orchestra.
RAM [Italy]: 20 titles.
Ramboy [Netherlands]: Founded by Michael Moore [reeds].
Random Acoustics [Germany]: Founded 1993 by Georg Graewe [piano]. 20 titles: Graewe, Frank Gratkowski, Gerry Hemingway.
Rare Music [UK]: Founded 1995 by Tony Levin [percussion].
Rastascan [US: San Leandro, CA]: Founded 1987 by Gino Robair [percussion]. 40 titles.
Raymer Sound [UK]: Founded 1989. Trad jazz. 175 titles.
Rectangle [France]: Founded 1996 by Quintin Rollet and Noël Akchoté [guitar].
RED (Registrazioni Edizioni Discograpfiche) [Italy]: Founded 1977 by Sergio Veschi. 135 titles. Key artists: Jerry Bergonzi, Franco D'Andrea, Joe Henderson, Dave Liebman, Giovanni Tommaso, Massimo Urbani, Cedar Walton, Bobby Watson.
Red Baron: Founded 1991 by Bob Thiele. Ended 1995, when Thiele died.
Red Toucan [Canada: Montreal]: 20 titles: Francois Houle, Joelle Leandre, John Butcher.
Reify [US: Los Angeles]: Founded 2004 by Chris Heenan.
ReR Megacorp [UK]: Distributor with some own labels, including Recommended.
Reservoir: Founded 1987 by Mark Feldman.
Resonant Music [Norway]: Founded 1998 by Terje Gewelt [bass].
RopeadopeFounded 1999 by Andy Blackman Hurwitz, to release album by DJ Logic. Distributed by WEA/Atlantic 2000-03. Regrouped 2003 with independent distribution. Most titles have a jazz angle, but they also have a hip-hop angle or some other twist. 30 titles.
Roulette [US: New York]: Founded by Jim Staley and David Weinstein, to present new jazz and other music. Runs concerts ("Noisy Lounge"), a TV program ("Roulette Television"), a record label (Einstein). Produces DVDs on Roulette TV label. Board includes Alvin Lucier, William Parker, Ned Rothenberg, John Zorn.
Runt Distribution [US]: Distributor. In-house labels: below, plus Plain. Exclusively distributed labels: Antenna Farm, Arcanum Entertainment, Black Beauty, Black Panther, Devil in the Woods, ESP-Disk, Grimsey, Innerstate, Isota, Jackpine Social Club, Weed.
Sachimay [US: Easton, PA]: Run by Dan DeChellis.
Sackville [Canada]: Founded 1968 by John Norris and Bill Smith.
Saga [France]: Reissue label. 60 titles. 3-CD retrospectives: Django Reinhardt, Charlie Parker.
Sanctuary [UK]: Large collection of labels, few having anything to do with jazz.
Saturn: Sun Ra, from mid-'50s until his death 1993. Catalog reissued by Evidence.
Savoy Jazz: Founded 1942 by Herman Lubinsky. After Lubinsky died in 1974 the catalog was sold to Arista. Acquired by Muse (1985), later by Denon [Japan], most recently in 2001 by Columbia Music Entertainment [Japan] (formerly Nippon Columbia). Chairman/CEO of CME is Strauss Zelnick. Savoy president is Steve Vining. Bought 32 Jazz catalog 2003, which primarily consisted of the Muse and Landmark catalogs. Key artists: Charlie Parker.
Scatter [UK: Scotland]
Schott Music & Media [Germany]:
Screwgun: Founded by Tim Berne [reeds]. 10 titles. Other artists: Marc Ducret, Michael Formanek, Django Bates, Julius Hemphill.
Sea Breeze: Founded late '70s. Focus is big bands.
See for Miles [UK]: Reissue label. Not much jazz: Earl Bostic, Louis Prima, Dinah Washington.
Shanachie [US]: Founded 1975 by Richard Nevins and Dan Collins, originally to release traditional Irish music. General Manager Randall Grass joined company 1981. In '80s expanded catalog to include reggae and African music, building notable catalogs in both. In '90s expanded catalog to include contemporary jazz, including acid jazz and British nu-soul. Jazz artists: Liquid Soul, Chuck Loeb, Kim Waters, Chieli Minucci, Ann Hampton Callaway.
Sharp Nine [US: Westfield, NJ]: Founded 1995 by Marc Edelman. Edelman had studied piano with John Coates Jr., but drifted out of music, working as an insurance broker when he met David Hazeltine. Mission statement: to "record and promote modern jazz music -- bebop and beyond." Beyond doesn't go very far, mostly to '60s-style hard bop. Name: "a sharp 9 chord is an altered dominant chord that is often used in modern jazz playing. I thought it sounded cool, had musical significance for the type of music I planned to record, and was slightly evocative (in terms of the type of name it was, the fact that it was two words and two syllables) of the Blue Note name." 31 titles.
Sheer Sound [South Africa]
Signature: Founded 1939 by Bob Thiele. Ended 1948.
Silkheart [Sweden]: Founded 1985 as subsidiary of Storyville, with focus on avant-garde/free jazz.
Silva Screen [UK]: Founded 1986. Mostly does film music (Silva Screen Records, Silva Classics, Silva Treasury, Silva Screen Sound Stage), but has two jazz labels:
Sirocco Music [UK]: Founded 1997 by John Priestley. Key artists: Robin Eubanks, Tim Garland, Joe Locke.
Skip: Founded 1999.
Slam [UK]: Founded 1989 by George Haslam [reeds]. 50 titles: Elton Dean, Howard Riley, Lol Coxhill, Paul Dunmall.
Smalltown Supersound [Norway]: Founded early '90s. Subsidiary label: Smalltown Superjazz. Key artists: Paal Nilssen-Love, Mats Gustafsson.
SOFA [Norway]: Founded 2000 as jazz spinoff of NOR-CD. 18 titles.
Sonet [Denmark and/or Sweden]: Founded 1956 by Sven Lindholm and Gunnar Bergstrom, or by Anders Dyrup [Adrian Bentzon's Jazz Band] in conjunction with Storyville (according to the Storyville website; this relationship lasted until 1963 or 1978 when Sonet was spun off). Sold to Polygram 1991.
Songlines [Canada: Vancouver]: Founded 1992 by Tony Reif.
Sounds of Yesteryear: 65 titles, mostly big bands from '40s, probably radio shots or transcripts.
Sons of Sound
Sony/BMG: Formed by merger August 2004 of Sony Music Entertainment and BMG Entertainment.
SOS Editions [US: New York]
Soul Jazz [UK]:
Sound Hills [Japan]
Southport [US: Chicago]: Founded 1980 by Bradley Parker-Sparrow.
Spartacus [UK: Scotland]: Artist label: Tommy Smith.
Splasc(H) [Italy]: Founded 1982. Large catalog (350+ titles), mostly Italian.
Spot: Artist label: Mark Copeland.
Spotlite [UK]: Founded 1968 by Tony Williams. Reissued Dial catalog.
Stash: Founded '70s.
SteepleChase [Denmark]: Founded 1972 by Nils Winther. 636 titles in print (20 in 2004, although many were live tapes from well back, including three by Dexter Gordon). Key artists: Paul Bley, George Cables, Stanley Cowell, Howard Danko, Pierre Dorge, Kenny Drew, Dexter Gordon, Billy Hart, Duke Jordan, Lee Konitz, Andy LaVerne, Joe Locke, Jackie McLean, Tete Montoliu, Horace Parlan, Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, Rich Perry, Doug Raney, Larry Schneider, Steve Slagle, Dave Stryker, John Tchicai, Michal Urbaniak, Cedar Walton.
Stomp Off [US: York, PA]: Founded 1980 by Bob Erdos. 400 titles. [Website run by Jim Lovins, manager of Webster Records in St. Louis, MO.]
Storyville [Denmark]: Founded 1952 by Karl Emil Knudsen (d. 2003). (Founding date sometimes specified as 1950, when Knudsen began discussions with Heinrich Breiling and Henrik Johansen leading to label founding. They celebrated a 50th anniversary in 2002, and came up with a logo that specifies 1952 as the founding.) Name comes from famed Storyville section of New Orleans. Started by reproducing vintage 78s from other labels, but soon started organizing concerts for visiting jazz musicians -- mostly British trad jazz figures like Ken Colyer and Humphrey Lyttelton. When Anders Dyrup started his Sonet label he entered into a partnership with Storyville which lasted until 1963 (or 1964, or 1978), when Storyville and Sonet were divided as separate labels. [These relationships are confusing, to say the least.] Storyville sold 2004 to Edition Wilhelm Hansen.
Strange and Beautiful Music: Artist label: John Lurie/The Lounge Lizards.
Strata-East: Founded 1971 by Charles Tolliver and Stanley Cowell.
Such Sweet Thunder
Sula: Artist label: Nils Petter Molvaer.
Summit [US: Tempe, AZ]: Founded late '80s as outgrowth of group Summit Brass. 103 jazz titles; 208 classical titles.
Sunnyside [US: New York]: Founded 1982 by Francois Zalacain [and Christine Berthe?]. First record came out of a friendship with Harold Danko [piano], which led to another with Kirk Lightsey and a third with Lee Konitz. Label also licenses records from Europe (mostly France). Key artists: Franck Amsallem, Kenny Barron, Avishai Cohen, Meredith D'Ambrosio, Harold Danko, Jerry Gonzalez, Fred Hersch, Eddie Higgins, Lee Konitz, Steve Lacy, Jeanne Lee, Kirk Lightsey, Helen Merrill, Steve Nelson, Michel Petrucciani, Billy Pierce, Rufus Reid, Luciana Souza, Barney Wilen, Glenn Wilson, Website lists several "series" which I don't understand: Confluences, Jazz in Paris, Owl, Sunnyside Café. (Owl is a French label, described as Zalacain's inspiration.) The following are listed as "hosted labels" (probably means independent but catalogued by Sunnyside). 225 titles (198 in print), including hosted labels.
Dare2: Founded 2005 by Dave Holland [bass].
Swaggie [Australia]: Founded 1949 by Graeme Bell, managed by Nevill Sherburn. Subsidiary Vintage Jazz Archives.
Synergy Music [US: Denver]: Label logo says: "SYNcopated enERGY MUSIC."
Table of the Elements
Telarc [US: Cleveland, OH]: Founded 1980 as a classical label. Started jazz division in 1989. Strong emphasis on sound quality: "everything you hear is true" (R). Website lists genres as: classical, jazz, blues, crossover, pop/rock. 800 titles.
Thirsty Ear [US: Norwalk, CT]: Founded late '70s as a marketing company, working with major labels to promote artists like David Bowie, Talking Heads, Police. In '80s partnered with English labels 4AD and Beggars Banquet to run US operations. Started 1990 as a label, mostly releasing alt/experimental rock. Partnered with Henry Rollins [Black Flag] to launch 2.13.61 Records label, which released a few jazz records by Matthew Shipp. In 2000 launched Blue Series of jazz records under Shipp's direction. The Blue Series soon evolved from free jazz to jazz-electronica fusion (various combinations of free jazz players like Shipp, William Parker, Mat Maneri, Roy Campbell, Guillermo E. Brown, David S. Ware, Tim Berne and electronica/hip-hop artists like DJ Spooky, El-P, Antipop Consortium, Yohimbe Brothers). Non-Blue Series Artists: Adrian Belew, Church, David Thomas/Pere Ubu, Foetus, John Fahey, John Martyn, Madder Rose, Ruby, Swans, Throbbing Gristle, Robert Wyatt. 87 titles, 36 in Blue Series.
Thrill Jockey [US: Chicago]: Founded 1992 by Bettina Richards. Primarily an alt/experimental rock label (Tortoise, Sea and Cake), but has a small number of Chicago-area jazz musicians, including: Fred Anderson, Hamid Drake, Jeff Parker, Chad Taylor, Matana Roberts, Sticks and Stones, Chicago Underground Duo/Trio/Quartet. 156 titles (including EPs and DVDs).
Timeless [Netherlands]: Founded 1975 by Wim Wigt. Divides catalog into: Contemporary (274 titles), Traditional (118), Historical (80).
Torii: Bill Cunliffe.
Treader: Founded 2004 by John Coxon [Spring Heel Jack].
Trema [France]. Also RTE -- not sure of relationship. Mostly live recordings of US stars from Olympia and Pleyel.
Tuff City: Subsidiary labels: Night Train International, Funky Delicacies, Soul-Tay-Shus, Ol' Skool Flava.
TUM [Finland]: Founded 2003. Organized TUMfest05 jazz festival at Savoy Theatre. Packages have distinctive artwork by various Finnish artists, giving it a distinctive look. Good booklets and attractive packaging. 12 titles.
Tzadik [US: New York]: Founded 1995 by John Zorn [reeds]. Tzadik is the 18th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, also a Hebrew word for "righteous one," a title given to a Hassidic spiritual leader. 386 titles (all in print, 96 by Zorn), 93 in last two years. Many titles are organized into series:
Upbeat [UK]: Founded by Liz Biddle. British trad jazz.
Universal Music Group: UMG is the largest of the four Majors. It is owned (92%) by Vivendi Universal [France], which was created in 2000 by a merger of Vivendi (media and television networks) and Universal Studios (film company, at the time owned by Seagram). UMG's market share is 23%, making it the largest record company in the world. Aside from the following jazz-related labels, UMG also includes: Bad Boy, Barclay, Blackground, Casablanca, Cash Money, Def Jam, Dreamworks, Geffen, Lost Highway, MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Motor Music, Motown, Street, Universal, Urban. There are also Universal labels in: Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey.
Jazzland [Norway]: Founded 1997 by Bugge Wesseltoft [piano].
Uptown [US]: Founded mid-'80s.
Vanguard: Founded 1950 by Maynard and Seymour Solomon. Originally classical music label, later became primarily known for folk music, but recorded jazz occasionally: 1953-57 under John Hammond; later artists include Larry Coryell and Oregon. Acquired by Welk Music Group 1986.
Victo [Canada: Victoriaville, Quebec]: 90 titles.
Vintage Music Productions [US: Hollis, NH]: Reissues early jazz and hot dance music from the 1920s and 1930s. Restorations are done digitally by Bill Hebden.
Vogue [France]: Founded 1948 by Charles Delaunay. Owned by British Decca from 1951. Ended 1962. Catalog has been reissued in '70s by Inner City and in '90s by RCA.
Voiceprint [UK]: Founded 1990 by Rob Ayling. Primary focus on progressive rock (Gong, Soft Machine, King Krimson). 800 titles [website lists 1181 on 129 labels; no indication of which are independent and which are subsidiary, although names like Classicprint and Folkprint fit a pattern; DMG also lists: La Cooka Ratcha, 231 E 47th St, Mystic, Piano, Glasshouse, Open Sky, Vertical Species, Le Triton, Bananamoon Obscura].
VSOJAZ (The Vocal Sound of Jazz): Founded by Jack Frieden, based on radio show "The Vocal Sound of Jazz." Artists: Diane Hubka, Laura Martier.
VSOP [US]: Founded early '80s by Peter Jacobson.
Water Lily Acoustics
West Wind [Germany]: 40 titles. Don't know if this is affiliated with Swedish record store of same name.
Whaling City Sound: Founded 1999.
Wide Hive [US: San Francisco]: Founded 1996 by Gregory Howe. Mostly DJ music, but some jazz: Sonny Fortune, Phil Ranelin.
Windham Hill: Founded late '70s. Primarily releases non-jazz instrumental music called "new age."
Winter & Winter [Germany]: Founded 1997 by Stefan Winter. Key artists: Uri Caine, Dave Douglas, Paul Motian. Smartpacs packaging uses hard cardboard covers, meant to evoke books, with snap-slots for discs (some packages hold two or three).
Wobbly Rail [US: Chapel Hill, NC]: Founded 1998 by Mac McCaughan. 15 titles. Key artists: Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark.
Woofy Productions: Founded 1993. Focus on live recordings of West Coast jazz artists.
World Wide Jazz: Distributed by Timeless.
Xanadu: Founded 1975 [1978?] by Don Schlitten. Defunct. Don't know status of catalog [EPM?].
YVP [Germany]: Founded 1984 by publisher and producer York v. Prittwitz. Main emphasis is European jazz and young artists. Key artists: Enrico Pieranunzi. 150 titles.
Cadence: Catalog includes over 15000 titles on over 2000 labels.
Navarre [US: New Hope, MN]
Subterranean Distribution [Netherlands]: