Blue Note is the most collectible of all the jazz labels. They have a rich and long history, and as such there have been many label variations over the years, each with it's own distinct characteristics. Below is a quick and simple Blue Note labelography for the serious and casual collector alike.

Jump:  Lexington Ave • 47 West 63rd (Version 1)47 West 63rd (Version 2)47 West 63rd (Version 3)New York USALiberty RecordsLiberty/UAUnited ArtistsBlack B (Version 1)Black B (Version 2)White BRe-Issue SeriesWhite B (LT Series)Pathe MarconiManhattan (French)Manhattan (USA)Capitol/EMIConnoisseur SeriesTop Ten SeriesRare Groove Series304 Park Ave (Scorpio)Blue Note 75


"767 LEXINGTON AVE"

  • Issued 1951- 1957.
  • Found on the "1200" Series and catalog numbers 1501 to 1543.
  • Deep Groove with hand-etched "RVG" and Playstylite "ear" in trail-off.
  • This label is Mono only.
  • Sometimes mistakenly referred to as "161" Lexington Ave.
  • Considered to be the ultimate in audio quality for Blue Note LPs, these are the source of the much touted of the "Blue Note Sound."
  • For collectors with deep pockets. 

"47 WEST 63rd • NEW YORK 23"

47-W-63-NYC-23.jpg
  • Issued 1957.
  • First appearance of the classic "47 WEST 63rd" label.
  • Feature the distinctive "NEW YORK 23" following the address.
  • New releases on this label are catalog numbers run roughly 1544 to 1559.
  • This label is Mono only.
  • Deep groove with "RVG" and Playstylite "ear" in vinyl trail-off.
  • Excellent sound quality and highly collectible.

"47 WEST 63RD • NYC"
(Without INC and ®)

  • Issued 1957 - 1959.
  • Second appearance of the "47 WEST 63rd" label.
  • "NY 23" is replaced by "NYC" after the address.
  • No "INC" or Registered symbol ("R") at bottom of label.
  • New Releases on this label are catalog numbers 1560 to 1599 and 4001 to 4010.
  • Mono and Stereo pressings exist with this label variety.
  • Deep groove with "RVG" and Playstylite "ear" in trail-off.
  • Excellent sound quality and highly collectible. 

"47 WEST 63RD • NYC"
(With INC and ®)

  • Issued 1959 - 1962
  • Final appearance of the classic "47 WEST 63rd" label.
  • With "NYC" following the address.
  • "INC" and Registered symbol "R" are both present.
  • New releases are catalog numbers 4011 to 4080, with some exceptions.
  • Mono and Stereo pressings exist with this label variety.
  • Deep Groove with "RVG" and Playstylite "ear" in the trail-off.
  • Excellent sound and highly collectible.

"NEW YORK USA"

  • Issued 1962 - 1966.
  • New releases on this label are catalog numbers 4081 to 4152.
  • Deep groove generally only appears on earlier titles re-pressed on this label, not new releases from this time period.
  • "RVG" and Playstylite "ear" appear in trail-off.
  • Excellent sound quality that is often the equal of the "47 WEST 63rd" pressings.
  • Mono and Stereo pressings exist for this label variety.
  • Still very collectible and can often be had for much less than earlier pressings.

"A DIVISION OF LIBERTY RECORDS, INC."

  • Issued 1966 - 1970.
  • End of an era: Blue Note is acquired by Liberty Records.
  • New releases on this label run roughly from catalog numbers 4253 through 4375.
  • Deep groove and Plastylite "ear" are gone from all "Liberty" pressings.
  • Re-pressed titles from this era may have "NEW YORK USA" or "47 WEST 63rd" labels as they used up existing stock.
  • Sound quality can be excellent, but no longer considered to have that classic "Blue Note Sound."
  • Prices vary depending on artist and title, with some good bargains to be had.

"Liberty / UA. INC"

  • Issued 1970 until early 1971.
  • New releases on this label are catalog numbers between 84376 and 84414, with some exceptions.
  • Good sound quality, can often be had for much less than other label variations.

"A DIVISION OF UNITED ARTISTS RECORDS, INC."

  • Issued 1971 - 1973 and again in 1975.
  • A short return to the original looking Blue Note design and color scheme.
  • Many classic titles from the 1500 series were re-issued in mono with this label.
  • New releases on this label are catalog number 84415 (Grant Green's The Final Comedown) and then follow United Artists new numbering system BN-LA006-F through BN-LA059-F.
  • Often excellent sound and early titles re-issued on this label can often be found at bargain prices.

"BLACK B"
("A DIVISION OF UNITED ARTISTS RECORDS")

  • Issued 1973 - 1975.
  • Has "A DIVISION OF UNITED ARTISTS RECORDS, INC." along the bottom of label.
  • New releases on this label are numbered between BN-LA098-G through BN-LA369-G.
  • Many classic titles re-issued with this label.
  • Sound quality on new releases and re-issued titles varies from decent to very good. 
  • Can be had for bargain prices, great for the collector who is not label-obsessed.

"BLACK B"
("UNITED ARTISTS MUSIC AND RECORDS GROUP")

  • Issued 1975 - 1976.
  • Has "MANUFACTURED BY UNITED ARTISTS MUSIC AND RECORDS GROUP, INC." along the bottom of the label.
  • New releases run roughly from catalog numbers BN-LA368-G through BN-LA667-G.
  • Many classic titles re-issued on this label.
  • Sound quality varies from decent to very good, great for the collector who is not label-obsessed.

"WHITE B"
(
UNITED ARTISTS MUSIC AND RECORDS GROUP)

  • Issued 1977 - 1978.
  • Has the "MANUFACTURED BY UNITED ARTISTS MUSIC AND RECORDS GROUP, INC." along the bottom of the label.
  • Re-issues and new releases can be found on this label.
  • Sound quality varies from decent to very good, great for the collector who is not label-obsessed.

"THE BLUE NOTE RE-ISSUE SERIES"

  • Issued 1975 - 1978.
  • Identified by "THE BLUE NOTE RE-ISSUE SERIES" logo on top left of label.
  • These were double LP releases in tan gatefold covers.
  • Many releases in this series contained unreleased music from the Blue Note vaults.
  • The Re-Issue Series ran between catalog numbers BN-LA451-H2 and BN-LA883-J2.
  • Good sound quality and can often be found for an affordable price.

"WHITE B"
(LT SERIES)

  • Issued 1979 - 1980. After these releases Blue Note was no longer active as a label until 1984.
  • Has "MANUFACTURED BY LIBERTY/UNITED RECORDS, INC." along the bottom.
  • Easily identified by the "LT" prefix in the catalog number, running from LT-987 to LT-1103.
  • Titles issued in this series were unreleased albums from the Blue Note vaults.
  • Cover artwork is solid white with a rectangular picture in the middle and a black bar along the top with a rainbow stripe and "blue b" in the top left corner.
  • Buyer beware: these have been re-issued by Scorpio (see below) with the same cover and different label.
  • Sound quality is good and originals are usually quite cheap.

"PATHE MARCONI"

  • Issued 1983 - 1985.
  • Pressed by the French EMI affiliate Pathe Marconi, easily identified by "Reedition de" beneath the catalog number on left side of label.
  • This series features re-issued titles only and used copies are easily found in the US.
  • Sound quality is average, but many rare titles can be found for a fraction of the originals.  

"MANHATTAN RECORDS"
(FRENCH PRESSINGS)

  • Issued 1984 - 1986.
  • Label reads "MFD FOR MANHATTAN RECORDS, A DIVISION OF CAPITOL RECORDS, INC. AND CAPITOL INDUSTRIES - EMI INC. BY EMI FRANCE" along the left side.
  • This series consists of re-issued early titles and some unreleased sessions.
  • All pressings are "Direct Metal Mastering" (DMM) although not all have the symbol on label.
  • Sound quality varies wildly, generally not recommended and not considered collectible.

"MANHATTAN RECORDS"
(USA PRESSINGS) 

  • Issued 1985 - 1986.
  • The last of the Manhattan Records pressings, this time pressed in the USA.
  • Labels have "© [year] Manhattan Records, a division of Capitol Records, Inc."
  • All releases are "Direct Metal Mastering" on this label variety.
  • Better sound than the EMI France pressings, the last Blue Note vinyl worth your time issued in the 1980's.

"CAPITOL / EMI"

  • Issued 1985 - 1990.
  • New releases on this label are digital recordings, while the re-issues most likely used "Direct Metal Mastering."
  • New releases on this label can be enjoyable, but the re-issued titles should be avoided as they are generally regarded to be the worst sounding of all vinyl re-issues.
  • Not considered to be collectible.

"CONNOISSEUR SERIES"

  • Issued 1994 - 1995.
  • This series was made up of about 25 titles focusing on some overlooked classic titles, including some from the LT series above.
  • Identified by a catalog number beginning with "B1" prefix on left side of label.
  • These were limited edition, audiophile pressings on 180 gram vinyl remastered from the original analog source.
  • Excellent sound quality, and can be found for reasonable prices.

"TOP TEN SERIES"

  • Issued 1997.
  • A brief re-issue series of ten of the most classic Blue Note albums.
  • Identified by a catalog number beginning with a "0777 7" prefix on the left side of the label.
  • These were limited edition, audiophile pressings on 180 gram vinyl remastered from the original analog source.
  • Titles were: Blue TrainMoanin'Somethin' ElseGoSpeak No EvilSoul StationSonny Rollins Volume 2Maiden VoyageThe Sidewinder and Song For My Father.
  • Excellent sound quality, often a nice substitute for an original copy.

"RARE GROOVES SERIES"

  • Issued 1995 - 1997.
  • The "Rare Grooves" series focused on some of the best soul jazz and jazz-funk that Blue Note had to offer.
  • Releases included individual albums as well as some compilation LPs.
  • Identified by a catalog number beginning with a "B1 7243" prefix on the right side of the label.
  • Decent sound, but not audiophile, these can be a cheaper way to get some rare funky titles.

"304 PARK AVE. SOUTH"
(SCORPIO PRESSINGS)

  • Currently available.
  • Known as "Scorpio" pressings (they appear to hail from Scorpio Music in New Jersey).
  • Identified by the "304 PARK AVE. SOUTH" on the label or back cover (or both).
  • Most have "S-xxxx" etched in the vinyl trail-off.
  • Digital to vinyl transfers, certainly not audiophile sound, but a cheap way to acquire rare titles.
  • Not considered collectible.

"BLUE NOTE 75"

  • Currently available.
  • Starting in 2014, Blue Note embarked on a "75th Anniversary Vinyl Initiative" to re-issue 100 classic titles on vinyl.
  • Identified by the "©20xx Blue Note Records" along outer edge on right side of label and "150 5th Avenue" address on back cover.
  • Beautiful reproductions of original artwork and labels.
  • Full line-up of current and planned releases can be found here.
  • Great sound, not quite audiophile, but undisputed classic titles can be had for affordable prices.