Esmond Edwards, in Black and White

Esmond Edwards: a mystery in black and white

LJC reader Alan has discovered a variation in the original Prestige cover of PRLP 7142 John Coltrane’s Soultrane, where the design credit on the front cover appears in white text and black text. We haven’t had a mystery for a while, so I thought we might crowdsource an answer by bumping it to a fully fledged postEsmond-Edwards-in-black-and-white

Popsike confirms the cover variation exists, however among the hundreds of copies shown, the black text outnumbers the white text version by at least ten to one, possibly more, so the white text is more “rare”.


DottorJazz has shared pictures of his original pressing. The good doctor is a devout First Pressing Fundamentalist, he swears on a stack of mint Mobley 1568’s that his is the original, which has the black text cover credit for Esmond Edwards


And the labels… 1st title on Bergenfield…



It seems probable the black text is the original, but we can not rule out the white text just yet. Because it is rare, it may have been the original print run, and as sales grew, many more covers had to be printed, which would account for the greater number of black text copies.   We are in Rumsfeld Territory. Yesterday: unknown unknowns; today: known unknowns. We know we don’t know, that’s progress.

Who knows?

Well, probably Esmond Edwards for a start. But he can’t help us now, because he’s gone, left us in 2007. Here’s another iconic image Esmond Edwards left us with:


A talented photographer, Esmond trained initially as a radiographer. Interesting parallels, Rudy Van Gelder trained as an optometrist.

Prestige’s answer to Blue Note’s Francis Wolff, Esmond Edwards created many of Prestige’s most iconic covers.  He went on to head the Verve Records label for MGM in 1967 later becoming a noted recording producer, composer and arranger working for many of the majors. A multi-talented individual who used his abilities to the full.

Talking Point

Few of these things I knew, really, until today.  It makes you wonder, what else don’t you know?


Postscript: Prestige Vinyl Weight “inconclusive”

Combining the vinyl weight data identified by DottorJazz and my own I have created a approximate timeline weight/catalogue number, to observe from the 27 measurements what we can learn that might help to date Prestige originals.

Prestige Vinyl Weight 1956-63Counter-intuitively, some of the heavy outliers are more recent pressings. There are no 200 gram monsters like Plastylite/Blue Note Lexingtons at the outset of the mid ’50s. Abbey Manufacturing and whoever else Weinstock used pressed fairly consistently at around 160 grams, a fair bit lighter than  Blue Note of the same period. It’s not an exact science, but with Prestige, it looks like heavier vinyl weight is not an effective indicator of older age as it is with Blue Note.

One less unknown


42 thoughts on “Esmond Edwards, in Black and White

  1. I printed for Mr. Edwards out in Santa Barbara California I have a few originals I did for him including the one of Coltrane you have up on here uncropped. There was one from that session of him playing the piano as well and looking up at the camera. All the negatives had not been out of their sleeves in decades and smelled like rotten eggs from the emulsion. I made a print from a very underexposed image of Billie Holiday he took of her sitting in a booth with her white chihuahuas. He didn’t think I could make anything of it , I did and he had me do all his work at that time. Most of which ended up on the Ken Burns Jazz Documentary. I have some great ones of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee he took at railroad tracks, I have prints of his I don;t think anyone has ever seen, He was a nice man, One day I might make a Youtube video about my collection and the time I printed for him.


  2. Thanks Rudolf. There are two different series of 10″ on New Jazz: 1101-1106 and 101-106.
    the first one has maroon and white OR maroon only labels, 446W50thNYC address, recordings by:
    1101: Jimmy Raney, April 23, 1953, reissued on Prestige LP 156-maroon and white
    1102: Zoot Sims, June 16 1954, reissued on Prestige LP 202-maroon
    1103: Jimmy Raney, August 11 1954, reissued on Prestige LP 203-maroon
    1104: Phil Woods, October 12 1954, reissued on Prestige LP 204-maroon and white
    1105: Jon Eardley, December 25 1954, reissued on Prestige LP 205-maroon and white
    1106: Teddy Charles, January 6 1955, reissued on Prestige LP 206-maroon and white
    this whole New Jazz series is original and beautiful but doesn’t reply to our question: the recordings are subsequent to what we’re investigating about.
    New Jazz 101-106: my infos are all about 101, which I owe.
    yellow labels and 782 8th Ave. NYC 19 address, blue blank back.
    on Prestige: blue label and two different covers:
    one is similar to New jazz and differs in logo and cat number
    the other has a picture of Lee Konitz AND the classic 446W50 NYC address.
    there are two different versions of the photo cover: see Popsike
    Prestige PRLP 101
    Prestige NJLP 101
    the same with Prestige 102, Stan Getz: two different covers, one similar to New Jazz/Prestige 101 and a second Photo cover similar to Prestige 101
    ONLY the first cover has two different cat numbers: Prestige LP 102 AND Prestige NJLP 102
    my argument is: it’s unlikely the new company has released his first records with two different addresses at the same time, on very few numbers (maybe only 101) 782 8th Ave. NYC 19 and on all others 446W50thNYC.
    what looks logical is that the first address comes earlier, and the classic second when they were established in the final location.
    don’t have enough?
    why (and when) Prestige did change 446 address into 447, only on covers?


    • dottore: you did a lot of research and it was a pleasure reading you. I am not too familiar with the early 100 NJ series, but believe they are earlier than the corresponding PR issues. And you give the clue with the change from 8th Ave to the 446W50th adress. Also Bob W. started NJ with the modernists (Konitz) in mind, as mentioned in the 25th Prestige anniversary album
      I think you are wrong with respect to the 1101 Raney album. It was not re-issued on PR 156. The latter is the album with Sven Coolsen, re-iisued on PRLP 7255. 1101 became NJ 201.
      I for one have never seen the 201-206 albums. Do they really exist? Do you have them? Or ever seen?
      My 1102 and 1103 have a red New Jazz label, stating “released by the Prestige record company”. The others have the maroon / beige off centre NJ label as described by you. 1102 came with a violet ink loose liner sheet, the rear being blank.
      Your 446/447 adress question remains unanswered by me.


      • sorry Rudolf, I meant NY 1101 being reissued on Prestige 201, not 156, as the whole series. I’ve never seen this 6 numbers on Prestige. Info comes from Michel Ruppli’s book who submits the whole Prestige 10″ series, from 101 to 214. Anyway I’d like to thank you, our maximum expert, all contributors and above all LJC who gives us, passionate collectors, a place to discuss on so many shadows about Jazz collecting.


        • Dottore, I am grateful indeed, like you, for the unique platform the LJC site gives to us, as passionate colectors.
          A question to you, since we are neighbours (you in Lombardia and me in Savoia): it seems that in Milano an annual or semi-annual vinyl record show is organized, attracting private sellers and traders from Italy and way beyond. Do you have any particulars?


          • Yes Rudolf, the name is VINILMANIA, and it’s held 3 times a year, February, May and October. Next dates will be May 10-11 and October 11-12. I always go there and, sometimes I find interesting records, last time Candy. It’s located near Linate airport, so far out from downtown. If you’d like you can contact the management for expose and sell records. Here the link:
            Let me know if interested as trader or buyer, I’ll be glad to help you.


              • I’ll say 1%, last February, among over 300 traders there were 4 mostly jazz. One in particular, from Germany, first time at the fair, had so many heavyweights to loose your head. I name a few: Flanagan Overccc’s, Dorham Kenny Blue, Morgan Candy (got it), City Lights and other BN, The Cats and many New Jazz. Astounding conditions of records and covers, never seen so many great records in such conditions. The seller, a young guy from Germany, told me it was a Swiss collection. Prices? According to market, no bargains. Hope to meet him again in May but overall hope to meet you in Milano, as well as all the friends who contribute to this great blog. Andrew: you comin’?


                • thanks for this info. The May event will be difficult to attend to for me, the Fall one is more likely. I put the dates in my agenda.


                • Sadly that weekend finds me grounded between trips, in UK. but future dates may not be out of the question. You need to keep us posted. Oh and if you have some great scores in May, we will want to see the list!.


  3. Regarding Prestige weights, I had a Bergenfield copy of 7044 (with printing on the spine) that was very heavy, at least 180g, while an earlier Bergenfield copy (with no printing on the spine) weighted only 140-150g.


    • Dott and my collection could be topped up with more measurements, if you have any, glad if you could share catalogue number and weight in grams. No problem if not, easy for me as I weigh every record when I first wash and add to my collection db, but not everyone is as OCD as me. We all have different titles, maybe crowdsourcing can help reduce “Prestige Hell”. My $15 digital kitchen scales have been a good investment.


          • I get all my fresh Blue Notes from the Farmers Market Rudolph, ha

            Seriously, thanks doc, don’t neglect your patients, just get ’em on the scales.

            Any one got Prestige cat number and bare vinyl weights – original vintage fireworks label – they can contribute, please send data or post here. I got weigh too few .

            More data good, even more data, better still.


  4. interesting topic. My copy which I bought upon the album’s release has the black print. My Danish version on Metronome has also black print, which gives an indication too.
    We need a professional printer’s view. Why would a text move from from black to white, or from white to black? Is there a technical reason for this in the printing process?


    • what has Danish Metronome to do with the black vs white version? Well, Metronome modelled their production on the US first issues.


  5. I gave up trying to find reasonably priced first pressings of any 1950s LPs years ago. Clean second or third pressings are fine with me. For this session, I was able to score a sealed, mono blue label copy, with the Van Gelder stamp, and also with an orange/white cover instead of the blue/white color scheme. Price? $10 plus shipping. Sounds amazing too!


  6. If anyone would like to complicate this subject a little bit more, I’ve weighted all my Coltrane Yellow Prestige, all bare, no inner sleeve.
    7105: 165 gr
    7123: 146 gr
    7142: 147 gr
    7158: 132 gr, lightweights champions
    7188: 165 gr
    7213: 171 gr
    7243: 155 gr
    7268: 151 gr
    7280: 175 gr
    7292: 159 gr
    7316: 180 gr, heavyweights champion


  7. question for the doctor: i am also a devout acolyte of the first pressing, but only insofar as identifiables. if the labels, matrix, addresses, and all reasonable indicators are there, i’m happy. in this case, does the possible variation in cover (as opposed to the more problematic possibility of a label variation) bother you? are you alright as long as it has the other proper indicators and proper labels, or does this keep you awake at night? i use the vinyl as a source first, and i’d be fine with either color of the name.


      • interesting. i care more about the literal original of the vinyl, but perhaps only the original cover in spirit. if it is one that was manufactured with the original vinyl, variation or not, i’m happy. just curious. thanks!


  8. My turn: my copy comes from 1991 and being in very nice conditions, I’ve never looked after anymore. I’ve been really surprised at Alan’s signal. I was completely unaware of the “white” one. I can’t be fully sure the “black” one is the true first. Let’s try to compare what’s in the dead wax.
    BLACK one:
    side A, PRLP-7142-A (etched), RVG, a letter E and a number 1 (printed)
    side B, PRLP-7142.B (etched), RVG, a letter E (printed) and letters AB (etched).
    Next word to the WHITE one


    • The matrix info for the “white EE” is
      RVG PRLP-7142-A and then a random “1” and an “AB”
      the b-side has:
      RVG, a sideways “D”, PRLP-7142-B and a random “A” and an “AB”

      I will post the “black EE” matrix info tonight. I’m in California so it won’t be for a few hours.

      Thanks for your help on this!


    • As noted in the other comments, my pressing is definitely first (the gentlemen who originally owned it wrote his name on the back and purchased it when first released; I own a number of his LPs). Esmond Edwards is in black. The matrix info is a follows:

      Side 1: PRLP-7142-A (hand), RVG (machine), a sideways A (machine), AB (hand);
      Side 2: PRLP-7142-B (hand), RVG (machine), a sideways A (machine), AB (hand).

      So, different from both dottor’s and Alan’s. Funny, this record business.


        • Dear Dottore, I am a Jazz rookie and maybe you can answer a question concerning New Jazz hell. I read somewhere the label was founded in 1949 and it was “Prestige’s purple-clad discount-cousin”. Was New Jazz pre Prestige, post Prestige or were they released simultaneously? Thanks from Munich, Germany


          • The good doctor is sure to come up with his own reply, not wishing to intrude.

            From their respective discographies, Weinstock juggled both New Jazz and Prestige labels simultaneously, issuing first shellac 78’s from around 1949 to the 10″ microgroove and 12″ LP through to 1964, on both labels.

            When things don’t make sense from outside, there is usually a reason out of sight.

            Certain artists were more often New Jazz – Walt Dickerson, Mal Waldron, Eric Dolphy, others appear only on Prestige – like Coltrane. Could be label/contracts in the background. Observers have suggested it had more to do with juggling tax liabilities than artistic or marketing issues.

            In addition, New Jazz suffered more from recycled vinyl than Prestige, possibly other issues hidden from view, like who pressed for the two labels.


            • Do you have experience with the “more recycled vinyl than Prestige” for New Jazz, or is that just commonly-accepted wisdom? I don’t doubt it, but all of my (too few) purple New Jazz pressings sound just fine. Did I just get lucky?


              • Of ten New Jazz LPs in my collection four are hissy due to inclusion of recycled vinyl. For Prestige its only two out of fifty. Not come across any others with other labels. This isn’t a random sample as I make a point of avoiding where possible but the hissy NJs were all internet purchases from the US. Could be people look to sell on the hissy copies so they turn up more frequently among internet sales, who knows.


          • Thanks Deselby for question and Eduard Linshalm for answer. I made some research, here my results.
            NJLP 101 to 106 have been reissued on PRLP 201 to 206 (The Prestige label, a Discography, compiled by Michel Ruppli, 1980, pg 314-315), so this would state new Jazz prior to Prestige. I bought this book in London (ah ah) from Mole Jazz for the astonishing price of £53.95! Before Internet, books were the only source of info, not free.
            I’ve NJLP 101 only and the word Prestige isn’t anywhere. The address is 782 8th Ave. NYC 19, cover and labels.
            Side 2 is Tristano quintet with Lee Konitz, the real first recording session of all Prestige, Jan 11, 1949.
            Side 1 is Lee Konitz quintet from two 1949 sessions, June 28 and September 27, respectively 6th and 10th session.
            I would like Rudolf to confirm: he WAS there.


            • I was around somewhere, that is correct, but rather on the shores of the cradle of king Herring.
              Anyway, the dottore is right and wrong: there is the question of whether NJ or Prestige first. The name New Jazz appears first on the 78 rpm Konitz/Tristano sessions. The early 10″ LPs came out as New Jazz and/or Prestige: see Ruppli for the 8 april 1949 Getz session (NJLP 102 = PRLP 102). Konitz however only PRLP 101, according to Ruppli.
              The NEW New Jazz series NJ 1101 to 1106 is another thing: here we have one more one. The discographies say 1101 to 1106 equals Prestige 201 to 206. I think that 201 to 206 have never been issued, but have served to fill a hole in the 200 series. I have 1101 – 1106 on New Jazz and they are amongst my most cherished recordings.


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