Esquire Back Covers

The back cover of each 32-000 series Esquire release has several key indications that place it in its relative chronology between 1956 and 1964, and may indicate its status as a first or second pressing, which is important to collectors..

These are

  • The price printed on top left and right. This changed only once, from 39/71/2 d to 37/91/2 d  around 32-080, (probably reflecting the drop in purchase tax in April 1959) and finally disappeared from the cover around 32-129 and never reappeared.
  • The printing of the title artist and catalogue number, initially on the fold which approximates to the spine,  to printing on the vertical back flap of the front cover, which change occurs in my collection around 32-090 through to the end of jazz series and the demise of the  Esquire label  in 1964


These changes overlap for a few titles around the changeover point but a significant anomaly e.g. a popular early release (low catalogue number) which shows the later reduced price or no price, and has title printed on the back flap instead of the spine will be a second pressing.

Some releases are known to have had (at least) two pressings, indicated with an asterisked title below. Reviewing the the ninety-odd Esquire titles documented it looks like several of the releases of Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins have had several pressings whilst most of the other titles bear the expected chronolgy i.e  they have the cover features you would expect in line with their catalogue number

In addition to differentation by  price and spine printing,  European editions have the title printed on the back flap in a different direction to the UK edition text, and  early Esquire covers have a laminated back finish whilst later are un-laminated matt paper.

UPDATE January 27, 2013: merging information from two large separate Esquire collections (LJC and RF) provides a verified status for nearly half of all 12″ 32-000 series titles issued by Esquire between 1956-64, shown below. Some titles are known to have at least two editions (asterisked), others may exist that we don’t have an example of.

Retail Price Tiitle on SPine or   back FLap
Esq   No.32- Artist/Title 39/7 37/9 no rp SP FL
011 Stan Getz Collates ? 37/9  ? FL
013 Donald Byrd Birds Eye View 39/7 SP
014 Gerry Mulligan Mulligan’s Too 39/7 SP
019 Donald Byrd Byrd’s Jazz ? no rp SP
020 Phil Woods Woodlore 39/7 SP
024 MJQ in Hi Fi 39/7 SP
025 Sonny Rollins Sonny Plus Four 39/7 SP
026 Donald Byrd Pairing Off 39/7 SP
027 Lee Konitz Collates 39/7 SP
029 Hank Mobley Mobley’s Message 39/7 SP
030 Miles Davis Collector’s Item 39/7 SP
032 George Wallington Jazz f/t Carriage Trade 39/7 SP
033 Frank Foster Wail frank, Wail 39/7 SP
034 Tadd Dameron Fontainebleau 39/7 SP
035 Sonny Rollins Perspectives 39/7 SP
036 Trombone by Three 39/7 SP
038 Sonny Rollins Worktime 39/7 SP
039 Elmo Hope Informal Jazz 39/7 SP
040 Jon Eardley Down East 39/7 SP
041 Jackie McLean Lights Out 39/7 SP
042 Art Farmer Charts 39/7 SP
045 Sonny Rollins Saxophone Colossus 39/7 SP
046 Red Garland Garland of Red ? 37/9 ? FL
048 Miles Davis Cookin’ * 39/7  37/9 SP
049 Sonny Stitt S.P.J. Jazz * 39/7  no rp SP
050 Phil Woods Phil and Quill 39/7 SP
051 Mose Alison Back Country Suite ? 37/9 SP
052 Miles et al. Conception 39/7 SP
059 John Coltrane Tenor Conclave 39/7 SP
065 Prestige All Stars OLIO 39/7 SP
068 Miles Davis Relaxin’ * 39/7  37/9 SP  FL
070 Gil Evans and  10 39/7 SP
071 Mose Allison Local Color 39/7 SP
072 Art Farmer Two Trumpets 39/7 SP
073 Hal McKusick Triple Exposure 39/7 SP
074 Woods-Quill-Shihab-Stein Four Altos 39/7 SP
075 Sonny Rollins Rollins Plays for Bird * 39/7  37/9 SP  FL
078 Sonny Stitt Stitts Bits 39/7 SP
079 John Coltrane Coltrane 37/9 FL
085 Sonny Rollins Tour de Force 37/9 SP
088 Miles Davis Blue Haze 37/9 SP
089 John Coltrane Soultrane 37/9 SP
090 Miles Davis Bags Groove 37/9 FL
093 Three Trumpets 37/9
097 Gene Amons Jammin’ with Gene 37/9 FL
098 Miles Davis Walkin’ 37/9 FL
099 Red Garland Quintet All Mornin’ Long 37/9 FL
100 Miles Davis And the Modern Giants * 37/9 no rp FL
102 Colemen Hawkins Hawk Eyes 37/9 FL
107 Prestige All Stars All Day Long 37/9 FL
108 Miles Davis Workin’ 37/9 FL
109 Thelonious Monk Quintets 37/9 FL
110 Prestige Swingers Outskirts of Town 37/9 FL
111 Jackie Mclean Jackie’s Pal 37/9 FL
112 Sonny Stitt Kaleidoscope 37/9 FL
113 Teo Macero w/Prestige Jazz Quartet 37/9 FL
115 Thelonious Monk Work! 37/9 FL
118 Miles Davis Early Miles/and Horns no rp FL
119 Thelonious Monk Monks Moods no rp FL
120 Art Farmer Earthy 37/9 FL
124 MJQ Looking back at the MJQ 37/9 FL
128 Eddie Lockjaw Davis in Orbit no rp FL
125 Benny Golson Gone with Golson 37/9 FL
129 John Coltrane Lush Life no rp FL
132 George Wallington New York Scene no rp FL
137 Art Farmer Farmer’s Market no rp FL
138 Miles Davis Steamin’ no rp FL
140 Prestige All Stars All Night Long no rp FL
142 Lem Winchester Winchester Special no rp FL
143 Steve Lacy Soprano Today no rp FL
144 Johnny Griffin The Tenor Scene no rp FL
145 Hip Bones J.J. Kai Benny Green no rp FL
146 Red Garland Rojo no rp FL
148 Oliver Nelson Screamin’ The Blues no rp FL
149 Art Taylor Taylor’s Tenors no rp FL
152 Lem Winchester Lem’s Beat no rp FL
155 Sonny Rollins Movin’ Out no rp FL
156 Tommy Flanagan w. John Coltrane no rp FL
157 Charlie Parker Bird is Free no rp FL
162 Oliver Nelson Afro/American Sketches no rp FL
163 Roy Haynes Just Us no rp SP
164 Roland Kirk Kirks Work no rp FL
168 Oliver Nelson Straight Ahead no rp FL
169 Johnnie Pate At The Blue Note no rp FL
175 Sonny Rollins Sonny Boy no rp FL
176 Mal Waldron Impressions no rp FL
178 Gene Amons Bad! Bossa Nova no rp FL
179 John Coltrane Standard Coltrane no rp FL
181 Gigi Gryce Rat Race Blues no rp FL
184 Arnett Cobb More Party Time no rp FL
185 Dizzy Reece Asia Minor no rp FL
187 Art Farmer  Early Art no rp FL
Source : Esquire Collections of LJC and RF
Note: ? indicates may exist (unverified) * title known to exist in two pressings, variation as shown

7 thoughts on “Esquire Back Covers

  1. For some reason number 103 is not listed here. It is the well known Roy Haynes ‘We Three’ album (with Phineas Newborn and Paul Chambers), 37/9 and FL. Hope useful.


    • Great work gentlemen. Looking forward to seeing your notes incorporated into the piece. Do either of you happen to have a couple of spare loose poly bag inners like the one pictured with 32-109. hapy to pay or trade you for some of the Decca Vogue sleeves I have in great shape.


      • elaborate…..
        Sorry John I cannot help you. Did away with them when I bought the albums originally and replaced them by brown Kraft paper sleeves. I only got some in the last years when I bought the eodd missing Esquires.


  2. wow,what an amazing research, in such a short time. Thank for giving this fantastic review. I am not a methodical man, but I observe. To see it all neatly exposed, as you did, is something really exceptional.
    I will go through my collection of Esquires, and we will compare notes later on.


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