Impulse in Europe

Last Updated: January 27, 2020

1. French Impulse – Sixties

1.1 First issues in France by VEGA, early Sixties



Note: French VEGA issues have liner notes in French. No indication whether US metal or remastered from copy tape. Catalogue number IMP 10 corresponds to USA  A-10.Correctly attributed to “Am Par”

1.2 Later ’60s French Impulse reissue
French 60s Impulse

Attributed to ABC Records Inc, later form of Paramount’s original form “Am Par”. Catalogue number given as AS 6 A – the suffix A/B was added only from A 72 onwards, and to earlier titles reissued after that time.

2. UK Impulse (HMV) early Sixties

2.1 Impulse released in UK under license by HMV , pressed by EMI

2.2 Late Sixties  UK HMV Impulse

Still under license to HMV, but the black label small Nipper.

2.3 Seventies Impulse – UK direct release by Impulse no longer needing a licensee.

3. Early Sixties Impulse-  Italy La Voce Del Padrone (His Masters Voice)

Italian purple HMV label releasing Impulse under license through Italian subsidiary. There is something about that language: “Disco infrangibile”


4. Holland – Artone

A-100 artone

5. Spain – Hispavox – Estereo! – mid ’60s


(Photo Credit: Discogs)

6. Impulse in Germany

Note anachronism – Am Par on label


Photo Courtesy of Marko

Next: Impulse in Japan

39 thoughts on “Impulse in Europe

  1. Now listening to ‘Coltrane “LIVE” at the Village Vanguard’ on excellent sounding Dutch pressing HAS 10, with orange-black label. Non-gatefold sleeve.. ‘RVG STEREO’ in the runout. Discogs tells me that N.V. Bovema pressed it (they also did excellent Blue Note reissues!), but not in which year. Familiar?


      • See attached images. So not the over-all orange Artone version, but a classic-Impulse! looking orange-black label. And excellent sound – no complaints there! Haphazard purchase that arrived in the (Netherlands) mail today.. had no idea which version I was buying for €20 + mail costs :-} greeting! Albin Hunia 

        Verzonden via Yahoo Mail op Android


        • Sorry, file attachments (images) are not supported in WordPress comments. Pictures need to be emailed directly to me at my mailbox address in CONTACT LJC in the blog banner, or uploaded to a third party image hosting site like Flickr, and you can then post the url in comments here. Could you please try either of these methods to share your pictures, thanks.


  2. Dear LJC,

    Maybe I’ve been browsing too quickly through this and your other Impulse labels guide.. ..but I seem to be missing the German Impulse/EMI/Columbia LP light-blue label (‘The Happy Horns of Clark Terry’) in your list..? Discogs mentions it’s from 1969.


  3. Hello
    Great site!
    Thank you
    The first French press of the impulse catalog were first released on Vega (mono)
    without gatefold cover but flip back cover
    Around 1967 Vega stops they start the kind of press you show on the picture with the U & gravure universelle (Stéréo) and With American gatefold cover
    Begin 70s Carrere took over.


    • 70s? The watershed is around 1973, when the black label red rim changes over to the all-black/neon logo. Though original orange label black ring is best where available, the black /red rim is quite acceptable, often uses same metal.

      The quality slips with the black/neon logo from 1973-8. Those Sun Ra reissues are pretty poor! Come 1978 arrives the green label, which are worse still.

      Generalisations of course, may depend a lot on title and underlying recording quality of that title, but a reasonable guide.


      • Sorry, I meant to the UK releases that were pressed after the HMV type.

        Are these comparable to the red ring US Impulse releases


        • Post-HMV UK manufactured Impulse, signifcantly inferior to US Black Red Rim. UK pressing went down hill fast after HMV. Even HMV, though they sound quite decent if that is all you have heard, do not compare well against original Van Gelder US pressings.


  4. Anyone got any info on German pressings? I’ve got a Coltrane’s Live At Birdland that has “Made in Germany” stamped in dead wax. It also says Am-Par, not Abc Paramount on thr label. What’s the story behind this? The sleeve is same as -64 US.


  5. I am currently staying over in Barcelona and have just picked up a Spanish Impulse pressing. Cover is gatefold US origin but vinyl is ‘under licence’ and on Hispavox without RVG etc in deadwax. A-52 mono Salt and Pepper, Sonny Stitt and Paul Gonsalves. €10, hola!


    • Do you know if this is a Frankenstein copy? i.e. a mismatched sleeve/record combination? Or were the Spanish pressings purposefully paired with US sleeves?


  6. I was in Barcelona earlier this week and bought a french pressing of Sun Ship, also in orange/black ring making it much more attractive than the original US press 🙂
    I think it sounds very lively.



  7. Ok I misunderstood your comment. It could be that Africa Brass is the only Impulse issued by La Voce and with that label. I was lucky to find a NM copy of this one, it’s a fully laminated (not gatefold) cover and thick vinyl.


  8. Regarding LJC’s question whether this french Impulse is from imported stampers or locally made, I can only give an answer for my Véga pressing: it has A 35 1 printed in the dead wax, nothing else. My american pressing of same has AS 35 hand-etched and RVG and stereo printed. Thus the Véga looks to have been made from a french master. The sound of this album is very good, the top.


  9. I acquired a VEGA pressing of Impulse 35. It is not G.U. (gravure universelle, i.e. mono/stereo), like the one shown hereinabove from the french seller, but a real monaural issue. Orange/black labels, in small characters “production vega”, BIEM and a circular text in white characters. The cover is a soft flip over cover with a french text, unlike the imported US fold-out cover with English text of my former AS-121, which had a gold G.U. sticker on it.


  10. Today I saw an Italian pressing of Blues and Abstract Truth at my LBS (with the label as shown above) which had the RVG stamp in the deadwax. Any experience of this? I passed on it but may go back – after all an original is not going to be cheap – it was in excellent condition as well.


      • Yes., it exists. Astonishingly, it seems Impulse sent RVG-originating metalwork to press this title in Italy, the same production model as was used between Prestige and Esquire. I have listened to said title on Italian Impulse obtained by a friend, and I can confirm it is the real deal.

        Whether this practice applied to other titles I have no way of knowing, but if you can find the Italian edition of B&TAT, grab it with both hands


        • Well it would churlish not to go back and pick it up now. I think what put me off was the lack of a gatefold cover – it was £20 though and for that you can’t have it all


          • Well, solid advice as ever LJC. I returned to pick this up and I am most pleased. Despite the large scale orchestration the mono is surprisingly good on this edition and the music emerges from a black background on pretty much excellent grade vinyl.
            As fate would have it, I also discovered, on the same return visit to my shop, an earlier red-ring Impulse! label pressing and Van Gelder Stereo-stamped edition of Gil Evans’ Out of the Cool for a tenner. The vinyl was a bit noisier and the Italian pressing compared very well.


        • I’ve never seen such pressings, neither one in my life.
          I’ve been collecting Impulse since 1968: at the time all were original USA issues, distributed by La Voce del Padrone (italian for HMV).
          first years of label may have been printed under license.
          “disco infrangibile” means unbreakable record.


          • If you look carefully you can see part of the RVG stamp in the deadwax of the label of Africa Brass shown above – right in the bottom left hand corner.


            • Dottorjazz, would you be so kind to tell us which coltrane’s Impulse! titles were issued in Italy by La voce del Padrone? Or all the Impulse! in general if you want. Thank you! Luciano


              • hi Luciano: I don’t know. as I wrote, I’ve never seen an Italian issue. the whole USA catalogue was widely distributed since the first numbers and was easily available in record shops. as originals had a greater appeal (album covers), I don’t think many numbers were pressed.


  11. French Impulse are not US metalwork like Prestige. They are remastered by local engineers from copy tape. Frankly they vary from title to title, some good, some indifferent. If you want to be sure what you are getting, there is no substitute for Impulse RVG/VAN GELDER original US. sad but an expensive fact of life.


  12. renaissance of a buried thread: are french impulse from the sixties “rebadged” u.s or genuine french pressings? some say Pathé plants managed it but used imported/printed u.s sleeve covers.
    they sound very good anyway
    any info welcomed…


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