Dreyfus Records is a small independent (AFAIK) record label that originated in France but is now operating out of New York. They are a specialist jazz label and have a penchant for releasing some unknown new talents as well as classic recordings by the jazz artists we all love. They are also active on the Celtic and New Age music market to a lesser extent. Probably their greatest claim to fame is the fact that they were home to the now world famous synthesizer guru Jean-Michel Jarre in his early days. I know for a fact that Rendez vous, Zoolook, Revolutions and Les Champs Magnetiques were released on Dreyfus, although in some cases Polydor has distributed these; in Europe at least.

Dreyfus is a true audiophile label with a meticulous attention to detail and quality of both their recordings as well as the packaging and design. A part of their mission drive is educating listeners, getting them hooked on new styles and hopefully leading more people to discover jazz. To do this they have released a huge variety of samplers and reference collection records. The greatest on of these in my opinion is the massive ‘Jazz Référence‘ Collection. It was released over a period of three years from 2000 till 2002. It was intended to serve as an introduction to the wonderful breadth of jazz music. It features the virtuosity of Charlie Parker and the moving vocal performances by Billie Holiday and much more.

The collection does not focus on any one style or artist. Instead each record is a sampler of some of that artist’s quintessential (but not always the most famous) work. Even though primarily intended for the uninitiated jazz listener it can form a very interesting addition to the serious listener’s collection as well. This effect is magnified thanks to the wonderful design of the CDs themselves, each one is packed in a high quality glossy digipak and each is adorned by a different reproduction of an interesting piece of abstract art. Strangely enough after listening to for example the Fireworks record by Louis Armstrong, you will say to yourself: “Damn this is one piece of cover art which actually conveys the content quite well!” And if you are like me you will rush out and fill out the collection. I cannot recommend any sampler collection in any genre higher than this particular one. Buying all of the 27 records at one time maybe a little expensive, but believe me it’s preferable to even VBR or extremely high bit rate MP3. Turn off Kazaa for a day and go the store!

Record Listing

Record Listing Source: My CD shelf

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