|Parent company Verse Music Group|
Location New York City
Founder Gus Wildi
Country of origin U.S.
Parent organization Verse Music Group
Date founded 1953
|Artists Nina Simone, Mel Tormé, Johnny Hartman, Stan Levey, The Jazz Messengers|
Albums Little Girl Blue, Nina Simone and Her F, Art Blakey Big Band, East Coasting, Daddy Plays the Horn
Bethlehem Records was a jazz record company and label founded by Gus Wildi in 1953.
Bethlehem is remembered for its jazz releases from the 1950s. Producers included Creed Taylor and Teddy Charles. Bethlehem released the first albums recorded by singers Chris Connor (the dual releases Chris Connor Sings Lullabys for Lovers and Chris Connor Sings Lullabys of Birdland) in 1954, Nina Simone (Little Girl Blue) in 1958, and singer/actress Julie London. London did not record a full album for the label. She recorded four songs that would later be released on the compilation LP Bethlehem's Girlfriends in 1955, which also featured Chris Connor and Carmen McRae. Bethlehem recorded the debut album by Marilyn Moore and the album Somebody Loves Me by Jerri Winters, in addition to many many modern jazz musicians: Howard McGhee, Herbie Nichols, Pat Moran McCoy, Oscar Pettiford.
In 1958, Bethlehem began a distributing deal with King Records. In 1962, it was sold and absorbed by King. After Syd Nathan's death in 1968, King was acquired by Starday Records and relaunched as Starday and King Records. It was acquired in 1970 by Lin Broadcasting and in 1972 by Tennessee Recording & Publishing, until it ended up with the acquisition by Gusto Records in 1974. At that time, Bethlehem was purchased by the Cayre brothers' Salsoul Records, who initially intended to release its back catalog for inexpensive 8-track tapes in the 1970s. In 1993, the Bethlehem name was revived as Bethlehem Music Company, although Salsoul is often used as an imprint. It was licensed by the Verse Music Group in 2010.
During 2013–2014, Verve and Naxos reissued the 1950s catalogue on LP, CD, and digital download. This included music by Art Blakey, Chris Connor, Paula Castle, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Nina Simone, Mel Tormé, and Zoot Sims.
BCP 1000 Series
The BCP 1000 Series of 10 inch LP records commenced in September 1954 and ran until July 1955 when the label switched to 12 in LP releases.
BCP 12-Inch "Deluxe" Series
The BCP "Deluxe" Series of 12 inch LP records commenced in 1955 and ran until 1960. Early releases consisted of reissues of 10 inch albums from the BCP 1000 Series.
The 6000 series of 12 inch LP records commenced in 1956 and ran until 1964.