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A memory from Ronald Atkins

In my recorded interview for this site, I somehow failed to mention the significant part played by Peter Newbrook. He founded the label along with Carlo Krahmer and would have been responsible for its early development as a business while Carlo did the actual recordings of British jazz musicians. Both Peter and Carlo were directors along with their wives, Dawn and Greta The Esquire name was chosen by Peter and his uncle, who worked in the Rank Organisation’s publicity department, designed the logo. Peter drew up the initial contract with Bob Weinstock. Before launching Prestige, Weinstock ran a jazz record shop in New York and he stocked a handful of Esquire records; in the very early days of Prestige, the new label issued a few Esquires. Although the connection with Prestige now dominates public perception of Esquire, other labels contributed more to the company’s initial development. Peter supervised the links with leading European labels such as Blue Star of Paris which, among much else, gave Esquire the right to issue the American Dial recordings. Included was Charlie Parker’s Cool Blues, described as Esquire’s first big seller - they sold more than 5000 copies. These European connections led to Esquire having the initial rights to sub-let Prestige recordings to several countries in Europe, Sweden being an exception because there was already a Prestige tie-up with Metronome. Peter was impressed particularly with sales in France by the Barclay company. In my time he was rarely seen at Esquire, being very busy doing his primary job as a cinematographer working on such films as Lawrence Of Arabia. After Carlo’s death, he was involved in the release of some of the early Esquire recordings. The catalogue eventually became the property of Timeless Records in the Netherlands.

Ronald Atkins

The Esquire Cover Club presents in partnership with

EFG London Jazz Festival partners