Meet the collector
Stefano Wagner was born in 1964 in Zurich, and currently lives in Lugano, in Switzerland's Italian-speaking region. He trained as an engineer, runs a company specialising in urban planning, and is married with three daughters.
For over 20 years he has been an enthusiastic collector of vinyl records, now totalling over 10,000 items - mainly jazz recordings of the 1950s and 60s, but also including some later rock and pop releases.
The collection notably features the jazz output of America's Prestige and Riverside labels, and their recordings of stars including Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Eric Dolphy, and Gil Evans - but Stefano Wagner is fascinated not only by the music, but by the artwork and typography of the covers, particularly as created by local artists in various countries, presenting quite different visual interpretations of the same release. His Prestige collection highlights the visual diversity of the New York label's international reissues, published under license from the company in the Netherlands, Argentina, Germany, Italy and the UK.
In 2016, Stefano Wagner began to share his collection through themed exhibitions, beginning at Lugano’s public library with 'A Jazz Record Story - Prestige from the Stefano Wagner collection', followed in 2017 by 'A Century of Jazz - Impromptu Creativity' at the Max Museum in Chiasso, and in 2018 by 'Paul Bacon and Riverside Records - The Reissues of "Race" Records'.
The Esquire Covers Club, conceived for the 2020 EFG London Jazz Festival, is the latest in this series.
Examples of Esquire Records catalogues
2016 - Prestige covers exhibition
Lugano public library
2017 - A Century of Jazz - Impromptu Creativity
Max Museum in Chiasso
2018 - Paul Bacon art design and its Riverside covers
Ascona New Orleans Jazz festival