How a Niche Jazz Imprint, Resonance, Became Record Store Day’s Mascot Label

There’s no such thing as an “official label of Record Store Day,” of course; all of the majors and a significant portion of indie imprints participate in the semi-annual April and November gold rushes for limited-edition vinyl. But if Record Store Day had a mascot label, it would be Resonance Records, a small, L.A.-based jazz independent that’s become known even outside the genre for producing high-end archival releases tailored especially with the RSD market in mind.

For the 2018 Black Friday edition of Record Store Day, Resonance released a limited, 3000-copy edition of a project they’d been working on for four years, featuring newly unearthed music from the jazz great Eric Dolphy. Serious jazz fans have been anticipating “Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions” for a while; there’s a good reason why Dolphy is on the cover of the next Downbeat magazine, for the first time since his death in 1964. But some of the people snatching up this three-LP set Friday weren’t doing it because of Dolphy’s name, but because of Resonance’s. As one user on the very rock-oriented Steve Hoffman Forums website wrote of the Dolphy release Friday: “That one wasn’t really on my radar, and I’m pretty unfamiliar with him, but I have a bunch of the other Resonance releases from past RSDs — all fantastic — so I grabbed it.” For an item that retails in the $65-70 range, that’s a pretty much unparalleled faith in one label’s curatorial taste.

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