Maxsa 1

Maxsa (France) / c. 1926

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Design: A rather strange combination of angular lettering for the label name (following the outer curve in the pre-WWI fashion), and loosely-drawn plant-like curlicues, which sprout up from the black 'soil' of the lower segment. In the same way, the circular spindle hole is punched through the centre of a black square. The area allowed for imprinting is somewhat cramped because of the predominance of graphics and the arched logo at the foot.

History: Label scan courtesy of music researcher and collector Bill Dean-Myatt of the U.K. Thanks to collector and music researcher Yannick Séité of France for the following info: "Max Sayag (whose real name was Simon-Max Saiac) was a French businessman, born in Oran, Algeria, at the end of 19th century. His brother Edmond managed many fashionable music-halls and cabarets in Europe, especially in Paris (Les Ambassadeurs), Ostend (Kursaal) and Monte-Carlo. These places had welcomed several American stars during the 1920s (Florence Mills with the Blackbirds, Paul Whiteman, Ted Lewis etc.), and had provided work for many obscure jazz musicians. The Maxsa label, which he founded in 1923, established commercial partnerships with US companies such as Paramount, Puritan and Plaza, and marketed only American jazz and dance music. The catalog consisted almost exclusively of white combos, but also contained some material by artists such as Trixie Smith and Fletcher Henderson (e.g. 'Mandy, Make Up Your Mind,' highlighting Louis Armstrong). Maxsa records are very hard to find because they were not sold through the usual commercial networks. One could only find them in the foyer of theaters owned by the Sayag brothers, in certain department stores or through very small retailers. Nevertheless, Maxsa is historically important because, many years before the Swing label, it was really the first label to deal exclusively with jazz music. The role of the Sayag brothers in the diffusion of jazz in France and beyond (according to musicologist Ate Van Delden, Maxsa was connected to the Polish label Usiba) should not be underestimated and is a subject deserving of thorough research."

Design variations of this label in this decade (click on image to view page):

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