A New York based label known primarily for its extensive classic music catalog and its jazz records including those by such stalwarts as Hot Lips Page, Cozy Cole and Slam Stewart, but is most notable for being the first stop in the career of Sarah Vaughan.

The company was started in 1942 by Donald Gabor, a trained recording engineer who started at RCA in 1938 as a shipping clerk before moving into production. When he left to start Continental it was to record composer and pianist Béla Bartók, who like Gabor was from Hungary. He quickly branched out from classical into jazz and as was common at the time a lot of big names appeared on the label, even if it was only playing on the records of others.

One of the artists signed was pianist Leonard Feather whose biggest musical successes came as a songwriter for Dinah Washington among others, but who gained his greatest renown for his critical work, overseeing Metronome magazine and later as the jazz critic for The Los Angeles Times as well his his thousands of liner notes during the glory days of the album era in jazz. It was through his efforts that Vaughan wound up recording for Continental after hearing her sing with Dizzy Gillespie. For her second session Feather brought in such heavyweights as Gillespie, Max Roache and Charlie Parker to back her which gave Continental an historical cachet with jazz fans.

By 1948 Continental had made excursions into the outskirts of rock with saxophonist Frank Culley’s initial records which, like a lot of their output at the time, were also issued on Lenox Records which Gabor also oversaw.

With the advent of the 33 RPM long playing record format Gabor started Remington Records and released many of his earlier Continental singles on LP, the albums becoming known for their far lower prices than those of their competitors, and Continental quickly was phased out.
CONTINENTAL RECORDS DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

THE DIXIEAIRES: You Can’t Cure The Blues (2) (Continental 6067; October, 1948)
FRANK “FLOORSHOW” CULLEY: Ready For Action (5) (Continental 6070; October, 1948)
FRAANK “FLOORSHOW” CULLEY: The Pig Is Diggin’ (5) (Continental 6070; October, 1948)