Blue Notes and Monk at 100

Thanks to Daryl and to all the thoughtful, and not so thoughtful (just kidding), commenters on the previous post. Given how sporadically I’ve been posting lately, it’s nice to get some other voices involved. I do have a full complement of jazz records in my eBay watch list, so I will share some of the more interesting items, starting with Lee Morgan, Volume 3, Blue Note 1557. This was an original West 63rd New York 23 pressing that was listed in M- condition for the record and perhaps just a shade below M- for the cover. There were 21 bidders and 37 bids and a final price of $3,629 that jumped from $2,000 in the final seconds. This is not the highest price we’ve seen for this record, according to Popsike, which recorded a copy selling for $4,177 last year. Still, it’s way up there. Brings to mind a note I received from one of our readers last week, linking to a recent article about million-dollar comic books and wondering why, jokingly, the recent Lee Morgan documentary didn’t have a similar impact. Well, we’re not yet in the millions, but our jazz records are definitely on the rise. Plus, we get to listen to what we collect, not just look at it, although looking at it is cool too, as was well discussed in the prior post.

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Originals vs. Reissues, Another Point of View

Today we have a guest column by one of our loyal readers. I’ve been corresponding with Daryl Parks periodically for years and am pleased that we are finally able to provide him with a forum for his ideas. This one, we hope, should provoke some thoughts and discussion

By Daryl Parks

Discogs currently features an original Blue Note, first press, mono, deep groove copy of the Art Blakey A Night at Birdland Vol2  (VG+/VG+) for $500. Discogs also offers a (NM) 1985 Direct Metal Master, (DMM) French, “Cadre Rouge Audiophile” version, on scrawny vinyl, of the LP for $20 + postage. I own the original Blue Note (VG++) and the DMM re-issue (NM).  Prepare for heresy: I prefer the sound of the inexpensive, DMM, anorexic-vinyl re-issue. I’m not sure how to make sense of that. Read more

And Four Blue Notes, For a Price

Since I was away for so long, I’d like to catch up on some jazz vinyl auctions I missed, starting with a few from our friends at the Jazz Record Center. Let’s start with John Jenkins with Kenny Burrell, Blue Note 1573. This was an original pressing that looked to be in M- pristine condition. The final price was $1,382. This may sound weird, but that price seems a little low to me, considering the condition and the reputation of the seller. Just did a quick check over at Popsike and, indeed, this record has sold for more than $2,000 in the past. I have no theories to offer on this, particularly now that the Jazz Record Center accepts Pay Pal, but the market is the market and it often simple reflects who is bidding against whom at that particular time.

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Four Favorites, For a Price

Back online again and tracking some of my favorite jazz records on eBay, starting with Jackie McLean, McLean’s Scene, New Jazz 8212. This is an original deep groove purple label pressing. The record is listed in VG+ or perhaps better condition and the cover is VG++. The start price is about $200 and so far there are no bidders with more than five days left. This one will get action, right?

Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, Columbia 1355. This is an original white label promotional copy. The record is listed in M- condition and the cover is Ex or Ex+ condition. There are more than four days left on the auction and the bidding is in the $170 range, with 13 bids. Curious to see where this ends up. We were watching a promo Kind of Blue a few weeks ago that had a $600 start price and no bidders — but it also had some condition questions. We have seen promo copies sell for as much as $2,700 in the past, but this one will not get to that level.

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Portait In Jazz Prices

When I’m not posting frequently enough I can always count on our friend CeeDee to gently prod me with a list of auctions he’s been tracking. Now I know how infrequently I’ve been posting, since the latest missive from CeeDee is replete with TEN listings, so let’s look at some of the highlights, starting with Bill Evans, Portrait in Jazz, Riverside 315. This record sold for $767, and CeeDee expresses surprise that a later pressing would attract such a high price. I agree, but I can’t determine from the listing that this is, in fact, a later pressing. The seller describes it as an original U.S. pressing, with an M- record and Ex cover. It isn’t fully clear to me what the pictures entail, since the first picture is described as a stock photo “for illustration purposes only.” Anyway, I’m probably being obtuse today so if anyone (CeeDee?) can clear things up, I would greatly appreciate it.

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Full House: Two Byrds and Three Blue Notes

Back on eBay again after yet another unexpected absence, which are becoming all to frequent, unfortunately. Anyway, here’s some of the jazz vinyl we’re watching, starting with a pair of Byrds: Donald Byrd, Byrd in Paris, Brunswick, 87 903. This is an original French pressing listed in VG+ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. Actually, the seller lists the record in VG++ for the record, but states that the audio quality is just VG+ with some background noise. Somehow, for me as a collector, I’d prefer that the record sound good as opposed to look good. Anyway, this one has a start bid of $349 and a buy-it-now price of $500, which is the top price we’ve seen for this particular pressing on Popsike. I don’t own this particular record, but I have a beautiful pressing of the other Byrd in Paris Brunswick record, the one with the picture of Byrd on the cover eating French Fries. That one has already broken the $1,100 bin. Not sure if it’s the music that is more enticing, or the cover.

The other Byrd is Byrd’s Eye View, Transition 4. The record looks to be in VG++ condition, based on the seller’s description, and the cover looks to be about VG+. There is also the booklet, which is described as being in “perfect” condition. Bidding is in the $525 range and, by the time most of you read this, the auction will probably be closed. This one is a regular visitor to the $1,000 bin, so I certainly won’t be surprised if this copy ends up there as well, considering the condition.

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Guest Review: Goldmine Jazz Album Price Guide

A few weeks ago one of our regular readers, Jay Fulmer,  asked if I had a chance to review the Goldmine Jazz Album Price Guide 3rd edition. This is not something I normally look at. Honestly, when I last looked at it maybe 10 years ago the prices were so off-base, IMHO, that I dismissed it pretty handily. Beyond that, if I want to know the REAL market value of an item, I typically look at Popsike or completed listings on eBay. Putting my own prejudices aside, however, I suggested that if Jay wanted to share his thoughts with the rest of the Jazz Collector community, he was more than welcome to write a guest column. He did. Here it is.

Review: Goldmine Jazz Album Price Guide 3rd Edition
By Jay Fulmer

More than a decade since the release of the 2nd edition, the 3rd edition of the Goldmine Jazz Album Price Guide is here.  As expected, many LPs have increased in value, but the changes in format from the 1st and 2nd edition are worth noting.

There is a new author for the 3rd edition, Dave Thompson, so I am assuming the format changes originate with him.  The 3rd edition only gives a NM value for listings.  With the addition of new listings this was probably the easiest way to save space.  Anyone familiar with Goldmine’s pricing can easily enough extrapolate backwards, and those unfamiliar with their grading/pricing structure should from now on only buy NM albums! Read more

How We Listen & How We Collect

Thanks to all for keeping the site current during my unexpected and prolonged absence. More than 60 comments and counting on the last item is quite impressive. I will try not to do that too often, but I was able to get a much-needed break from life and work and spend some time with The Lovely Mrs. JC in beautiful Provincetown, Ma., where we got to sit on the beach, view the eclipse, eat lobster and marvel at the beautiful sunsets and scenery. Now that I am back I feel compelled to at least catch up on some of the ongoing conversations and items I was watching before I left.

Let’s start with the riff on listening or not listening to our records. I don’t begrudge anybody their preferences on how to collection. As far as I’m concerned, it’s your money, your time, your enjoyment. Do whatever you want. As for me, I find that, in reality, my approach is somewhat mixed. I have no problem at all putting any of my records on my turntable and, in fact, take tremendous pleasure in listening to the real rarities in their original form and format. Just the other day I put on my beautiful mint original pressing of Saxophone Colossus, poured a glass of Porter and listened from beginning to end. Sheer ecstasy. And a few days before that, I took my portable Califone record player out to the porch here in The Berkshires and brought out a bunch of original 78s — Fats Waller, Louis Jordan, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday and Lester Young. Again, sheer ecstasy.

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Promo Day

Promo records have never seemed to be a big thing in the Jazz Collector world, at least not compared to other genres, but there are some promo records that seem to catch collector’s eyes, including Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, Columbia 1355. This looks to be  an original mono pressing with the red and white promo labels and the 6-eyes. The seller talks about the record being in “nice shape” but doesn’t actually give a grade and mentions a scratch that cuts across side B. All of that would be somewhat OK for gamblers, but it is also a seller that does not accept returns. A lot of risk to ask, IMHO, for a record that has a start price of $600. So far there are no takers. A quick view over at Popsike shows that a promo copy of Kind of Blue recently sold for $2,700, so the seller is probably not coming from left field with that price tag. We’ll keep a watch and see if it sells. My bet? Yes, it will.

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Ephemera on my Mind

I was watching a recent auction on eBay from the Jazz Record Center focused on books, magazines, programs and other ephemera. I was curious because I have amassed a large collection of this type of stuff over the years, including duplicates, and I’m thinking about scaling back what I have, including the idea of adding a storefront to the Jazz Collector site. Just thinking about it at this stage, and I am not always the best at turning thoughts into action, so don’t anyone get too excited. Anyway, one of the items that caught my eye was this book: Four Lives in the BeBop Business, by A.B. Spellman. This was a first edition and the Jazz Record Center put a start price of $65 on it. And I was thinking, I have a copy of this and if someone offered me $65 I’m pretty sure I would sell it. But there were no bids on this item, so I have no idea at this point what the real market value would be.

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