I just picked up The New York Times this morning and saw the Jim Hall has passed away at the age of 83. He was an excellent player and quite influential. I used to see him quite often at the Village Gate in the 1970s, and as recently as a few years ago at the Village Vanguard. I loved the way he played off his fellow musicians, particularly Sonny Rollins and Paul Desmond. There’s an apocryphal story that Sonny Rollins fired Jim Hall after a Downbeat cover featured Hall and had Sonny in the background. The story was that it had to do with race and Sonny was pressured because he was the leader and Hall was the sideman. I don’t know if this story was actually true, but I have a feeling my friend Dan knows the real story, as he was friends with Jim. So I am hoping perhaps Dan can comment here. I was just looking through the collection I purchased last week and one of the records was Jazz Guitar: Jim Hall on Pacific Jazz. At some point today I will place it on the turntable. Perhaps also If Ever I Would Leave You from the Sonny Rollins Album What’s New. Or Time After Time, Jim Hall with Paul Desmond. There is a wide range of choices.
In my mad frenzy to and from Baltimore, and now sorting through, cleaning and listening to records from that score, I have been ignoring the usual eBay watching that is part of the regular routine here at Jazz Collector. Here are a couple of items that readers have pointed to, both of which have been mentioned in comments, but certainly worthy of their own post and some more discussion.
This was one that seemed to strike a nerve: Bud Powell, The Scene Changes, Blue Note 4009. This was an original pressing in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The seller was one of the regulars on eBay, with a good reputation. The condition and seller and something in the air combined to somehow drive the price of this record to $2,125, quite astonishing wouldn’t you say?
This other one also caught some attention, partly because of the price and partly because I mentioned it as part of the collection I purchased: Tommy Flanagan Overseas, Prestige 7134. This was Read More..
So I was back on the phone with Dan and poring through a box of Charlie Parker 78s. There were a bunch of Dials, some Mercurys and Savoys. I had never had much luck securing Charlie Parker Dials, so this would be a very welcome addition to my collection. Then I went into another one of those Capital mailers and it was filled with Blue Notes. A bunch by Miles Davis and Lou Donaldson, including “If I Love Again,” which Dan put on in the background to accompany me. These, too would be a welcome addition to the collection and they made me realize how pleased I was that this collection ended up in my hands because I would really treasure and appreciate these records. There aren’t that many people who collect and appreciate 78s anymore and I, fortunately, happen to be one. They also seem to fit quite nicely into my collection, filling in a lot of the gaps.
So now some of the best records from the Uncle Bruce Baltimore collection were in my apartment and it was about 1 in the morning and, of course, I couldn’t sleep knowing the records were sitting there waiting to be perused. I moved the records from boxes to crates and began just looking through them one more time, this time with no hurry, no rush. It was a great moment, a man, a dog and his score. I didn’t listen to any of the records at this point. There was just something about keeping them as a whole and letting the feeling linger that I didn’t want to disturb.
When morning came I had to get ready for the WFMU Record Fair. I already had 14 boxes of other records in my cramped apartment. I started looking through the Baltimore collection to see if there was anything obvious I could pull out and possibly sell at the record show. I found a few items: There were three Sonny Rollins Blue Notes I now had in triplicates; the copy of Mating Call was an upgrade from my copy; I already had two mint copies of Study in Brown, so I could sell a spare. Same with John Coltrane with the Red Garland Trio, Prestige 7123, and one of the Bud Powell Blue Notes
So I was carefully handling the first record in the first box, Miles Davis Volume 2, Blue Note 5022. I had once owned this record in poor condition. It was so poor, in fact, I didn’t even want it in my collection, so I sold it on eBay. This one in my hands, under the light, an original pressing, 767 Lexington Avenue, I don’t think it was ever played. Maybe once, on the day that Uncle Bruce purchased the record, which was August 20, 1954. I know that because Uncle Bruce clearly marked the date in pen “8-20-54” on the back of the record, in the upper left corner. There was also the original price of the record in pencil on the upper right corner in the back: 3.75. Otherwise, the cover was quite clean, a little bit of splitting at one seam, a little wear on the front. For eBay I would grade it as VG++. For me, as a collector, I would grade it as very sweet.
I was all set to drive down to Baltimore on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. But there were a few problems. First, I couldn’t sleep. My mind could not shut down from thinking about the records. Were they originals? Would they be in good condition? Was I paying too much? How would I pay for them? Did I want to carry all that cash to Baltimore? Which car would I use to get them? Would it be big enough? What if it wasn’t? Would I need to bring boxes for the records? Where would I put the records when I got home? How would I sort them out? How would I get them into the car if the car were already filled with records from the WFMU Record Fair? These were just a few of the thousands of questions swirling inside my brain.
So before I could call Rob and talk about the records, I needed to have two other conversations. The first was with Dan. Dan and I have been friends since first grade and we got into collecting jazz records at around the same time. Dan was always much more aggressive and adept than me at finding great records and he amassed a great collection, which at some point nearly 30 years ago ended up in my hands. We have always shared our hunts and scores and so I called Dan to tell him about the collection in Baltimore. He heard some of the titles and basically said: “You should have those records.”
Next up? The Lovely Mrs. JC, of course. I told her that there was an interesting collection that someone had sent me on email. She saw the familiar gleam in my eye.
I had thought I was finished buying collections. I had gotten so much joy out of buying the Irving Kalus collection last year, I thought nothing else would compare. It was such a nice collection I didn’t think I’d ever be able to top it, so why try? I’d hardly bought a record at all in more than 18 months. I had passed on every inquiry coming in to Jazz Collector. I was happy and content with the collection I had amassed during the past 40-plus years of being a jazz collector. I am not a dealer, I am a collector, proudly so, and I have no aspirations to be a dealer. My site is Jazz Collector, not Jazz Seller. It’s been about three years since I even sold a record on eBay. So what would I do with even more records?
Yet here I was with this list of records sitting in front of me. And it was an odd list.
On Thursday, Nov. 14, 2103, I received the following e-mail:
When our father passed away, my siblings and I inherited our Uncle Bruce’s jazz record collection. It’s roughly 1,000 records and spans from the mid ‘50s to the mid ‘70s. Apparently our uncle was a serious collector, the rumor is that we only got part of the collection. However, the part we have isn’t bad from what I can tell, because it includes the following Artists/Titles that currently appear in articles on your site: John Coltrane/Blue Train; John Coltrane/Soultrane; Wynton Kelly/Kelly at Midnight; Hank Mobley/Mobley’s 2nd Message; Sonny Rollins/Saxophone Colossus.
We are selling the entire collection. Please let me know if you’re interested or have any suggestions about the best/most efficient way to reach the target audience.
Rob (Baltimore, MD)”
Sorry to keep teasing this, but I have been so busy with my real work, trying to make deadlines before the Thanksgiving holiday, that I haven’t been able to sit down and write the story of my latest score. To be fair, I have also been busy going through records. As part the collection, there were three boxes of 78s that the guy didn’t realize he had. I opened one box, saw that the record on top was a Prestige and said, “Oh, I’ll be happy to take these as well.” I just got those boxes out of the car. To give you a sense: In one of the boxes, there was an old mailing carton from Capital records. On the box, the owner had written: “Chas. Parker, Assorted Mercury, Dial, Savoy, 1-1-54.” The carton was full. Each record was unplayed. I promise to begin telling the whole story by the end of the week.
This promises to be quite a weekend for Jazz Collector. Today and tomorrow I will have a table at the WFMU Record Fair in New York. If you’re in town, please come and visit.
More important: Last night I drove from New York to Baltimore to look at a collection. I will write about it later in the weekend but, suffice to say, my living room is inundated with vinyl.
Here are a few titles to pique your interest and whet your appetite:
Tommy Flanagan Overseas
Jutta Hipp with Zoot Sims
Elmo Hope, Informal Jazz
Jackie McLean, Jackie’s Pal
Not to mention, 15 10-inch Blue Notes. Nearly everything pristine, much of it in its original packaging with the rice paper sleeve and loose plastic bags. I am quite a happy camper.
Let’s catch up on a few more jazz vinyl auctions we were tracking, including: Eric Dolphy, Out There, New Jazz 8252. This was an original pressing with the purple labels and deep grooves. The record looked to be in VG++ condition and the cover was VG+. The price was $416. I like the covers on this one and Outward Bound. Very cool, and reflective in their way of the music.
This one from the Jazz Record Center wound up selling and fetching a pretty nice price: Lester Young, The President, Norgran 1005. This was an original yellow label pressing in what looked to be M- condition for the cover and the record. The final price was $365.
Here are a few other items from the Jazz Record Center auction:
Tommy Flanagan, The Cats, New Jazz 8217. This was an original purple label deep groove pressing in M- condition for both the cover and the record. It sold for $449.
Congratulations to our new friend Vinylrealist who is having quite a nice week for himself on eBay. Here are a couple of his recent auctions: J.R. Monterose, Blue Note 1536. This was an original Lexington Avenue pressing with a very nice note signed by J.R. The record was in M- condition and the cover was Ex and looked quite nice from the pictures. Would love to own this copy of that record, but not at this price, which was $2,358. Also, Introducing Johnny Griffin, Blue Note 1533. This was also an original Lexington Avenue pressing, listed in M- condition for the record and Ex for the cover. This one sold for $1,985.
I had my eye on this one because I have two copies and was pondering selling one: Cannonball Adderley, Something Else, Blue Note 1595. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing listed in VG++ condition for both the record and the cover. It sold for $404. I thought it would get a higher price. I will have a booth at the WFMU Record Fair next Friday and Saturday, assuming there will be no super storm that weekend, and Read More..
I’m watching the latest auction from the Jazz Record Center and there are some nice items, but not a lot of action. Wondering if a non-Pay-Pal-policy has any impact on the bidding? Here are a few of the items:
We were talking last week about perhaps less of an interest in some of the earlier pre-bop artists and some of the more mainstream labels, such as Norgran. This one is up for bid: Lester Young, The President, Norgran 1005. This is an original yellow label pressing that looks to be in M- condition for the record and at least VG++ or M- for the cover. The start price is $250 and, as yet, there are no bids with about two days left.
We were also talking about white label Riversides, such as Kenny Dorham, Jazz Contrasts, Riverside 239. This is an original white label pressing in what looks to be M- condition for the record and the cover. The start price is $200 and there are no bids.
I always think this one should sell for more:
Zoot Sims, Zoot, Riverside 228. This is an original white label pressing listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The start price on this one is about $330 and so far there are no bids. I imagine this one will sell and perhaps it will be sold for the buy-it-now price, which is about $500. Those white label Riversides are quite lovely to own, very substantive with heavy vinyl. Here’s another from the same seller: Sonny Rollins, The Sound of Sonny, Riverside 241. This one is also in M- condition for the record and cover, and it comes in as the same price points as the Zoot record. Again, so far there are no bidders. Curious.
This one may be nice, but it would probably help to see a clearer picture of the cover if you were thinking of bidding: Johnny Griffin, A Blowing Session, Blue Note 1559. This looks to be an original New York 23 pressing. The record is listed in excellent condition and the cover is VG. The bidding is already passed $700 with two days to go, a bit surprising given the condition of the cover.
As I was writing yesterday’s post with some ruminations on the strength of the market for jazz collectibles, I got two notes from our friend CeeDee indicating with quite clarity that the demand for high-end collectibles is, indeed, continuing to rise. To wit:
There was this note under the subject “geez” with a link to: Dexter Gordon, Dexter Calling, Blue Note 4083. This looked to be an original New York USA pressing in M- condition for both the record and the cover. It sold for $1,045. Welcome to the $1,000 bin, Dexter Calling. Wow, or, as CeeDee says, geez.
The second missive came under the subject “hmmm” with an accompanying note that said “big bucks for a listing with such a minimal description, don’t you think.” The listing in question was: Miles Davis, Kind of Blue. This looked to be an original 6-eye stereo pressing but, as CeeDee notes, the description was minimal, although the condition was listed as M- for both the record and the cover. The price was, ahem, $798.
A reader sent me a copy of this sobering article: Those Comics in Your Basement? Probably Worthless. It tells the story of the plight of collectors of comic books who have seen the collections vanish into virtual nothingness. There’s the story of one collector who thought his collection was worth about $23,000 when, in reality, it was worth probably less than $500. Of course, there are the exceptions — the beautiful, pristine, blue-chip first issues. We’ve seen a similar path in the jazz vinyl market, where the run-of-the-mill pressings are now pretty much worthless, while the high-end collectibles seem to getting more and more valuable as the years pass by. But we also see that the list of what is deemed “collectible” changes as well, although the original Blue Notes seem to be invulnerable to any downturns. Some records by more traditional artists, thinking of the Verve, Clef and Norgran labels for example, seem to have declined in value and/or interest among collectors over the years that we’ve been watching the market. What do you think? Time to start thinking about selling that old vinyl while the demand is still high, or will the high-end collectibles continue to be a solid investment, not just musically but financially as well? Or do you even care as long as you have the music? Seems to me, anyone paying collectible prices for rare records these days is not just doing it for the music, but with the expectation that the records will at least maintain their value and, hopefully, continue to increase in value.
One of our readers poses a question on the previous post about the Blue Note sessions on which John Coltrane appears. He lists Blue Train, Johnny Griffin’s A Blowing Session, Whims of Chambers and Sonny’s Crib. That’s all I can think of as well. That’s not the quiz. The quiz is this: On how many Blue Note sessions does Cannonball Adderley appear?
John Coltrane, Blue Train, Blue Note 1577. This was an original pressing. The seller didn’t give it a grade, but from the description is sounded like the vinyl was probably M-. The cover was probably VG++, based on the pictures. It sold for a whopping $3,000. That’s far and away the highest price we’ve ever seen for Blue Train in the Jazz Collector Price Guide.
Thelonious Monk, Monk, With Sonny Rollins and Frank Foster, Prestige 7053. This was a New Jersey pressing, not an original. The cover also had the New Jersey address. This one has the Andy Warhol cover, which gives it some additional prestige, if you’ll pardon the play on words. The record was in VG++ condition and the cover looked to be VG++ as well. This one was listed by bobjdukic, and he has somehow figured a way to get prices that no one else can match. For this second pressing, he was able to get a top bid of $955.21.
Here’s another Warhol cover from the same seller:
Monica Zetterlund and Bill Evans, Waltz for Debby, Phillips 08222. This was an original mono pressing listed in “pristine” condition for the record, which we translate to M-, and VG++ for the cover. Not a lot of description from the seller, but certainly a lot of interest from the buyers. This one had 13 bids and sold for $555.65.
Louis Smith, Smithville, Blue Note 1594. This looked to be an original West 63rd deep-groove pressing. The record was listed in VG+ condition, and the cover was listed as VG+, but somehow the seller made it sound as if it were actually better than that. The play-grading described the record as between VG+ and VG++, with the description of some surface noise. And the nice clear picture of the cover made it seem that the cover may also have been better than VG+. I have a feeling whoever purchased this record may be hoping that it is, indeed, better than VG+. Why? Well, the price was $960. As for me, I tend to believe the seller’s original grading of VG+, and that’s what I would expect.
This looked like a nice one:
Rocky Boyd Quintet, Ease It, Jazztime 001. This is an original pressing listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover. It features Kenny Dorham on trumpet and we’ve seen a copy sell for nearly $700 in the Jazz Collector Price Guide. This one is at about $330 with a day and a half left on the bidding.
The seller vinylrealist is back with some nice items, including: Hank Mobley, Mobley’s Message, Prestige 7061. This is an original pressing in VG++ condition for the record ad M- for the cover. Seller took some very nice pictures, which always helps the listings. This one has a start price of about $900 and a buy-it-now price of about $1,200. So far there are no takers at either price. Did anyone notice that this seller commented on Jazz Collector recently to explain his pricing strategy? I was surprised no one commented.
Here’s another beauty:
A reader sent me a link to this record: Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section, Contemporary 3532. This record looks to be an original pressing in its original seal. It’s always hard to tell with a sealed record, but this one has the red ink on the back and it seems to have original promotional materials from Contemporary within the seal. If it is not an original seal, someone went to great measures to pretend that it was. And, if so, there was a nice payoff. The record sold for $718. Still another existential question: What do you do if you are the buyer of this record? Do you break the seal and actually listen to it? Or do you preserve it on your shelf like a museum item, perhaps the world’s only original pressing of this classic jazz record still in it’s original factory seal 56 years after its original release? I know what I would do. What about you?
One of the loyal Jazz Collector readers sent me the following link under the subject line “No Ear/P”: Lee Morgan, City Lights, Blue Note 1575. This was interesting because it had the West 63rd Street address and the deep grooves, so it looked like an original. The seller, who has been selling quite a lot of high-end collectibles on eBay recently, didn’t mention anything about the ear or the RVG. Our reader was curious and/or interested and asked the seller in an email about the ear. Turns out there wasn’t one. The record and cover are in VG+ condition. It sold for $799. I think that will be one unhappy buyer, paying that much and not getting an original pressing. Of course, it raises the existential question of who is at fault. Of course the buyer should have asked before bidding that much on a record. But what of the seller’s responsibility? He never claimed it was an original, but he also knew that it wasn’t. Should he have been more explicit?
Ted Brown Sextet, Free Wheeling, Vanguard 8515. This was an original pressing in M- condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. The simple post surprisingly generated quite a bit of comment. Perhaps that attention pushed up the interest in the record? It wound up selling for $510.
Johnny Coles, Little Johnny C, Blue Note 4144. This was an original pressing in M- condition for the record and cover. When I did the post there were no bids at $100. The bidders eventually jumped in, pushing the price to $338. As one of the commenters suggested, perhaps that is a nice bargain for a great record.
This one was listed as a John Coltrane record, but in my collection it sits under “H” with Wilbur Harden as the leader: Mainstream 1958, Savoy 12127. This was an original red-label pressing in M- condition for the record and probably VG++ for the cover. It sold for $272. Probably a good idea to list it under Coltrane.
Wow, that last post drew quite a compelling discussion. I have yet to listen to that Ted Brown record, but it is definitely on the agenda. In the meantime, there are many interesting records currently for sale on eBay, including:
Jon Eardley Seven with Zoot Sims, Prestige 7033. This is an original New York yellow label pressing. The record is in VG+ condition and the cover is VG++. The start price is in the $300 range and, with nearly three days left in the auction, there are no bidders yet. We would expect this one to sell, but you never know. It is Prestige and not Blue Note, after all.
Kenny Dorham and the Jazz Prophets, ABC Paramount 122. This looks to be an original deep groove pressing. It’s not simple to decipher the condition based on the seller’s description, but I would guess that the record is between VG+ and VG++ and the cover is probably about the same. The start price for this one is $300 and, with less than two days left, there are no bidders.
Speaking of Kenny Dorham: