Back in business, back on eBay, back to posting more regularly. First let’s catch up on some of the items we had been watching, starting with Hank Mobley Sextet, Blue Note 1560. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing. The seller had described the record as Ex and the cover as VG++, but it was clear from the pictures that the condition was less than VG++. At the time we first posted this record, the start price was around $500 and there were no bids. In the end there were four bidders, six bids and a final price of $1,075. I’m sure the seller was quite pleased. Hopefully, the buyer was as well.
Bill Evans, Explorations, Riverside 351. This was an original mono pressing with the blue label, deep grooves and reels/microphone logo. The record was listed in M- condition and the cover was VG+ and the final price was $504.90. It looks like this record, and a few others we were watching, were purchased by one of our readers, so congratulations. Here’s another one of his scores: Miles Davis, Relaxin’, Prestige 7129. This was an original yellow label pressing with the New York address. The record and cover were both listed in M- condition, and the pictures accompanying the listing certainly made it look quite pristine. The final price on this one was $1,037.99. Welcome to the $1,000 bin.
We haven’t had a guest column in a while, but here’s one that came in recently. I will let it speak for itself:
How I met Bill Evans…
First let me introduce myself… I am Mervyn de Gannes from Trinidad & Tobago. Born in the 1920’s, I am the third child in a family of seven kids and the first born boy. In those days, there was a piano in most homes and the girls always took lessons to learn to play. Even at the age of ten when the tutor came to our home, I would be listening in, and whenever my sisters were practicing and played anything incorrectly, I would let them know what they were ‘playing wrong’. Obviously this didn’t go over well with them as I never took lessons. By my late teenage years, by just listening to records and playing by ear, I was performing at friends’ parties until I got married at 26. My idols then were Bill Evans along with Errol Garner and Oscar Peterson.
I think my work workload is slowing down so, not making major promises, but I think I’ll be back to posting more regularly. At least I certainly hope so. In the meantime, it’s nice to see everyone commenting and keeping the action alive. I was able to swing over to eBay and add some items to my watch list. This is a great record, and one that has certainly gone up in value in the past few years: Miles Davis, Relaxin’, Prestige 7129. This is an original pressing in M- condition for the record and the cover. The seller was able to get some great pictures, which aways helps. The bidding is now in the $440 range and the auction closes later today. I had Miles on my mind because I was just taking a walk in my neighborhood and passed a street called “Miles Davis Way.” Yes, I live near Miles Davis Way. Nice, huh? It is a single block — 77th Street between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Miles had an apartment there at 312 West 77th Street. Apparently there was something of a battle to get the street named after Miles, who lived there for about 25 years and enjoyed hanging out on the stoop and chatting with neighbors. Miles? Man, I would have loved to have seen that. Next time I pass the sign, I’ll take a picture and post it here.
Allow me to take you away from your favorite subject for a moment and catch up on some items in the Jazz Collector inbox. First are a couple from our reliable friend CeeDee, who always has something interesting to offer. This one is Johnny Griffin, Lady Heavy Bottom’s Waltz, German Vogue 17164. I’ll admit I’ve never seen or heard of this one, but I do imagine that the title song would be interesting. It’s a recording from 1968. This one was in M- condition for the record and the cover and it sold for $240.37. CeeDee also sent this one: Jazz by Sun Ra, Volume 1, Transition 10. This was an original pressing with the booklet. The record and the cover both looked to be in about VG++ condition. The price was $660, which CeeDee considered to be something of a bargain. I wouldn’t really know myself because I’ve never been a collector of Sun Ra records and actually only own one or two. I guess I’m missing something. I also had many opportunities to see Sun Ra, but never did.
Forty-eight comments (and counting) on the last post. And the traffic on Jazz Collector has been as high as normal. Thank you all for keeping the discussion going while I was pre-occupied last week with doing my real job, the one that pays for the mortgage and the Blue Notes around here. This week I will be under similar pressure, so please feel free to comment on this post and take the discussion wherever you would like. I see that a lot of the previous discussion was a reprisal of a familiar theme, the ability of one particular seller, bobdjukic, to get prices that seem otherworldly to the rest of us in the Jazz Collector world. I personally have no beef with him, never met him, never dealt with him. He does seem to have some magic formula for getting top prices, but I imagine his customers are satisfied because the only way to get those prices is to have repeat business. In any case, after reading the comments, I took a look at his latest auction results to satisfy my own curiosity. Here are some of the ones that caught my eye:
Here’s some more jazz vinyl we’ve been watching on eBay, starting with John Coltrane, Giant Steps, Atlantic 1311. This was an original black label pressing. It was listed in Ex condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. With three days left in the auction the action was so light that I thought, perhaps, I would even have a chance for this at a price that would fit my sensibilities. Fat chance. It wound up selling for $822.
I’ve bee noticing that this one seems to fetch a bit higher prices than some of the other Dexter Gordon Blue Notes and I can’t figure out why: Dexter Gordon, One Flight Up, Blue Note 84176. This was an original stereo pressing listed in M- condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. It sold for $360, which is up there for a stereo copy.
On the other hand, this one sold for less than expected:
Forgive me for my lack of familiarity with this record and this artist: Fats Sadi, The Swinging Fats Sadi Combo, Blue Note 5061. I guess I must have seen this record somewhere on a discography or on The Blue Note Story, but, honestly, seeing this record on eBay, I thought it was a mistake. Then I did a Google search and Fats Sadi was a Belgian vibist who played with a wide range of artists, including Django Reinhardt, Don Byas and, later on, the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band. I don’t know anything about this 10-inch record or how it came about that Fats Sadi recorded for Blue Note in the early 1950s. I do know that this copy of the record is listed in VG+ condition for the record and Ex for the cover and has a start price of about $80. With more two days left on the auction there are no bidders.
If I had a want list, this record would be at or near the top of it: Lou Donaldson, Quartet, Quintet, Sextet, Blue Note 1537. This copy was an original pressing with the Lexington Avenue address that looked to be in M- condition for the record and probably VG++ for the cover. A very nice copy, indeed. When I first put the record in my eBay watch list, the price was less than $400 and I very briefly considered a snipe. But I knew that my highest bid wouldn’t even put me close. And I was right. The record sold for $1,437. So I will save $1,437-plus and also have my Japanese pressing for listening pleasure, so I have no complaints.
I’m surprised this one isn’t getting any more action with just one day left on the auction:
As I’m cleaning out my watch list, I’ve come across several more of those Esquire Prestige pressings with the very interesting covers that are new to me. Here are a few:
Miles, His New Quintet, Esquire 32-021. This is the U.K. pressing of the first of the Miles Davis Quintet records featuring John Coltrane. This copy was in VG+ condition for the record and the cover. It sold for $145.44.
Miles Davis, Relaxin’, Esquire 32-068. This was also an original U.K. pressing in VG+ condition for the record and VG for the cover. This one sold for $77.44. I will say that the cover on this one is slightly less appealing, for whatever reason.
Clark Terry, Serenade to a Bus Seat, Riverside 237. This was an original pressing with the white label. This is another great and underrated record by Terry, who died last week (the funeral is today in harlem, by the way). I thought I had this record, and I’m pretty sure I did have it at one time, but I don’t think I have it anymore. I was looking for it to review the liner notes. I had never thought about the title of the record before,
I’m actually cleaning out my eBay watch list in preparation for finally doing a modest updating of the Jazz Collector Price Guide. So, as I clear out records, I will just post some random results for the next couple of days, starting with one for the $1,000 bin: Paul Chambers Quintet, Blue Note 1564. This was an original pressing with the West 63rd Street address. The record looked to be in VG++ condition and the cover was probably VG. It sold for $1,203. This came from the same seller: Kenny Burrell at the Five Spot, Blue Note 4021. This was an original West. 63rd Street pressing that looked to be in VG++ condition for both the record and the cover. It sold for $334.
Oh, those Blue Notes. Look at this one: Horace Silver, Blowin’ the Blues Away, Blue Note 4017. This was an original pressing with the West 63rd Street address, deep grooves, ear, etc. It was listed in M- condition for the record and M- for the cover. It sold for $355 with only four bidders. This is a great album, one of Silver’s very best, but I’ve never viewed it as a top-shelf collectible only because it seemed to be more available than many of the other Blue Notes. Perhaps I had an assumption that because Silver was one of Blue Note’s most popular artists they would have printed more copies of his records. Plus, this one had what would prove to be a jazz classic in Sister Sadie. I realize I have not been diligent in updating the Jazz Collector Price Guide, but still the highest price we had recorded for this record was just about $200. Does this new high-water mark surprise me? Not at all. Hey, it’s near mint, it’s a great album, it’s an original Blue Note. Nothing would surprise me. As they say in the commercials: “Priceless.”
I had my eye on this Blue Note beauty, but wouldn’t pull the trigger:
Here’s an interesting one: Art Pepper, Modern Art, Intro 606. This looks to be an original pressing. The seller says it is in VG+ condition, but he also mentions that it has “many light scratches and marks.” What’s interesting is that the seller states the cover has been “restored” by a company called Fourth Cone Restoration in Los Angeles. This is the first time I’ve ever encountered a jazz record that had been professionally restored, as if it were a rare painting. Given the value of some of these records, it’s really not a bad idea, is it? I’d love to somehow see the before and after, but, alas, I can’t see me bidding on this record, even though I don’t own an original pressing. The “many light scratches and marks” has danger written all over it. The start price for this record is in the $500 range and so far there are no bidders. One other point: The seller calls this a 1951 pressing. Is that possibly true? I didn’t think they were making 12-inch vinyl in 1951, except for that one Bird promotional record on Dial.
Here are some of the jazz records we’re watching on eBay now, including a few from our friends at The Jazz Record Center, starting with: Charles Mingus at the Bohemia, Debut 123. This is an original pressing in M- condition for the record and probably VG+ or VG++ for the cover. The start price is $200 and there are no bidders with three days left in the auction. I have to admit, I’ve been buying jazz records for 45 years now and I’ve never held an original pressing of this record in my hands. There will be bidding, I am quite sure. From the same auction is this: Bud Powell, Jazz Giant, Norgran 1063. This is an original yellow label pressing that looks to be in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The start price on this one is $300 and, as with the Mingus record, there are no bidders as of now.
I guess we’re continuing to see a rise in the value of the John Coltrane Impulses, based on recent auctions such as this one:
Woke up this morning to the news that the great trumpeter Clark Terry has passed away at age 94. He certainly lived a full and fulfilling life, inspiring musicians right to the very end. If you want some inspiration yourself, I urge you to see the documentary Keep on Keepin’ On. The film is both a loving biography of Terry, with quotes and appearances from some of his proteges, including Quincy Jones and Miles Davis, and it is also a story of Terry’s ongoing passion for sharing and teaching the music — in this case his mentoring relationship/friendship with a young blind jazz pianist named Justin Kauflin. I saw the movie several weeks ago with The Lovely Mrs. JC and when we got home she wanted me to play some Clark Terry on the turntable. I took out the album Duke With a Difference, Riverside 246. I hadn’t listened to it in years and what a joy it was to hear it again. Great, great record with very interesting arrangements and terrific playing. Terry was one of the last links to an era in jazz that we’ll never see again. We were fortunate to have had him for so long as a player, teacher, mentor, innovator, ambassador and giant of the jazz world.
The eBay watch list for jazz vinyl is still pretty full with interesting stuff. Let’s start with one that is not an original and will not even make it to the Jazz Collector Price Guide, if and when I ever get around to updating it again: Sonny Red, Out of the Blue, Blue Note 4032. This is an odd pressing: It has the West 63rd Street address on the labels, but no deep grooves and no ears. It also has shrink wrap, with a stamp that notes the record can be played on stereo players. I’m thinking this may be an early Liberty pressing when they still had old labels left over, although I don’t recall ever seeing other later and/or Liberty pressings of this record. There is a bid on the record at $40, but the seller also has a reserve price that hasn’t yet been met. I’ve had my eye on this record for a long time because I once owned a copy and traded it away about 30 years ago and have never been able to replace it. I can’t see replacing it with a non-original such as this, so the search goes on. Trading away an original copy of this record in beautiful condition was not one of the brighter things I’ve ever done in the world of jazz collecting.
There’s a seller on eBay now with a bunch of the U.K Esquire pressings of the original U.S. Prestige records. I never really had access to seeing these covers until eBay and, I must say, they are quite appealing. I find the artwork on the covers to be really cool. And it helps that the sound on these pressings, at least from what I’ve heard, is comparable to the original U.S. issues. Here are a couple from this auction, staring with: Sonny Rollins, Worktime, Esquire 32-038. This is an original Esquire and it is listed in M- condition for the vinyl and Ex for the cover. There is one bidder at approximately $115 and the auction closes in a couple of days. I know it’s not an original U.S. pressing, but it’s a pretty nice package and pretty rare, to boot. Hard to imagine that an early pressing like this from the 1950s won’t go up in value.
My eBay watch list is overflowing and there are some interesting items we don’t often see here, including some 78-RPM records. Let’s start with Charlie Parker, The New Sounds in Modern Music, Savoy 510. This is a boxed set of Charlie Parker 78s. Unfortunately, the seller doesn’t say which ones, although if I were interested (as I may be) I would at least attempt to pose the question. The records — can’t call them vinyl — are in VG+ condition and the cover is probably VG or VG+, depending upon the condition. I am probably one of the few among us who still collects 78s. I’ve had the good fortune to run into a few inexpensive collections, and then I was very fortunate with the 78s I purchased in the infamous Baltimore collection. I probably have about 1,000 78s, with probably about 40 Parkers on Savoy, Dial and Mercury, but a Bird Savoy boxed set would make a nice addition to the collection. There is a big concern with buying 78s on eBay, because
Glad so many of you are having fun playing with The Stupid List and enjoying it in the context in which I put it out there. Meanwhile, my watch list on eBay is overflowing and I will start with Lester Young and Teddy Wilson, Pres and Teddy, Verve 8205. This is an original pressing with the trumpeter logo. It is listed in what looks to be M- condition for the record and VG for the cover. The start price is about $10 and so far there are no bids, with five days left on the auction. This is not a record I would normally be watching here and, in fact, the only reason I noticed it was because I am watching some of the seller’s other items. A couple of things strike me. So far, in all of the comments on The Stupid List post, not a single respondent has mentioned Lester Young as a top five favorite jazz artist, which seems somewhat incredible. If Jazz Collector had been around 30 years ago, Pres probably would have been as predominant on the lists as Coltrane or Rollins. It shows how tastes change and, as time gets further away from the musician’s primary artistic contributions, people tend to either forget the influence, or diminish it or, perhaps, just move on to other artists. Louis Armstrong
I was watching that Clifford Brown autograph (as well as Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, et al), but didn’t have enough interest to actually bid on it. To my surprise, there were only five bidders altogether, which would seem to indicate minimal interest at that price, which turned out to be $482.11. I did casually mention when I wrote the earlier post that Clifford was probably among my top five musicians of all time and that I would ponder that and do another post on it this weekend. Sometimes, as we all do, I say and do stupid things. It was stupid to even suggest that I could create a list of top five favorite musicians, when there are so many musicians I love and each musician brings something different and special to my life and my enjoyment of music. Last night I was listening to the Dexter Gordon record, Getting’ Around, Blue Note 4204, and I was thinking about how much I love Dexter and how much I treasured seeing him as often as I did in the early and mid-1970s, particularly his very first club date when he began playing again in the United States. And, goodness, what an amazing ballad performance on “Who Can I Turn To.” And then I put on two Miles Davis records, Kind of Blue and Sketches of Spain, and I thought
Kenny Dorham, Afro-Cuban, Blue Note 5065. This was an original Lexington Avenue 10-inch pressing listed as Ex condition for both the record and the cover. The seller hyped up the condition, suggesting that the record was only played once or twice. It sold for $1,684.
Roland Kirk, Triple Threat, King 539. This was an original pressing that was probably in VG++ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. It had been listed previously at about $2,000, didn’t sell and was listed again. This time it sold for $1,259.56.
Well, while we’ re filling the $1,000 bin, let’s add a few more: Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’, Blue Note 1588. This was an original pressing listed in Ex condition for both the record and the cover. There were 17 bidders and 79 bids, which is a pretty high amount. The record sold for $2,604.54.
Sometimes you’re on eBay and you’re browsing and then along comes an item and it’s like, wow, I would really like to have that. And thus it is with me and this item: Brown and Roach Incorporated, Emarcy 36008. This is a Canadian pressing in G condition for the record and the cover. Not too appealing so far, right? Well, here’s the thing: The record is signed. Not just signed, but signed by Clifford Brown. If you think about when Clifford died, 1956, and how young he was, 25, you would have to think that there are very few Clifford Brown autographs anywhere. Not to mention that he is probably one of my top five favorite musicians of all time (actually, I will think further on that subject and do another post on it this weekend). So this record has Clifford’s signature and also signatures by Sonny Rollins, Max Roach, George Morrow and, presumably, Richie Powell. A few things, however, do make the record somewhat less appealing to me. One is I don’t actually collect autographed records as do some other people — hello, there, Don-Lucky. But I would love to have a Clifford Brown autograph. Two is that it seems the owner
Back to watching jazz vinyl on eBay. Here are some of the records that we missed in the past few days, starting with John Jenkins and Kenny Burrell, Blue Note 1573. This was an original pressing with the West 63rd Street address on both labels. The record was listed in VG+ condition and the cover was as well. It sold for $865.55, which is getting up there for a VG+ record. At the same time there was this copy of the same record. This one also looked to be an original pressing and seemed to be in better condition than the other one. The seller listed it as Ex+, which typically translates to around VG++. Yet, this one only received a top bid of $224.50 and failed to reach the seller’s reserve price. I’m sure I’m missing something in the listings, but I can’t figure it out. And it can’t be because one of our readers doesn’t like the seller for whatever reason. If we had that kind of clout, we’d start our own eBay for Jazz Collectors only.
I’ve been on a bit of a Bill Evans tangent recently. If you’re going to be on a tangent, you could do a lot worse. I’ve been listening to a lot of Evans, mostly the Riverside records, and then I also put on Kind of Blue the other night and I recall thinking to myself that, in many ways, Kind of Blue sounds in some places more like an Evans album than a Miles album. I know there’s always been a bit of controversy about who actually wrote Blue In Green, but all it takes is a cursory listen to hear that it seems more Evans than Miles. Anyway, I’m not looking to open up old wounds or start new controversies. But I want to do two things: 1. Point you all to this very interesting article on the Influence of Evans, The Bill Evans Legacy, by Doug Ramsey in The Wall Street Journal the other day. It’s nice that his genius remains recognized and appreciated and still discussed in the mainstream media. 2: I wanted to post the great recording of My Foolish Heart from Waltz for Debby, just because I love it and wanted to share it with a bunch of my friends. So, enjoy:
Japhy sent me a note on the following listing: Hank Mobley Quartet, Blue Note 5066. This was an original 10-inch pressing that was listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover. It was listed as having been from the original owner and was offered at $1,400 or best offer. It was sold for best offer, which keeps it somewhat of a mystery to all of us here. Popsike lists it as $1,200, but we’re not sure how they know that. In any case, Japhy notes that this is the second highest price Popsike has ever recorded for this record. He also suggests that the pictures were underwhelming and the listing lacking in details. I actually think the pictures are pretty good. However, if you blow up the picture of the front cover you can see some minor damage on the lower right corner and some definite seam wear on the bottom, so I’d be hesitant to believe the accuracy of the M- cover. Otherwise, the cover does look quite nice. Beyond all of that, one of the important take-aways is this: Japhy is considering selling his copy,