Where were we? Oh, yes, eBay. Tina Brooks, True Blue, Blue Note 4041. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing from the Jazz Record Center, part of a nice auction that closed last week. Based on the description I would count this as M- for both the record and the cover. The final price was $2,275. Before eBay was around to show us what the market really looks like, I used to think that True Blue was the ultimate Blue Note collectible, and for a while that did seem to be the case. But it has since been surpassed in desirability — and price — but at least a couple of other records, to wit: Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. This was an original pressing with the New York 23 label on side two, which makes it uber-original in the eyes of many collectors. Perhaps of equal excitement, this was a promo copy. The record was listed in M- condition and the cover was listed as EX+. The final price was $7,970, which may be a record for any jazz record, depending upon how you view these things. Quite incredible, don’t you agree.
I went to my mailbox the other day and there was a record box. This was strange because I hadn’t remembered ordering any records. But there it was and I opened it. Surprise! A brand new boxed set of Sonny Rollins Way Out West. A promo copy. Understand, I’ve gotten about three promo copies in the 15-plus years I’ve been doing Jazz Collector. I don’t typically do reviews, so nobody puts me on the list. I did make the list on this one and, man, am I pleased. This is a really fantastic set, just what a reissue should be all about. Two LPs, including material that was never released at all and some material that was only issued on CD. New liner notes, including quotes from a 2017 interview with Sonny conducted specifically for the release of this set. Great Bill Claxton photographs and high-end packaging all the way around. Congratulations to Craft Recordings for doing justice to a great album on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of its original release. A couple of bonuses on the album are Read more
I’m always pleased to see my little love notes from CeeDee, although I usually expect to see them when I’m hardly posting. That hasn’t been the case this week, but I got a couple anyway, with links to a bunch of records that typically defend the sensibilities. The first such record this week was an auction from December, so I’m curious about the delay. Anyway, Yusef Lateef, Before Dawn, Verve 8217. This was an original pressing with the trumpeter label. The condition looked to be around M- for the record and the cover. This one sold for $350 and, yes, that is an unexpectedly high price for a Yusef Lateef record on Verve, IMHO.
This one also comes from December: Roland Alexander, Pleasure Bent, New Jazz 8267. This was an original pressing with the purple labels and deep groove. The record was in M- condition and the cover was Ex. The final price was $293. High? The last time I went to the WFMU Record Fair in Brooklyn I purchased a mint copy of this record for $50. That was in May 2015. I guess the value has gone up in less than three years. A lot.
Several readers sent me the following link: John Coltrane, A Love Supreme, Impulse 77. This is a test pressing, dated Dec. 31, 1964. Look at it — it really does say “Ken” Coltrane. Anyway, it is in VG condition. And you can buy it now for a mere $20,000.
Here’s another really odd one I was watching: Miles Davis, Blue Note Volume 1. This is a Taiwan pressing with orange vinyl??? And it’s stereo??? I have no idea of the vintage or the motivation behind issuing an orange vinyl version of this record, but it was offered on eBay for $500 and did not sell. Can’t say I’m surprised. Stereo??? I don’t think so.
I’ve been waiting a few months to post this photo, sent to me by my friend Dan with the simple message: “Feb 4, 1958.” That was 60 years ago today, which also happened to be the occasion my fifth birthday. Quite a birthday tribute to me. We figured with Miles, Cannonball and Coltrane, it had to be a Milestones session and, thank you Internet, that is precisely what it is. If this picture doesn’t put a smile on your face, maybe you woke up on the wrong side of the bed today.
Here’s one more thing:
Let’s catch up on some jazz records from our eBay watch list, starting with that John Hardee 78 album, Blue Note 101. When we last looked at this the start price was around $100 and there were no bidders. As noted, the condition leaved a lot to be desired and, alas, no one was willing to bid the $100 it would have taken to purchase it. The item is relisted at the same price, so maybe someone will see this and get the urge. One of the reasons I’m writing about it again is because I wanted to include the picture of the cover, which is quite cool, IMHO. Is it worth $100 just for that? Probably not, but close.
I’m always intrigued by records I’ve never seen before in my nearly 50 years of collecting jazz. This was one of them: Slide Hampton, Exodus, Phillips, B 77.915L. This was an original French issue from 1962. It was listed in at least VG++ condition for the record and M- for the cover. Looks like a good record, given the personnel (George Coleman, Richard Williams, Butch Warren, et al) and the tracks (Moment’s Notice, I Remember Clifford, Confirmation, Straight No Chaster, et al). Anyone have a copy and want to share some insight?
This record, like a lot of later Blue Note pressings, has increased quite a bit in value the past few years: Bobby Hutchinson, Happenings, Blue Note 4231. This was an original pressing with the New York USA label and it was in its original shrink wrap, which seems to have some appeal to collectors, although I’m not sure why. Perhaps because of the added protection for a record that is probably 50 years old? Anyway, this one was probably in M- condition for the record and maybe VG++ for the cover and sold for $299.99. Not one of my favorite Blue Note covers. I typically like the covers that feature the artists.
Here’s a rare Blue Note that did not sell:
The Unholy Grail of Jazz Albums
By Lynn E. McCutcheon
Perhaps some of you have heard about the so-called “Holy Grail” list of jazz albums. It consists of some of the rarest and most desirable jazz albums ever made, with an emphasis on LPs made mostly in the 1950s and 60s. There are a large number of entries from the 1500 Blue Note series, a fair number from the 4000 series, and a sprinkling of entries from lesser known labels such as Transition, Signal, and Jazz West. On the rare occasions when these are offered for sale, they command prices that exceed the budget of many collectors.
At another extreme we have some very nice albums from the same time frame that seemingly no one is looking for – records that might fall under the heading of “Unholy Grail.” To my knowledge, all of these are rare, but let me know if you think some of these are actually more common than I think they are. I hope to list and describe a few of these that have fallen into my hands in the last decade or so. A caution – I tend to like MJQ, Sonny Stitt, Ben Webster, Arnett Cobb, Lou Donaldson, Chet Baker, Art Pepper, and Buddy Collette, to name a few. If you don’t care for any of these folks you may not like my list. Here are some of my favorites, listed and described in no particular order.
Here are some of the records we’re watching now on eBay, although nothing as exciting or expensive as the ones in our last two posts: Sonny Rollins, Tenor Madness, Prestige 7047. This looks to be an original New York yellow label pressing. Condition is not clear from the seller’s description, but if I were bidding I would be thinking VG+ for the record and the cover. The auction closes in four days and there is a start price of $150, but so far there are no bidders. This one also has zero bids so far: Gigi Gryce and the Jazz Lab Quintet, Riverside 229. This is an original white label pressing that looks to be in VG++ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. The start price is $250 and there are more than four days left on the auction. I’m guessing both of these records sell.
Here are a few Blue Notes you rarely see — in fact, I don’t recall ever seeing them on eBay, and I’ve looked at eBay a lot through the years, although Popsike tells me they’ve been there, I just missed them.