Blue Note 1568: Bah, Humbug

Buy it now, just $1,200. There’s a copy of Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568 sitting on eBay now with a start price of $4,500 and a Buy it Now price of $12,000. It is an original West 63rd Street pressing and the obsessive collectors among us would argue that it is an original original, meaning it sports the inscrutable New York 23 label on side two. The seller starts off by saying he is not qualified to grade jazz records but he just lucked out and found a collection that included the likes of Hank Mobley Blue Note 1568. Funny, I’ve been collecting jazz records for nearly 50 years now and this particular little bit of luck has never befallen me. In any case, he offers some audio clips of the record that he recorded on a (gasp) Ion USB turntable, which is enough to scare some of you off right there. Read more

A Fine Array From Blue Note and Prestige

We were watching a bunch of items from the Jazz Record Center auction that closed yesterday and here are some of the results, staring with Clifford Jordan and John Gilmore, Blowing in From Chicago, Blue Note 1549. This was an original pressing. It was probably in VG++ condition for the record. The JRC doesn’t use our normal grades, just a description. This one had a single mark that is audible seven times. I know that precludes it from M-. Does it preclude it from VG++? Otherwise, the record sounds immaculate. The cover was probably VG+ or VG++, depending upon how you feel about a “professionally repaired” spine and bottom seam. Also, the picture looks more VG+ to me than VG++. The final price was $1,247. My sense is that a different seller would have been less meticulous in his description and received a higher price. In any case, I still don’t own an original copy of this record for any of you out there who may be interested in a trade.

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The Best of Hank Mobley?????

Our friends at the Jazz Record Center have a very nice auction underway now, including: Hank Mobley, Soul Station, Blue Note 4031. This looks to be an original West 63rd Street pressing, probably in M- condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. The bidding is in the $700 range as I type this, and I would expect the final price to be quite a bit higher, much closer to the $2,000 bin. This is a record that I never owned in original condition until i was fortunate enough to get a copy in the Bruce M. West Baltimore collection four years ago (has it really been four years?). Anyway, like a lot of the records in that collection, I put them on the shelves and promised myself I would get around to listening to them one day. And, a few nights ago, I finally kept my promise with Hank Mobley Soul Station. And it was quite a revelation. Read more

Mail: Byrd, Monk, Sun Ra

Catching up on some email. Here’s the story of a fun score from a new reader:

“Hi, I am fairly new to jazz vinyl collecting and listening. I have been drawn to the 50’s and 60’s jazz and LOVE your site. Unfortunately so much of this vintage jazz is way out of my budget. I have been buying when and what I can afford. Wanted to share this: This past weekend I was in a vintage shop with my wife and wasn’t sure I would find anything. In the back was a small box with some records. I start flipping through them like I always do when I find records in vintage/antique shops. I run across a Donald Byrd – Royal Flush BLP 4101 original pressing. The vinyl itself is VG in appearance, plays somewhere between VG and VG+ and the cover is VG+. The price on the album was $10. I was elated and couldn’t get the money out of my wallet fast enough! Hope I didn’t bore you. Thanks for your site and keep the posts coming as it is helpful in my jazz education!” Read more

Jazz Vinyl Catchup

Sorry, again, for the long gap between posts. With Thanksgiving and an abundance of real work, time has just slipped away. I owe you an update on some of the auctions we were watching, so here goes. We’ll start with some of the records from the seller vinyl-house-uk, including Elmo Hope, Informal Jazz, Esquire 32-0139. This was an original British pressing listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover.  It sold for a whopping $925. When we started watching this UK pressings a couple of years ago, the prices weren’t nearly this high. Hope we didn’t start a trend. There were a few other similar pressings in the same auction list that sold for high prices, including these Read more

Two Blue Notes and a Dash of Pepper

The seller bluenote5 has some interesting and high priced records on eBay now including this one: Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section, Stereo Records 7018. So this is not the Contemporary version and it has the original loose plastic seal with a promotional card for the label inside. The seal is unbroken, so the record is in new condition and the cover is probably close to that as well. Here’s the conundrum with this record: When it was first issued on Contemporary it was 1957 and the labels weren’t producing stereo copies yet, at least not to my knowledge. This was probably the first Stereo release of this record, so in that way it is an original. But it was also probably released at least a couple of years after the original mono recording. You can see in the listing that it doesn’t have the red and blue writing on the back that would make it an original on the Contemporary label. I’m sure this copy is extraordinarily rare and nearly impossible to find sealed like this. As for me, Id rather have the Contemporary. BTW, my copy of this record was from the Bruce M. West collection in Baltimore and it also had the loose polybag cover the cover with the Contemporary promotional card inside. I removed the cover — after all, it was almost 60 years old and quite filthy — but I keep the promotional card inside. It was quite cool to see it in this condition, as if it were sitting on the shelf of a record store in 1957 The start price on the sealed Stereo version in this listing is $1,00. So far there are no bidders.  

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Here Comes Louis Smith — Coltrane and Rollins, Too

Geez, did you see the final price on that Here Comes Louis Smith record we were watching the other day? It was an original pressing in VG++ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. We predicted it might make it to the $1,000 bin, but didn’t expect it to get into the $2,000 bin, which it did at $2,027. That would make it the highest price we’ve seen for this record, according to Popsike, which, interestingly, already has it posted on their site. So, with a VG+ cover this copy received a price that was more than $500 higher than the previous top price. Not bad.

Meanwhile, I was watching this record and it didn’t sell at all: John Coltrane (et al), Tenor Conclave, Prestige 7074. This was an original New York yellow label pressing, listed in VG+ condition for the record and VG for the cover. The start price was about $400 and there were no bidders.

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Back to Blue Note

If yesterday was a Prestige day, let’s make today a Blue Noter, starting with Here Comes Louis Smith, Blue Note 1584. This looks to be an original West 63rd Street pressing listed in VG++ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. The bidding is in the $175 range with about four days to go. We were watching a different copy of the same record a few days ago and that one was in just VG condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. It wound up selling for $561, so I would expect this one to fetch a higher price. Will it enter the $1,000 bin? Could be. According to Popsike, the highest recorded price for this record is $1,514. Not owning an original copy of this record myself, I haven’t listened to it in a long time. When I put a record on the turntable, I usually prefer an original pressing. But perhaps I will make an exception. After all, the personnel includes one of my all-time favorite alto players, none other than the infamous “Buckshot La Funke.”

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A Prestige-eous Day at Jazz Collector

Let’s look at a few from Prestige and related labels today, starting with Hank Mobley, Mobley’s Message, Prestige 7061. This was an original New York yellow label pressing listed as being in “pristine” condition from a reliable seller. The final price was $715.99, which strikes me as quite a bargain for this record in this condition. Or at least as much as any record for $715 can be a bargain. With this personnel — Mobley, McLean, Byrd, Barry Harris, Doug Watkins and Art Taylor — what would this record go for if it was on the Blue Note Label. I think we’d probably be looking in our metaphorical $2,000 bin.

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Jazz Vinyl From Blue Note and Vogue

Let’s start the day with a couple of 10-inch LPs we are watching on eBay: Gigi Gryce and his Orchestra with Clifford Brown, Jazz Time Paris, French Vogue LD 173. This is the original French pressing, issued before the Blue Note version in the U.S. The record and cover are both listed in VG++ condition. This one has just been posted on eBay and closes in seven days. There are already 15 bids and the price is in the $115 range. Here’s the question: Would you rather own the French pressing or the Blue Note? I know, most of us would say “both” but that is not an option. I have to admit, I’d go for the Blue Note. I can’t say why, other than I always have a big smile on my face when I go through my 10-inch records and come across an original Blue Note in beautiful condition. The Vogues, of which I have a few, don’t have nearly the same effect.

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