An Introduction and A Few Things I’ve Been Watching

Nation Time

Greetings – some of you may know me from the comment threads on a number of Al’s posts over the last couple of years; I’ll be stepping in with an attempt to fill the large JC shoes in Al’s absence in a couple of weeks. Before he takes a much-needed vacation, however, I thought it would make sense to introduce myself a little bit.

My name is Clifford Allen and I am a jazz collector, though perhaps of a slightly different ilk than what generally gets discussed on these pages. While certainly Blue Notes, Prestiges and other less well-known labels in their original form are of interest, my main collecting area has long been in the realm of “free jazz” (which, if the prices on eBay are any indication, is far from “free”). I am also very into European jazz and a host of European pressings of perhaps more common or well-known modern jazz records and artists (the Esquires would be one example).

Since the early 2000s I’ve been writing reviews and conducting interviews with musicians – these have appeared in All About Jazz, the New York City Jazz Record, Signal to Noise, Paris Transatlantic, Point of Departure, Tiny Mix Tapes, Bagatellen, One Final Note, Burning Ambulance, and my own occasionally-updated (sadly, a bit less than I’d like this past year) blog, Ni Kantu.

Anyway, here are a few things I’ve been watching:

Amid the nice stack of records that Fred over at Jazz Record Center was selling, there was a beautiful-looking copy of saxophonist Joe McPhee’s second LP, Nation Time, released privately by CjR Records. This was a first pressing (there’s a second with a yellow label) in M- condition for both the record and the cover. I’ve seen these do more damage, but this copy still went for $480. Considering the fact that other titles on the label don’t go for nearly as much, and this one does appear from time to time, I’m still on the hunt for an inexpensive clean copy (hype sticker a bonus – one can dream). Perhaps the funky aspects of “Shakey Jake” bring it into the higher-priced realm? It looks like a couple other copies have gone for similar amounts recently, so it may take a while to pass through my hands.

From our friend over in Italy, bullsite2000, who tends to get very high prices for some uncommon jazz records in clean condition, there was this one: guitarist/bassist Franco Cerri and the International Jazz Meeting, an original Italian Columbia pressing from 1961 with the flipback sleeve and flat rim. Rare enough that condition was secondary, the LP was probably VG although playback might’ve been a bit better, while the cover was listed as VG+. No matter the presence of autographs (which is a little weird for such an obscure album), which I’d say would downgrade the jacket, it otherwise looked pretty bright. It still went for $800, though I’ve seen M- copies top $2,000. The appearance of such cultish European jazz figures as pianist George Gruntz and saxophonists Barney Wilen and Flavio Ambrosetti certainly don’t hurt matters.

The same seller also did fairly well on this avant-garde album, which I’ve always found intriguing as much in concept as in presentation: Nommo, a privately-issued LP from drummer Milford Graves and pianist Don Pullen, on their SRP imprint from 1966. I actually do have a copy in my collection, and it’s a nice record. This is the second volume of recordings taken from a concert at Yale University – the first volume came with a heavy-stock cover that was hand-painted by Graves himself, and features Pullen on electric piano in parts. Very heavy stuff. For Nommo, our Italian friend was able to get about $375 for a copy in M- condition for the vinyl and a similar grade for the cover, although I might be a little nervous shelling out with that sticker stain.

At any rate, happy bidding and I’ll be back with a few more from the JC underground.

Top Dollar (or Euro) For European Pressings

Mobley's Message Jazz VinylCatching up on some loose ends, Terry sent me a link to the following record: Duke Jordan Trio, Vogue Swing M33 323. This was the original French pressing of this 10-inch LP, which was listed in M- condition for the record and Ex for the cover. It sold for $2,939.99. As Terry said in his email to me, the prices of the French Swing records are getting top dollar and this would certainly support that, unless anyone thinks nearly $3,000 is a bargain for a Duke Jordan record.

While we’re in Europe: Hank Mobley, Mobley’s Message, Esquire 32-029. This is the original British pressing of the Prestige record. It was listed in Ex condition for the record and only VG for the cover. It sold for $337.44. I’ve been watching a lot of these U.K. pressings and they seem to be going up in value, particularly the early Prestiges. I can see why: The covers are cool and the pressings sound great. If I didn’t have an original Prestige — and in some case, even if I do — I’d be very happy to have one of these original Esquires.

Here’s another one:

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. . . And The Prices Keep Going Up

Bill Evans Jazz VinylI’m sure many of you are way ahead of me, but please let me catch up on some of the interesting auctions we were watching, starting with Bill Evans, Waltz for Debby, Riverside 399. This was an original white label promo copy. The record was listed in VG++ condition and the cover looked to be about VG+ because a previous owner had stamped his name and address on both the front and the back. When I first wrote about the record, there were several hours left in the auction and the bidding was in the $265 range and I guessed that the final price would probably surpass $1,000. To my surprise, and probably to the surprise of many of you here, the final price was $2,248. And that’s not even counting the Global Shipping Program charge of nearly $475, which is discussed in the comments on the earlier post. I’d be curious as to who is spending this kind of money on these records, and why? Is it for listening? Is it for investment? Is it just for collecting and owning the history?

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And Now For Some Rare Vinyl on eBay

Cliff Jordan Jazz VinylNow that all of the excitement over the new site has settled in, let’s get back to the business of watching rare jazz vinyl on eBay, starting with Cliff Jordan, Cliff Craft, Blue Note 1582. This is an original pressing with the West 63rd Street address and deep grooves. It is listed in Ex condition for both the record and the cover, and the pictures show there may be some issues with the back cover for those who are sticklers. The bidding on this is in the $450 range with more than three days left. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one sneaking into or approaching the $1,000 bin, which is certainly too rich for my blood, although this is an album that has long eluded me.

Here are a couple of nice 10-inch LPs that may not sell at a fairly optimistic (for the seller) starting price:

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Welcome to The New, Improved Jazz Collector

Ernie Henry copyOh my goodness, I woke up this morning and, like many of you perhaps, I was surprised to see a whole new Jazz Collector site. Well, probably not as surprised as most of you, because I knew this was in the works, but I wasn’t expecting it to happen quite so soon and before I even had a chance to discuss it on the site. Anyway, here’s what happened. Tom Stier, the guy who handles all of my Web stuff (since I’m a techno-phobe at heart), informed me a few months ago that the site was going to suffer in Google rankings unless we updated the theme and made it more mobile-friendly. I put off making the move for awhile, just because I didn’t want to be bothered and, since this has never been a money-making proposition, slipping in Google rankings didn’t really have an impact on me. At the same time, we had been talking about adding a real Forum to the site, rather than the cobbled-together effort I had made in the past. Finally, for some reason last week,

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What an Auction! (One More Time)

Maiden Voyage VinylPlease allow me to dwell one more day on that Jazz Record Revival auction because there are a few more things to point out, as many readers have already done, particularly with that copy of Herbie Hancock, Maiden Voyage, Blue Note 4195 selling for a quite amazing $1,580.

How about this one, with the second cover: Art Blakey, A Night at Birdland Volume 2,Blue Note 1522. This was an odd one in that it had a Lexington Avenue address on one side and a West 63rd Street address on the other. It was clearly not a first pressing, particularly with that cover. But it sold for $236.50.

Someone on the previous post also mentioned this one:

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What an Auction!

Thad Jones on Blue NoteA lot of us were watching that major auction from Jazz Record Revival and, suffice to say, they had quite an amazing week. Here are some of their higher priced and more interesting items:

The Magnificent Thad Jones Volume 3, Blue Note 1546. This was an original New York 23 pressing listed in M- condition for the record and Ex for the cover. It sold for $1,775. Granted, we’ve been lax in keeping the Jazz Collector Price Guide up to date, but that would be the highest price we’ve ever recorded for a Thad Jones record.

Lee Morgan, Candy, Blue Note 1590. This was an original pressing listed in M- condition for the record and Ex+ for the cover. It sold for $2,938.

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Back in the Vinyl Saddle Again

Sonny Clark copyTWO WEEKS!!!! The longest I’ve ever gone without posting. Weren’t any of you, aside from Mac, worried about me? I didn’t go anywhere, just took an unexpected and unscheduled break. Now I’m back, but only for a few weeks. I have a two-week vacation coming up in October. Anyone interested in doing some guest hosting for a couple of weeks? Send me an email and we’ll see what we can do.

In the meantime, let’s get back to eBay and see what’s going on. This was on my watch list the last time I looked and now it has sold: Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’, Blue Note 1588. This was an original pressing with the west 63rd Street address, deep grooves, etc. The record was in VG+ condition and the cover was only VG, but it still sold for $2,081. There was also this one for the $1,000 bin:

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Mobley, Woods, Morgan and — Pucho?

Lee Morgan CandyCatching up today on the mail and some jazz vinyl we missed, starting with Lee Morgan, Candy, Blue Note 1950. This was an original pressing listed in VG++ condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. It sold for $2,350.55. This seller had a bunch of other interesting items and also has a bricks and mortar store in Brooklyn called Northern Lights Records. Anybody been there? I’ll check it out when I return to New York from The Berkshires, sometime in September I would guess. If I was in a buying head, which I’m not, there were a couple of other items from this seller that were perhaps worth a gamble with marginal condition at a potentially reasonable price.One record I’ve sought for a long time is this one: Phil Woods, Woodlore, Prestige 7018. This was an original pressing listed in VG+ condition for the record and VG for the cover. It sold for $229.06. There was also

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