I’ve been spending the entire morning catching up on the Jazz Collector Price Guide and, if time allows, this weekend I will make a lot of additions and finally take the database to more than 5,000 records. Quite impressive, if you ask me, since I’ve logged every one of those by myself, by hand, typing in each entry one by one. Here are some of the recent items that will be added and I hope to do another post before the end of the year with some of the older items I may have missed during the past few months.
Brew Moore in Europe, Debut 127. This is the original Danish pressing, quite hard to find. The record was in VG++ condition and the cover was M-. The price was $373.
Here Comes Louis Smith, Blue Note 1584. This is one of those where you had to look carefully at the listing. The record is listed in Ex+/N- condition and the cover as Ex. The picture shows that the cover has tape all around it, so if I were grading the best I’d give it is a VG-. It would also make me wary about the condition of the vinyl, if the seller considers this cover as excellent. Potential buyers had some of the same concerns, it seems. The record sold for $495.
We need a new explanation for this one: Horace Silver, Song For My Father, Blue Note 4185. Admittedly this is a great, classic record and this was an original mono pressing in near mint condition for both the record and the cover. Why is there a new explanation needed? Conventional wisdom has said that because of the initial popularity of this record, there has always been a relatively abundant supply of original pressings in decent condition. Conventional wisdom may be changing. This particular copy sold for $405. Our previous high for this in the Jazz Collector Price Guide was $334 and, at the time, we considered that to be an aberration. What’s this?
And this? Gene Ammons, Blue Gene, Prestige 7146. This was from the same seller and it was also in near mint condition for the record and the cover. You’d normally expect this in the $40-$50 range, maybe a drop higher because of the condition. This copy sold for $164.50.
This next one got quite a high price, but not a surprising one:
Dec 29, 2011 News
Now that Sonny Rollins has been honored by the Kennedy Center as one of the leading performing artists of our time, who would be the next jazz musician in line for the honor? One of the obvious ones, not based on his music as much as his contribution to reviving jazz commercially, would be Wynton Marsalis. He’ll get his eventually, but he’s a relatively young guy and should have to wait. Among musicians here are a few names to ponder: Horace Silver, Ornette Coleman, Wayne Shorter. To me, those are the most viable candidates. I would imagine Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea would also get consideration. None of them, in my eyes, is in the same category as Sonny Rollins but, to be fair, a few years ago the honor went to Benny Carter and I didn’t think he was worthy either. What do you think?
Dec 28, 2011 News
Did you watch the Kennedy Center Honors last night? It was great to see Sonny Rollins being recognized on national television and in front of the President and the world’s artistic community as one of the most important and influential artists of the past half -century. It was certainly moving and well deserved and, knowing how humble Sonny is, it must have been a tribute that he felt deeply. As I fan, I know I did. I had goose bumps just seeing Sonny up there.
Having said that, I found both the biographical tribute and the musical tribute to be really uninspired and disappointing. This was the one opportunity to explain to the country why, among all of the thousands of jazz musicians in the world, it was Sonny Rollins who was being honored on that stage. Even in just a couple of minutes with the opportunity Bill Cosby had in his introduction and in the video tribute, there was so much that could have been said that wasn’t. Here are some of the things I would have said:
Let’s catch up on some of the interesting rare jazz vinyl we’ve been watching at Jazz Collector. Big Bear apparently put a magnifying glass to this record and found that it was not necessarily an original pressing: Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’, Blue Note 1588. In addition to the question about the “original-ness” of the record there was also some concern expressed here about the lack of information about the listing. The record wound up selling for $1,913.88 in M- condition, which is probably significantly less than it would have received if it had been offered by a reputable seller with a strong reputation, such as Jazz Record Center or Euclid. Nonetheless, it is still quite a hefty price, particularly if it is not a first pressing. This one came from the same seller and failed to sell: Paul Chambers, Bass on Top, Blue Note 1569. I tried the magnifying glass trick myself but to no avail: Either my magnifier was faulty or my eyes were faulty or, more likely, a combination of the two. I couldn’t figure out if this was original or not. Perhaps other potential bidders had the same problem. Nobody was willing to hit the start price of $500.
It may be the holiday season around much of the world, but eBay never takes a vacation. Neither, apparently, does Jazz Collector. Here is some interesting jazz vinyl we’ve been watching on eBay. We’ll start with the $1,000 been. This one is still for sale: Hank Mobley, Hank, Blue Note 1560. This is an original pressing that’s listed in near mint condition for both the record and the cover. The price is already more than $1,100 and there are still two days to go. This is also a regular to the $1,000 bin: Kenny Dorham, Quiet Kenny, New Jazz 8225. This was an original pressing, deep grooves, purple label, and it was listed in VG++ condition for both the record and the cover. It sold for $1,415. Merry Christmas for someone. John Jenkins with Kenny Burrell, Blue Note 1573. This was an original pressing that was either M- or very close to M-, based on the seller’s description. It sold for $1,156.99.
Here are a few interesting items closing in the next day or so:
Dec 22, 2011 News
One more reminder for our readers in the U.S.: The Kennedy Center Honors featuring the tribute to Sonny Rollins will be broadcast on Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 9 p.m. I’ll probably do one more reminder on the day of the broadcast. At one of the events, Sonny was toasted by Bill Clinton. I always figured that Sonny would have been honored while Clinton was President since he was a sax player would and have obviously known about Sonny’s importance in the history of jazz. But I don’t think the President actually has that much influence in who gets selected. In any case, Clinton clearly does know the music, as can been seen in the toast below:
Are there any gamblers out there? Here are some interesting items from a seller in Italy, including : Art Taylor, AT’s Delight, Blue Note 4047. The seller describes this record, as well as a bunch of other jazz collectibles, as being from his grandfather’s collection. There is no mention on any of these listings about some of the characteristics you’d want to see on a Blue Note to determine it’s provenance. No mention of deep grooves, addresses on the label, RVGs, ears, etc. Yet . . . if you look at the picture, you get the sense that perhaps they are originals. Or could they be someone else’s pictures? The seller does not accept returns. Perhaps we’re back to being skeptical again, since this is around the two-year anniversary of the great eBay Nautiluso fraud, from Italy. Clearly, others are skeptical as well, based on the price of this record and other listings from this seller. This one, listed in M- condition for the record and the cover, is now at $260. Here’s another from the same batch: Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’, Blue Note 1588. This is described as being in M- condition and a U.S. pressing, but all of the other important data is not included in the listing. The bidding on this has gone to $585 and the auction is closing in a few hours. Under normal circumstances, what would an M- copy of this sell for — $3,000, $4,000?
OK, so when did this become a $1,700 record: Donald Byrd, Byrd in Flight, Blue Note 4048? This was an original pressing and it was in M- condition. It was also a review copy. Who would have suspected it would get a top bid of $1,712? I certainly didn’t. Our previous high price for this record in the Jazz Collector Price Guide was more in the range of $300.
From the same seller came a batch of other nice collectibles, also at top prices, including: Rocky Boyd, Ease It, Jazz Time 001. This was an original pressing. The record looked to be M- and the cover was probably VG++. It sold for $668. I owned this record at one time but don’t recall that I ever listened to it. I wound up trading it for something not nearly as collectible. I know this record benefits from the presence of Kenny Dorham, for both musicality and collectibility. How is the record and what can we learn about Rocky Boyd?
Tommy Flanagan, The Cats, New Jazz 8217. This is an original pressing with the purple labels and deep grooves. It is a relatively early John Coltrane record featuring Trane as a sideman, along with Kenny Burrell. The record and cover are both in M- condition and the price is in the $250 range, but it has not yet reached the seller’s reserve. My personal story with this goes back nearly 40 years when I was doing some record trading with a sax player named David Krieger and I had a broken leg and couldn’t drive and something came up and he had to leave so I was alone in his basement with his entire record collection, including some gorgeous Blue Notes. I could have taken off with a few gems but of course I did not. I can’t ever look at a copy of The Cats and not think of Dave who sadly passed away earlier this year.
This one is a pretty one right in the time frame when Prestige was doing some of its best work:
Perhaps I’m naive, but when I see an autographed record I always assume that it is legitimate and not a fraud. It seems kind of weird to me that someone would try to copy the autograph of a jazz artist to try to inflate the value of the record when, in many cases, the autograph actually devalues the record, another oddity that I will never understand. I was watching this record on eBay: Thelonious Monk, Work, Prestige 7169. This was a yellow label pressing and an “original” in the sense that it was the first pressing of this record, which is a reissue of an earlier record. Normally it would be worth about $50 or so, but this one happens to have signatures on it from both Monk and Sonny Rollins. To me, this is a gem, assuming the autographs are legitimate, which I do. I tend not to collect autographs, although something like this is tempting, so I passed the listing on to one of our loyal readers who does collect autographs. I see from the geography of the winning bidder that our friend did not bid for this. The start price was $500 and there was one bidder. Don-Lucky — what happened? Seems like a good price for this one.
It’s been a while since we’ve tracked a nice copy of Tina Brooks, True Blue, Blue Note 4041. This one was an original pressing listed in VG++ condition for the record and M- for the cover. It sold for $1,913.
Here’s a nice Riverside: Ernie Henry, Last Chorus, Riverside 266. This looked to be an original pressing in M- condition for both the record and the cover. It sold for $270.
While we’re on Riversides, here’s one two numbers apart: Johnny Griffin Sextet, Riverside 264. This one was in M- condition for both the record and the cover. It sold for $349.95. My dad used to search high and low for the Riversides in the bargain bins of a couple of record stores along 8th Street in Greenwich Village in the ’60s. I wish he would have bought some of these, but he wound up with a lot of Cannonball, a lot of Wes Montgomery and some Bill Evans. No complaints, really. I still have many of those great records from my dad.
Dec 12, 2011 Blue Note
I’m proud of myself. I’m up in the country and I have some time and it’s relaxing and I put a couple of records on. First I put on Sonny Clark’s Cool Struttin’, which is a great record that I hadn’t listed to for years. Then for some reason I put on Sonny Criss Plays Cole Porter on Imperial (both reissues, unfortunately). And I was listening and it was right after Cool Struttin’ and I was thinking, hmm, the pianist on the Sonny Criss record sounds like Sonny Clark. So I looked on the liner notes and, zip, nothing. Oh I hate it when liner notes don’t list the musicians. Thank goodness for the Internet. I googled the record and within seconds I found out, indeed, it is Sonny Clark on piano. For those of you keeping score, the other sidemen are Larry Bunker on vibes, Buddy Woodson on bass and Lawrence Marable on drums. Nice record and I can’t tell if it’s my pressing, but the recording is very tinny. Any of you out there with the original?
Let’s catch up on some jazz vinyl we’ve been watching on eBay. I was up in Providence this past weekend and I held this record in my hands: Jutta Hipp At The Hickory House Volume 1, Blue Note 1515. This was on auction from Round Again Records and it just closed. The record was in VG condition and the cover was VG+ to VG++. Although I have a copy of this record at home, and although I have many Lexington Avenue Blue Notes, there is definitely something magical for me holding one of these original pressings in my hands. It’s like a piece of rare art. This copy sold for $460. I’m going to keep an eye out for more records from Round Again. The store owner, Steve, says he’s trying to work on a deal with some guy who’s been buying records at garage sales for years.
Here are a couple of Blue Notes in better condition and thus in the $1,000 bin: Curtis Fuller, The Opener, Blue Note 1567. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing and it was listed in M- condition for the record and M- or VG++ for the cover. It sold for $1,007. From the same seller came Curtis Fuller, Bone and Bari, Blue Note 1572. This was also an original pressing, also in M- condition for the record and VG++ or M- for the cover. This one has Sonny Clark on piano, so it sold for a bit more: $1,136.
I had said earlier that it was a big week for jazz vinyl on eBay and there are still many nice items to watch from afar (or from up close, depending upon your point of view and/or eyesight). Among the items of interest to us:
Lucky Thompson, Accent on Tenor, Urania 1206. You don’t hear much about Lucky Thompson anymore, nor do you often seen Urania LPs among the collectibles we watch on Jazz Collector. Thompson was a nice tenor player, an early bopper who played on some of the earliest bop dates. If I recall correctly, Dizzy hired him so that there’d be a sax player on the stage when Bird would either be late or not show up at all. How much longer to you think there will be a collectibles market for Lucky Thompson? This one is in M- condition and is in the $350 range with more than a day to go.
The pianist Kenny Drew generally has more cachet as a collectible artist than Lucky Thompson, but this one suffers from condition issues: The Modernity of Kenny Drew, Norgran 1002. This one is listed in VG+ condition for the record and VG- for the cover, but the picture looks pretty decent. You’ll usually see these covers with some ringwear. It’s a great cover, isn’t it, straight out of the Norgran style of the ’50s. This one is around $80 and is closing today.
While we’re on the subject of Kenny Drew:
It’s always interesting to watch the Jazz Record Center auctions on eBay and the latest is closing today. Here are a few of the items:
John Jenkins and Kenny Burrell, Blue Note 1573. This is an original pressing that looks to be in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The start price on this was $1,000 and there is a bid on it, so it will be sold and will enter the virtual $1,000 bin.
John Coltrane, Giant Steps, Atlantic 1311. Here’s a more clear explanation of this than we’ve heard before. Jazz Record Center refers to this as the “pinwheels” label, although we’ve most often seen it described as “bulls-eye.” It is described as an “original deep-groove second press,” which kind of makes sense. It’s still valued among collectors, even though it is not a first press. This one looks to be in M- condition for the record and the cover and is already at more than $170. Speaking of original Coltranes on Atlantic: John Coltrane and Milt Jackson, Bags and Trane, Atlantic 1368. This is an original mono pressing with the red and purple labels, although I’m still not 100 percent sure how to distinguish it as a first pressing. This one is in M- condition and so far there are no takers at $50.
I did my usual eBay searches last night and there is a lot of really, really nice collectible jazz vinyl available now. These things tend to go in cycles. Perhaps the Christmas season brings out the inner retailer in some of us. Here is just a sampling of the jazz vinyl we’re watching now:
Walter Davis Jr., Davis Cup, Blue Note 4018. This looks to be an original pressing in not-too-great condition. Record looks to be VG or VG+ and the cover is rated as VG. The auction closes later today and the bidding is in the $150 range. I have a United Artists pressing of this record and would love an original, even one in VG condition. But this will probably sell for somewhere around $300, so I think I’ll wait.
I’m still surprised to see these Benny Golson LPs selling for such high prices, although I’ve always been a fan myself: Benny Golson, Gone With Golson, New Jazz 8235. This is an original purple label pressing and it is listed in M- condition for the record and Ex for the cover, which is probably VG++? There are more than two days left on this auction and the bidding is already nearing $400. Speaking of which, here is a copy of my favorite Benny Golson record: Benny Golson, The Modern Touch, Riverside 256. This is an original deep groove blue label pressing that is listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The price is well less than $100 at this point, with a few days to go. If you don’t know this record, it’s one to check out. Really nice arrangements, some great Kenny Dorham, and a fantastic rhythm section with Paul Chambers, Max Roach and Wynton Kelly. Doesn’t get much better than that.
Here’s another favorite, with a great cover:
Art Tatum/Ben Webster Quartet, Verve 8220. This is an original pressing with the trumpeter logo. The record was in M- condition and the cover was VG++. There were four bidders, 15 bids and the ultimate price was $290. My sense is most of the readers here at Jazz Collector tend to prefer post-bop era jazz — I generally do as well — but this is one of those must-have records, in my opinion, that always sounds beautiful and fresh when you put it on the turntable.
Haven’t seen this one sell for such a high price before: Sheila Jordan, Portrait of Sheila, Blue Note 9002. This was described as an original U.S. pressing in “superb” condition. It sold for $405. Our previous high for this record in the Jazz Collector Price Guide was just $123, so that’s quite a leap. Great record, though.
Here’s a perennial for the ever-more-crowded $1,000 bin:
Dec 5, 2011 Features
The actual Kennedy Center Honors took place last night, the one in which Sonny Rollins received his long-overdue and much deserved recognition. In looking over various accounts of the festivities, it seems as if it was a lovely evening all around. Bill Cosby did the honors of introducing Sonny and I saw a clip on one of the sites where I recognized Jimmy Heath and Joe Lovano, among others, playing tribute. Sonny was asked why the evening was so special. “It’s very nice to be recognized here in our country, which is the birthplace of jazz,” he said. “It’s where we started jazz, and people love jazz all over the world. It’s a peaceful expression of the spirit, of love, of everything.” In the U.S. there will be a two-hour broadcast of the evening on Dec. 27 at 9 p.m. on CBS.
I have my eye on a couple of 10-inch LPs today, not that I’m interested in buying them, just interested to see if they’ll sell: Fats Navarro Memorial Album, Blue Note 5004. This is an original pressing, but you have to love the seller’s listing of 161 Lexington Ave. as opposed to 767 Lexington Ave. That early script was tough to read, I guess. This one is listed in VG+ condition for both the record and the cover and it has a start price of about $160. It closes early tomorrow and so far there are no bidders. From the same seller is Jay Jay Johnson, Blue Note 5028. This one is also in VG+ condition, is also closing early tomorrow, is also priced at about $160 and is also without any bidders. We’ll see. I think part of my interest in the 10-inchers is because this week I finally got my 10-inch LPs and my 78s out of storage. It was not a simple process and required deep negotiations with
I’m a big fan of the John Coltrane Atlantic period. Is there anyone in this audience who isn’t? I mean, Giant Steps, My Favorite Things, Coltrane Jazz — there are classics among them, for sure. Other than the clear black label on Giant Steps as an original mono, it’s never been all that clear to me what makes an Atlantic an original pressing. Deep grooves, heavy vinyl, yes, but the labels have different color combinations. And there’s also the bulls-eye, whether it is black or white. Anyway, I’m pleased that the Jazz Record Center is auctioning a couple of these records this week because they can contribute to the collective knowledge by identifying what is and is not an original pressing. For instance: John Coltrane, Coltrane Jazz, Atlantic 1354. This is described as an original stereo pressing with the green and blue labels. Tell the truth, did you know green and blue was the original label on this? The stereo, to my ears, is the preferred pressing on this one, starting with the great version of Little Old Lady. This original pressing has a start price of $50 and so far there are no takers, but there’s plenty of time left.
Dec 1, 2011 Prestige
Here’s some of the jazz vinyl we’re watching now on eBay, starting with: Charlie Parker, The Bird Blows the Blues Volume 1, Dial 901. This is the original 1950 pressing and is, to our collective knowledge here, supposedly the first 12-inch LP ever. Based on the description, it sounds as if the record is in VG++ condition. I wouldn’t mind having a copy of this (which I don’t). This one closes in more than three days, is at a little bit more than $100 and has a reserve price, which has not yet been met. Hmmmmm.
From the same seller is Hank Mobley, Mobley’s Message, Prestige 7061. This is another one I once owned and now regret selling. This one looks to be in VG condition, perhaps VG+, but probably VG. It is about $120 with a few days left to go.
If it’s “insanely rare” it must be the seller bobjdukic, who is back with a bunch of records, including: