Many dealers, including our partner AJ Doctor, use the Goldmine Grading Guide as a guideline to grading records. Goldmine is a biweekly record collectors magazine in the United States that also publishes price guides. The following is an excerpt from their Grading Guide:
Mint (M): Absolutely perfect in every way – certainly never played, possibly even still sealed. Should be used sparingly as a grade, if at all.
Near Mint (NM or M-): A nearly perfect record. Many dealers won’t give a grade higher than this implying (perhaps correctly) that no record is ever truly perfect. The record should show no obvious signs of wear. An LP jacket should have no creases, folds, seam splits or any other noticeable similar defect. No cut-out holes either. And of course, the same should be true of any other inserts, such as posters, Read more
Today we’ll spend a little time watching eBay.
Here are some of the interesting items from the past couple of days. I especially like the LPs autographed by Woods and Farlow, not just because of the signatures, which are cool, but also because the records seem to be in nice condition.
Phil Woods, Warm Woods, Epic 3436, in M- condition and autographed by Woods. Price: $395
Tal Farlow, Fascinatin’ Rhythm, Verve 8011, in M- condition and autographed by Tal. Price: $149.95
Here’s another interesting guitar collectible. I know there are stories out there about Dick Garcia, so maybe one of our guitar collectors can help us out. We have a Guitar Corner section in the Forums section of the Website, but so far the traffic’s been pretty light. Read more
Today we turn things over to some readers. The death of Elvin Jones inspired a couple of people to write: “The loss of Elvin Jones is indeed a blow to the jazz world. I feel lucky to have seen him for the first time in Minneapolis last fall. I was downtown and, to my surprise, The Dakota, formerly a St. Paul jazz club, had opened a club right on Nicollet Mall, just a few blocks from my hotel. I thought they were expanding. As it turned out, they had moved their location. To my surprise, the Grand Opening act was Elvin Jones and The Jazz Machine. Being a swing drummer, Elvin was not at the top of my list of influences, but I knew enough to know that if I ever wanted to see him, this was the time. Read more
We all appreciate knowledgeable dealers who understand what they’re selling and can provide us with insight about the collectibles market. Here’s an example: I was recently looking through eBay and saw a Charles Mingus record I had never seen before. The title is “Music Written For Monterey, 1965. Not Heard … Played In Its Entirety at UCLA,” East Coasting 12.001.
The dealer offering this LP was Stereojacks, which I happen to know through my many travels to Boston. Stereojacks is based in Cambridge and is one of the more reputable and knowledgeable dealers in the country. This is their explanation of the record: Read more
I was poring through eBay this morning, preparing today’s update, when my wife came into my office. “Did you see The Times?” she asked. “There’s an article that Coltrane’s drummer died.”
It’s not surprising that The Times would refer to Elvin Jones as “Coltrane’s drummer.” That’s the way many of us came to find his music, on those great Atlantic and Impulse LPs of the early and mid 1960s. Jones’s contributions to Trane’s seminal quartet did more to influence the music than anything he might have accomplished before or since. Jones, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison – they all must have known at the time that Trane was taking them on explorations that were redefining the music.
I turned to my record collection and searched for my favorite Elvin moments from that era. Two albums caught my eye: Africa/Brass, Impulse 6, about which, ironically, I wrote last week; and Coltrane Live at Birdland, Impulse 50. The live LP, particularly the track “Afro-Blue,” exemplifies the way in which Jones drove the quartet to places no other drummer of the era could have taken them. Here’s an excerpt from the original liner notes to this 1963 LP, courtesy of LeRoi Jones: Read more
I went to the country for a couple of days and stayed off eBay, cold turkey. I had no outward signs of withdrawal, but my wife swears I was up in the middle of the night screaming incoherently about missing a Donald Byrd record on Transition for $5. Anyway, I’m back and looking at some of the items I was watching over the weekend to see what I might have missed. Here are a few things that are catching my eye: Read more
I often wonder why, for me, listening to jazz means putting on a record and not popping in a disc. I know I prefer the sound of the record, but I’m no audiophile and, to be honest, I’m not sure if given a blindfold test I would necessarily be able to tell the vinyl apart from the CD. My preference, as I’m sure it does for all record collectors, goes beyond the sound.
There’s the tactile: The actual feel of the record and the placing of it on the turntable and the taking of the needle and the placing of the needle on the first groove. Read more
My friend Dan called the other day. He’d just bought a copy of “Slim’s Jam”, the original 78 on the Bel-Tone label, featuring one of Charlie Parker’s early recorded solos recorded in December 1945 when he was in Los Angeles. Dan paid 40 bucks on eBay for the 78. I don’t have a copy of the 78, but I do have the cut on the original Savoy 12-inch LP, The Genius of Charlie Parker, Savoy MG-12014, so I put it on. This is a classic, of course, featuring Slim Gaillard introducing each of the musicians in his own inimitable style: “Here comes Zutty in the door with his brushes . . . This is a fun, Jack McVouty and his tenor.” And, inevitably, “Charlie Yardbirdaroonee,” who, as we soon learn, was “ havin’ a little reed trouble.”
Yesterday we answered some questions from readers. Today we have a question we would like to throw out to the community and see if anyone else has the answer. We’re starting to get a little action on the forums, so if you have questions like these please put them there and we can start building a clearinghouse of information for collectors.
On to today’s question, from Pete aka “Bongo Pete the Drummer”:
“Hello. I have for years owned a 45-RPM EP on Clef Records called Introducing Barney Kessel and have never found any info on it. I also own the 10-inch LP Barney Kessel Volume 1 on Contemporary, which mentions in the liner notes that it is Barney’s first album – but that’s what it says on the back of the Clef 45. I know Barney just passed away on the 6th of this month. Do you know anything about this Clef EP? Read more
Today we answer a couple of questions from readers and keep our ongoing eye on eBay.
Q. It always drives me crazy when records don’t list all the musicians. I was recently listening to a copy of The Touch of Tony Scott on the RCA label. The pianist sounded like Bill Evans, but I wasn’t sure. Can you please tell me who is on this album?
A. Good ears. The pianist is Bill Evans, very early in his career. You can hear him very effectively on “Round Midnight.” The album was recorded by three different bands on three dates in 1956. Read more