The other day I was listening to Giant Steps, yet again, and this time I pulled out the album and re-read the liner notes. I was amazed at the prescience and knowledge of the writer. Here are the first two paragraphs:
“Along with sonny Rollins, John Coltrane has become the most influential and controversial tenor saxophonist inn modern jazz. He is becoming, in fact, more controversial and possibly more influential than Rollins. While it’s true that to musicians especially, Coltrane’s fiercely adventurous harmonic imagination is the most absorbing aspect of his developing style, the more basic point is that for many non-musician listeners, Coltrane at his best has an unusually striking emotional impact. There is such intensity in his playing that the string of adjectives employed by French Critic Gerard Bremond in a Jazz-Hot article on Coltrane seemed hardly at all exaggerated. Bremond called his playing ‘exuberant, furious, impassioned, thundering.’
“There is also, however, an extraordinary amount of sentimentality in Coltrane’s work. Part of the fury in much of his playing is the fury of the search, the obsession Coltrane has to play all he can hear or would like to hear — often all at once — and yet at the same time make his music, as he puts it, ‘more presentable.’ He said recently, ‘I’m worried that sometimes what I’m doing sounds like just academic exercises and I’m trying more and more to make it sound prettier.’ It seems to me he already succeeds often in accomplishing both his aims, as sections of this album demonstrate.”
I looked down at the bottom to see which Jazz journalist had written this piece back in 1959 and, to no surprise at all, it was the great Nat Hentoff. When I woke up this morning, there was news in The New York Times that Nat Hentoff had died at age 91.
Watching a couple of interesting jazz records that are closing today on eBay, starting with Wes Montgomery, Full House, Riverside 434. This is a mono pressing with the blue label. I know that people here have talked about deep groove versions of this record, but they seem to be exceedingly rare. The non-DG version typically sells for a hefty sum, but so far there is no action on this copy. It is listed in VG++ condition for both the record and the cover and the start price is about $130. I would expect it to sell, but you never know.
Similar situation with this one: The Arrival of Kenny Dorham, Jaro 5007. This looks to be an original pressing with the promo stamp. The record and cover are both listed in VG++ condition. The start price is $200 and there is a single bid so it will definitely sell, but I would normally expect this record in this condition to get a bit more action than this one seems to be getting.
No worry about this next one seeing lots of action:
Happy New Year to all. Looks like our friend Rudolf had a pretty good start to the year selling some vintage and rare jazz vinyl, including Elmo Hope Quintet with Frank Foster and Freeman Lee, Blue Note 5044. This was an original 10-inch pressing that looked to be in beautiful pristine condition, perhaps unplayed after being placed in storage many years ago? Rudolf, I don’t recall if you shared the story of how they ended up in storage, but I would love to hear it (again?). This one sold for $1,054.99. Do you think there are many left in the world in this condition? I also had a pristine copy, which I sold in 1990 for $400, which seemed like a lot at the time and, in fact, was a lot. But the $400 came and went and I’ve never found another affordable copy of this record in the 27 years since.
This one came from the same batch and I was quite surprised to see where the bidding ended up, since I’ve never viewed this one as particularly coveted by collectors:
Just catching up with my eBay watch list after a lovely Christmas weekend here in the lovely Berkshires Mountains of Western Massachusetts, where I am looking out of my window at a frozen lake and a gorgeous winter scene straight out of Normal Rockwell. And, of course, there are also records to be perused and evaluated on eBay. Today we will start with The Paul Chambers Quintet, Blue Note 1564. This was kind of a weird pressing. It had the West 63rd Street address, the deep grooves and the Van Gelder stamp, but it did not have the ears. It seems like an early pressing to me, especially since this was not a record I ever saw issued once Liberty took over. It also had shrink wrap and a later “27 years of Blue Note” inner sleeve, which would place the issue at around 1966. In any case, this was listed in Ex condition for both the record and the cover. There was a start price of about $300 and there were no bidders, which surprised me.
Many of you have probably noticed that the seller manusardi1 has some nice items on eBay now, including Jutta Hipp at the Hickory House, Volume One, Blue Note 1515. This is an original pressing. The record is labeled “pristine” and the cover looks to be VG++ or so. The bidding is in the $900 range and there are still three days to go. For those looking to spend big bucks filling in big gap in their Blue Note collections, there is also the companion Jutta Hipp at the Hickory House, Volume Two, Blue Note 1516. This one is also listed in “pristine” condition for the record, with a similar condition on the cover, perhaps VG++, perhaps a little less. This one is in the $800 range with three days left.
I know I haven’t posted in a while when I start getting little love notes from our old pal CeeDee, with gentle reminders such as “you may have seen these by now, but . . . ” Anyway, these a couple of the ones being called to my attention, starting with Kenny Dorham, Quiet Kenny, New Jazz 8225. This was an original pressing with the purple label and the deep grooves. The record was graded VG++ and the cover was VG+. The final price was $1,752.
Then there was Joe Henderson, Inner Urge, Blue Note 84189. This was an original stereo pressing with the New York USA labels and the ears in the dead wax. The record was listed in M- condition and the cover was VG++. The final price was $383. High for a stereo pressing, but certainly not surprising, right?
I didn’t have either of those on my watch list, but I did have this one, which fetched quite a fetching price:
Whilst I have immensely enjoyed writing and sharing those personal essays, I know that most of you come to Jazz Collector for the really important stuff, which is keeping track of record prices and sales on eBay, so we can all marvel at how smart and fortunate we were to have bought our records below market value, or we can lament the unfortunate reality that buying the top rare jazz collectibles at today’s market prices is beyond the capacity of many of us, either from a financial perspective or because it offends our basic sensibilities to pay top dollar rather than keep hunting for a bargain, even if it may mean never owning an original pressing of a record that we covet deeply. The point of that rather long sentence is that it is time to get back to business, and since so many of us have a soft spot for Blue Notes, I have decided that today will be a Blue Note day here at Jazz Collector, starting with Wayne Shorter, Ju Ju, Blue Note 4182. This looks to be an original pressing with the New York USA label, Van Gelder and ear. The record and cover are both listed in Ex condition. The price is now close to $400 with more than a day left on the auction. As we have all seen, the price of these later era original pre-Liberty Blue Notes has risen markedly over the past few years. If we haven’t seen these break into the $1,000 bin yet, it looks like that is just a matter of time.
By Al Perlman Editor and Publisher, Jazz Collector
So last night I was in bed with The Lovely Mrs. JC and as is our usual custom we were listening to a random playlist of ballads as we went to sleep. The shuffle landed on Stan Getz playing “Body and Soul.” We were listening and it was just sheer beauty and at the end of the second verse Getz goes into this run that is absolute genius, and I don’t use that term loosely, but, with Getz, I know that it applies. I don’t have the language, either in words or music, to describe what it is that Getz does, but, to me, I think of a figure skater taking off in full flight, doing three turns and three axels with pure grace and beauty and then landing on her feet as if it were all perfectly natural. You can listen to it here and perhaps you will hear what I heard.
I listened to this passage and I started laughing because I hadn’t heard it in a long time and I was flabbergasted and in awe at what just came out of the speaker.
The Lovely Mrs. JC rose from a slumber and asked: “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” I replied.
“Why were you laughing?”
“Did you hear that?” I replied.
“That,” I said. “That thing Getz just played. It was unbelievable.” Read more
I actually have more I want to say about the Coltrane documentary, which I will do in a subsequent post, but today I promised Jazz Collector readers a regular post and that typically means looking at some rare jazz records on eBay. As I type this I have a random playlist on in the background and Bird just came on playing “Confirmation.” So let me pause for a moment. Okay, back with you all.
Well, perhaps there is something in the air. First record I went to on eBay is: Charlie Parker, Bird Blows the Blues, Dial 901. This is an original pressing with the red vinyl. I believe we have established here on Jazz Collector that this was the first 12-inch vinyl record ever? I add the question mark because I’m still not sure. Anyway, I have never owned a copy of this record, and won’t own this one. The starting price is $1,500 and it’s only in VG condition. Even worse, the seller doesn’t include an original picture. That very clear, really enticing picture accompanying the listing, and accompanying this post, is actually copied from a book. For $1,500, I personally wouldn’t mind seeing the real deal, not that I would ever pay $1,500 anyway.
By Al Perlman Editor and Publisher, Jazz Collector
To my regular Jazz Collector readers, I promise I will be back with a normal post on Tuesday. In the meantime, I ask for one final indulgence for this one final post so I can close the book on this Chasing Trane diversion.
First of all, I would like to let you all know that I am doing well. Since the election I have not turned on the television news or read any news or opinions in any periodical — print or online. It has been a blessing. My head is not clogged with useless information, my guts are not wrenched with fear, my vision is not clouded with images of people who spew hatred, vitriol and divisiveness.
Even better, I have begun to channel the spiritual awareness that the Coltrane documentary helped to inspire. I am walking down the street with a new energy that seems to be apparent because people are smiling at me and talking to me as never before. I am chatting with people in the elevator. I’ve reached out to friends that I have been estranged from for years. Plus, with my head cleared, I’ve had a burst of creative energy. The previous post on Chasing Trane is just one example. I am also doing great work for my clients and I am doing more writing on the side.