A Few From the Jazz Record Center

tedOur friends at the Jazz Record Center have an auction closing this week, so let’s take a look at some of their items, starting with: Ted Brown Sextet, Free Wheeling, Vanguard 8515. This is an original pressing that looks to be in M- condition for the record and probably VG++ for the cover. The bidding is in the $320 range with a little more than a day to do. This record features Warne Marsh and Art Pepper and, I must admit, is one I have never heard. That will be corrected today, however: When I bought the big collection last summer there was a reissue of this record and it has been sitting on my shelf ever since. Today it will make it’s way onto the turntable.

I can’t figure out why there are no bids yet for this one: Johnny Coles, Little Johnny C, Blue Note 4144. This is an original pressing that looks to be in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The start price is $100.

Here’s a nice Riverside:

Kenny Dorham, Jazz Contrasts, Riverside 239. This is an original white label pressing in M- condition for the record and probably M- or VG++ for the cover. The bidding is in the $250 range.




  • Did you ever notice that the jazz record center’s offerings are almost always “perhaps played once?”

  • Yeah, how do they consistently find these pristine albums?

  • I think the pristine ones are the only ones he puts up for auction. Every album I’ve won has always looked pretty much like new, even when it was 50 years old.

  • Al, the Freewheeling record is highly enjoyable. If you like it, the Ronnie Ball album on Savoy and the Warne Marsh album on Imperial are on the same vein… Those three albums use approximtely the same session men.

  • I have an original copy of Freewheeling. It is a very good record. But not one that I’m tied to. So would be willing to sell or trade it. If there are any interested parties, let me know!

  • Michel: I would say that these three albums are the cream of the crop of the nineteen-fifties. Difficult to find more complete and satisfactory albums. But I know, I am alone crying in the desert.

  • Rudolf, you are not alone ! I’m a huge fan of Warne Marsh, Ted Brown, and Ronnie Ball… I managed to get all those records in original edition while they were still affordable, and since then i cherish them … I will add the Warne Marsh on Mode, – althought a quartet session in a different mood – as another unsung masterpiece.

  • Michel: of course, the Warne on Mode (and the one on Atlantic…)
    It is most distressing that these masterpieces are not in high demand anymore. I bought them in the good old times at normal retail prices, thereafter they went sky-high and now they are affordable, I would say. A good occasion for upgrading?
    P.S. A friend of mine had a new, unplayed, copy of the Ronnie Ball Savoy album on EBay, for 29 dollars. No buyer, unsold! But who of the younger generation knows Ronnie?

  • Of course, Ronnie Ball Warne Marsh, are quite forgotten. The problem with those artists is that they did not record their masterpieces on Blue Note. For the young generation (do i still belong to it ?:-) Blue Note hysteria tends to promote every artist, no matter what actual quality the output is. And by contrast, many brilliant artists are now forgotten because they do not belong to the sexiest label in the music history….

  • Rudolf and Michel – you guys are right on the money. Many of my favorite records I bought (recently) for a pittance because of the un-sexy label and the lack of a “big name” headliner.
    The prime example for me is “Fantastic Frank Strozier” on Vee Jay – wonderful record, tremendous lineup (Booker Little, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb, Wynton Kelly), superlative playing, excellent sound. Bought it for $5 in NM, and it’s readily available online for very little. If that record had Paul Chambers as the headliner and was on Blue Note, it would be impossible to find.
    Another example is Bennie Green’s self-titled record on Time, with Sonny Clark on piano, and featuring a number of Sonny’s tunes. I think it’s a very nice record; bought a NM copy for $4. If that same record were headlined by Sonny Clark, was on Blue Note, and was called, say, “Sonny’s Crip,” it would be a $500 record. Heck, Walkin’ and Talkin’ features the same lineup (minus Sonny Clark) came out the year before on BN and we know it has become an expensive record. But because the S/T was on Time (itself a nice label) and does not advertise Sonny Clark, it’s easily had for the price of a cup of coffee.
    In a certain sense, this attachment to certain labels is good, as it makes these other wonderful records more readily available. As Rudolf notes – a good time for upgrading, or adding a missing record or two.

  • Ted Brown still plays occasionally in NY and sounds very good these days.

    I have Japanese pressings of Free Wheeling and All About Ronnie, and I’m definitely of the younger generation. Wish I’d seen that original Savoy – a deal for $29!

  • A neglected masterpiece.One of the most original and bravest niches in 1950’s Jazz.Problem is it happened 3,000 miles from the precious landscape of the notes that were blue and the Prestiges that were purple-in Southern California.Can it be the worn and frayed battle flag of West Coast vs. East Coast still flys?
    Perhaps,yes and maybe.Why, I ask you, is the Contemporary label so rarely talked about and the records pursued at a much less heated pace than the Eastern rivals? It Can’t be the music-extraordinary Jazz that defies Coastal category..You can start in 1955 with Hampton Hawes,move on to Curtis Counce in ’56 Art Pepper and Sonny Rollins in ’57.
    You can move onward to the first Ornette Coleman’s,the presage of the Mainstream-Benny Carter and Earl Hines.Cecil Taylor in 1958 (how about reading those tea leaves?)Rollins again returning to the label in ’58,more Art Pepper,Teddy Edwards,Howard McGhee,Joe Gordon.Harold Land in the Land of Jazz,an album that burns as easily as anything Easterly.
    Neglected piano studies in multiple albums by Phineas Newborn Jr. at the height of his powers.Throw in the Poll winners with Kessel,Brown and Manne.
    Manne himself fronting a litany of absorbing groups seemingly boiling over with the Blackhawk sessions with Joe Gordon and Richie Kamuca and the devilishly good piano of Victor Feldman.
    Interesting that many of these artists returned in the 70’s (Pepper,Hawes,Newborn,Kessel)and continued valuable musical statements.
    The neglect of this label can’t be associated with the actual recording sound by the legendary Roy DuNann,a sound engineer who understood how to record a Jazz group,sometimes more often than not, in the cramped confines of the Contemporary warehouse.Roy, I will put you in the ring with Rudy anytime,but why fight when you can sit and luxuriate over some of the most marvelously imagined record covers ever,many with the burning images of William Claxton.Feel those thick pressings,they hold up better than most over the years,the lustrous vinyl retains a glow almost like Helen Mirren,they are about the same age.
    The Art Pepper “meets the rhythm section” lp seems to hover in the 500$ range yet many others from this label are way less but absolutely absorbing music.Can we get a little love for Lester Koenig’s vision and forthright documentation of the best of the west?

  • god i see joan baez’s vanguards all the time in the bins, never seen freewheeling. is there really that fewer a number of them out there?

  • Does this website get a cut of JRC’s take or what? kinda lol (!)
    I would never spend $400+ on a Vanguard label lp! I’m not a big west coast guy either so that record doesn’t make sense to me at all. Maybe a cd press to quench the thirst? I do dig Harold Land and think his stuff is as heavy as the east coasters (and some others) but most of it just stays on the plate until it’s time to clean the dishes.
    I just listened to it on youtube – it’s ok. I would probably like a cheapo reissue or cd but $400+ I don’t know – there are so many others I would rather have!

  • Besides the fact that all of the above mentioned records and musicians offer superb and vastly underrated music, I don’t get what Warne Marsh,Ted Brown, Ronnie Ball etc… have to do with ‘west coast jazz’ (whatever that may be), except the Vanguard session was recorded in Hollywood. That is, unless geography must still serve as a handy shortcut to separate white and black players into two neat categories showing generic differences in approach and its inherent merits. It’s a great way to go if you want to miss out on some fabulous music! Marsh was a genius musician and one of the greatest improvisers ever, far beyond any coast…His big sins were being white, considered ‘intellectual’, and not inclined to grandstanding and easy emoting. The biggest obstacle to the appreciation of his originality was the lifelong critics-imposed label of ‘student’ and ‘disciple’ of his mentor, the ‘cold’ and ‘cerebral’ Lennie Tristano, as if Marsh remained a kind of school boy all of his adult musical life. Imagine Coltrane or Hancock or Wayne Shorter (who by the way knows Marsh inside out) being presented as ‘disciples’ of Miles… Let’s add the Marsh-Brown Imperial sessions to this wonderful list as well.

  • Thanks Rob. That’s exactly what i wanted to say…if my english was good enough. I’m listening Music For Prancing right now, all i can found here is a supreme and soulful sax player.

  • zarabeth74: forgive my ignorance. What do you mean by “lol”?

  • jazzcourier: thanks for your apology of Lester Koenig. It is a shame in itself that you felt compelled to write this anyway.
    ROB L. this East vs West Coast thing is just rubbish.

  • You can count Joe Henderson amongst the Warne Marsh devotees.He once travelled,on his “off” night at the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach to the fabled “Donte’s” in North Hollywood and sat in awe at the feet of Marsh who spun his endless,creative,cliche-free variations on the Prez/Bird manifestos into his own vision.Henderson knew and appreciated challenging and endlessly compelling saxophone playing when he heard it.
    Marsh never excelled in the studio,never felt comfortable and his best playing is almost always found on the live recordings.Not to say that the records are not superb,they are, and all worth hearing/owning.
    As far as the Wayne Shorter influence,listen to Wayne stretching out with Miles on the massive Plugged Nickle live recordings,he exhibits a strong desire to follow the Warne Marsh path in improvisation.
    Marsh never had the drive of Lee Konitz to divorce himself from the Lennie Tristano school,he continued to embrace it until his death, and pass many of the ideas and principals on to his own students.Marsh was a musician’s musician and never really attracted an audience that could afford him much notoriety out of that milieu,with the exception of some adventurous listeners.Once they heard him they were hooked.

  • A wonderful site for Warne Marsh is called The Warne Marsh Information Site. I believe it is http://www.warnemarsh.info

  • bill: nice site. I heard Warne only once. Somewhere in the seventies in the Bronx, with a singer Judy Niemack. She sang like another horn. It was a thrilling experience.

  • Rudolf: “LOL” is texting slang for Laugh Out Loud. “ROFL” is Rolling On Floor Laughing. The list of abbreviations is endless. I have teenagers so unfortunately I have to keep current with this.

  • thanks DaveS. And stay young with the teenagers.

  • RUDOLF: Of course West vs East is rubbish, that’s exactly what i meant. I’m even surprised the concept has survived, but in this case It still seems to come in handy for simplifying certain things that defy simplification…FYI: Judy Niemack is till teaching in Berlin and singing well… Nice one JAZZCOURIER, right on the spot concerning Joe Henderson and Marsh. However, the concept of a supposed Tristano ‘school’ and the handful of poor guys who could not or barely escape from its limiting regime has always seemed a form of selective criticism to me when compared to the history and merits hundreds of Parker or Coltrane followers. Having more or less obediently followed their masters they are generally considered as carriers of a great tradition and benefactors of a wonderful influence and never as pupils from a ‘school’, – while Marsh really contributed highly original music, whatever his loyalty to or dependance on Tristano may have been. Anyway, to go back to base and the subject of records, and despite Marsh’s studio reluctance: I’d recommend the much latter Ballads album with Hank Jones, on CrissCross i think.

  • The first Criss Cross collaboration with Hank Jones and Warne Marsh,”Star Highs” is often thought on one of Warne’s best.This session grew out of the Village Vanguard gig that was documented by Stanley Crouch in his Village Voice article “The duck and the swan” good reading about this,what was then considered, an unlikely pairing of Marsh and Jones.Both records are superb as one might imagine.
    The Supersax cds “Live in Japan” in two volumes include some of the most electrifying solos by Marsh.There are several mindbending solos on these discs that actually back up the opinion that he was a natural extension of Charlie Parker’s virtuoso universe.I heard him play at these elevated tempos many times with Supersax,as well as in many other contexts,Grateful that I heard him because I will never hear another saxophone player play such compelling music with such masterful technical ability.
    Judy Niemack was a young student of Warnes’ who followed him to New York in the late 70’s when he left the West Coast.There were several Saxophone players who also followed him back but none have reached any notoriety.
    The Tristano school is alive and well with Connie Crothers taking the lead with her Brooklyn based group and a large group of students who follow Lennie’s original methods of improvisation.
    Unrelated to this subject,but certainly worth noting is the passing of Edward “Butch” Warren October 5 at 74 in Washington D.C.
    Warren was one of the house bassists for Blue Note,right off the top of my head I can think of about 16 sessions.He was a teenage prodigy of sorts and a disciple of Jackie McLean.Warren was a phantom in the last 50 years due to his drug problems.He finally returned to playing shortly before his death from lung cancer.So spin one for Butch-good listening!

  • jazzcourier: how about Lenny Popkin? He made two recordings for Paris Jazz Corner Productions. I have the first “New York Moment”, with Eddie Gomez and Carol Tristano. A great album.

  • Popkin was Lennie Tristano’s tenor player in his final group and is married to Lennie’s daughter Carol,a fine drummer.They live in Paris and are very active musically,in fact Popkin does have a new self released cd.Popkin is definitely influenced by Marsh and a fine player in his own right.

  • jazzcourier: so then it is wise before coming to Paris to see when/where he performs and plan accordingly.

  • You can reach Popkin through Parisjazzcorner.com,in fact the website says the trio is performing somewhere in the Paris vicinity on the 15th of this month of October.I visited the Paris Jazz Corner record store in 2002-3 and found some great records at fair prices,the gents running the shop spoke no English.I would imagine if you are in Paris this store would be a must visit.When I was in Paris I was fortunate enough to hear Steve Lacy,not too long before his passing,a memorable night! He spun magic In the air with his trio in a small,packed club with attentive,involved listeners.

  • jazzcourier: as a matter of fact, it is the Paris Jazz Corner people that gave me the Popkin disc when they passed at my place to pick up a couple of thousand LP albums in my first slimming down operation.
    Their shop is nice and I never leave empty-handed.

  • P.S. Lenny will perform in trio on the 15th of Oct. in Paris. Source: the Paris Jazz Corner site.

  • Some hope for the old guys…:
    I come in record stores in amsterdam, holland , and there are people from 16 till 40 that do buy those jazz albums , … the wayne marsh and others, like freewheelin’ are being reprinted on lp and cs every decade again… seen them and bought them… don’t also forget the downloads on i-tunes… most of the great 50’s AND eastcoast records are there , and (young) people DO buy them..
    I mean, Rudolf, when you where young (and by heart you still are !) in the 50’s in holland, how manny hank mobleys and wayne marsh records where sold??? Probably much more records from Pat Boone and cliff richards, ) i think, they even sell more nowerdays, than back then… (how many copies of a sonny clark album did you see in the fifties Rudolf, in Amsterdam? Today i now of 8 recordstores in amsterdam where you can buy a record of sonny clark ) and what about all those jazzhipster getting there jazz Diploma’s from art shools all over the world…. NO, JAZZ IS STILL GOING STRONG…. ppppfffff… did i just try to convince myself.. 🙂

  • Incidentally, the Freewheeling album sold for $510, which is, I believe, a high for that LP
    I have it and I like it, but it is by no means the best of the 50’s, either west or east

  • I think it is the presence of Art Pepper that fuels that high price.I find The October ’56 Radio recorders sessions by the Warne Marsh quintet to be even more satisfying.The two tenors (Marsh and Brown) are clearly focused on the intricate lines and there is much more room to hear Ronnie Ball at his best.Four titles were issued on a Kapp two lp West Coast collection and the imperial session was issued as “Jazz of two cities” and “the winds of Marsh”.This was a working quintet around L.A. at that time and they do sound like it.This is another case of a non-coastal netherworld of Jazz.Fresh Sounds collected all this material on a two cd set.

  • Maarten: you raise many interesting questions. Of course in the 1950’s people in the Netherlands did not buy Marsh on the Mode, Vanguard, Imperial and other exotic labels. For the simple reason that these labels were not available (and unknown) in the Netherlands. The only Marsh available was Prestige 7004 (but soon deleted) and the Atlantic session with Konitz, available on the U.K. London label. The Kapp two-fer anthology was also on London, but may not have been imported.
    We were dépendent on which titles the sole importers of each label would decide to distribute. For Prestige, Blue Note, Clef/Norgran/Verve, Riverside, Contemporary,Fantasy, Savoy and Vogue there were sole “importers”. Then there were Dutch pressing plants for Philips/Fontana (for US Columbia), EmArcy and Capitol.
    You could walk into de Bijenkorf (The Hague) and buy a wide variety of artists, e.g. Cecil Taylor’s album on Contemporary and Herbie Nichols 10″ on Blue Note. Local shops in the West End of The Hague would have reasonable stocks of all the labels above, and in the city centre of The Hague (and also Rotterdam) the choice would be impressive. I did not have to go to A’dam. Only we did not have your “Concerto”.
    The problem at that time, I did not have enough money as a student and one did not know what existed in the rest of the world. US trade journals were expensive. I sometimes sneaked in at newsstands to read them, and for the rest one depended on Michiel de Ruyter’s programmes at the radio. But he would only present what was available, of course.
    Re Sonny Clark on Blue Note: I bought my Cool Struttin’ in the Wagenstraat. So we were not unhappy, and well served by the existing system.
    It is refreshing to read that Amsterdam youngsters buy Marsh, that is fantastic. But still, Ronnie Ball’s Savoy album, offered by a (Dutch) friend on EBay.com, an archive copy in N condition, did not receive a single bid at the 29.99 starting price. That is why I exclaimed, who of the youngsters does know Ronnie Ball? Sorry to have been that long and greetings to the home country from the white Alps.

  • P.S. the London label was imported by Phonogram and gave us access to i.a. Atlantic, United Artists, Kapp.

  • Wow, I step away for what feels like a second and boom, 36 comments.
    I just wanted to say that the Johnny Coles sold for $338, which was a very good deal for the winner. That’s one of my favorite sessions of all-time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *