A Lovely Jazz Vinyl Trio for Christmas

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.

As we mentioned, the seller manusardi1 had some very nice items on eBay this week, including Kenny Dorham ‘Round About Midnight at the Cafe Bohemia, Blue Note 1524. This was an original Lexington Avenue pressing listed in “pristine” condition for the record and Ex for the cover. The final price was $1,780. How often are you going to find a copy of this record in pristine condition?

This was one of the ones from the bobdjukic listings: Hank Mobley, Jazz Message #2, Savoy 12092. This looked to be an original pressing with the red label and deep grooves. The record was labeled in Excellent condition, which the seller describes as between VG++ and M-. Whatever. The cover looks to be VG+ based on the description, although the seller grades it VG++. Of course the record was listed as “mega rare.” It sold for $612.

32 comments

  • It looks to me that Paul Chambers Quintet – Blue Note 1564 item here Is NOT deep groove…

  • Correct Duonri, no deep groove.

  • Abrasive_Beautiful

    I agree with Duonri, the photos make it sort of look like it has the DG, but it is just a shadow from the little ridge on the label.

    I’m consistently surprised what pops up in earless form, just when I think I’ve seen them all, there’s a new one. The only titles I have never seen or heard of being earless are also exceptionally rare in original form….things like Undercurrent, True Blue, 1568, etc. Things of that caliber.

  • Yup, no deep groove on the Paul Chambers. Pressings without the ear can’t have deep grooves by definition as none of the pressing plants used by Liberty used deep groove stampers (at least, no deep groove Liberty pressings have ever surfaced from what I know).

    @Abrasive_Beautiful: coincidentally I saw on an earless Undercurrent on eBay earlier this year (am confident it was indeed earless as the seller in question knows their stuff). Have also seen several other top collectables in earless form on eBay, like Hank Mobley’s All Stars and Sonny’s Crib (no True Blue yet, though). Maybe Liberty did a low number reissue run of the entire catalogue or most of it upon acquiring Blue Note and focussed on the big sellers afterwards? Just conjecture but it would explain why for a fair amount of hard to get records there are earless versions with original covers and labels but little to no subsequent reissues.

  • Adendum re: the Chambers lp: it also has the sort of tight shrink wrap that wouldn’t have been in use around the years the record was first issued (back then they used looser plastic sleeves which Al describes in some of his earlier record score posts). Also the 27 years inner dates it to 1966 which was when Liberty took over Blue Note.

  • Abrasive_Beautiful

    Very interesting on the Undercurrent! I agree, many top shelf items came out earless. Recently I have seen Sonny’s Crib, Mobley all stars, Sonny Redd, and my friend saw a Pearson Profile and City Lights !

    These pressings generally sound really good, but it irritates me to no end when sellers try to pass them off as firsts at similar prices

    Our assumption has always been that soon after the Liberty take over, they decided to use up all the old paper products from older and less selling titles. This is speculation, but they seem to have also tossed the old metalwork when they were done, as the 1500 series ua’s are all new masters.

  • Yeah, I don’t think it’s ever prudent to rely on an inner sleeve as conclusive evidence as to what pressing a record is. Far too easy for the original owner to have mixed them up over the years, or for a seller to have acquired a pre-owned copy with no inner and simply picking a random one to make it complete.

  • Agreed that the inner sleeve is easily swapped and thus can’t be conclusive but it can be a useful supporting forensic. In the case of the Chambers it matches the other data pointing toward an early Liberty repress. Also, thanks for that auction link GST – might put in a bid as I’m missing original inners on some of my (modest amount of) Blue Notes, would be cool to ‘complete’ those!

  • Note about the sleeves on that auction:
    “THE SLEEVES HAVE BEEN SLIT OPEN TO CONFORM TO THE PHILIPS/LONDON HANDLING RULES AS PREVAILING IN THE FIFTIES.”
    Wonder why the sleeves needed to be split?

  • I own a mint Duke Pearson “profile” with 47w63rd labels and no “ear”. It suits me fine since I only paid about $60 for it.

  • I think I have had two copies of Kenny Drew Undercurrent with out the ear. I personally think those non ear copies sound just as good as the originals. I guess cause they used the same stampers

  • GST: I am the seller of the Blue Note box plus the inners. To avoid deceptions I explained about the slit inners. The Philips/London protection system.
    I added items to the lot too. I found the original invoice for # 1539, 1564, 1572, 1576, 1599 which were shipped on 31/8/1966.
    I added a Blue Note catalogue and an envelope of the 47W63rd (no Inc. period).

    Please look at the amended item description.

  • I don’t consider the “ear” as important as the RVG stamp. As long as a Blue Note has the Van Gelder stamp you know it was mastered by the Master.. I’ve had the opportunity to play several different 63rd st deep groove pressings with the later fake(?) 63rd st pressings without the ear and because they both had the Van Gelder stamp they sounded almost identical to my ears. The only difference I thought I could hear was that the deep groove pressings were cut a little louder.
    When looking at records quickly at record shows, if I saw a deep groove I didn’t bother looking for the “ear” because I never saw a deep groove pressing that didn’t have it. But I’m only basing that on what I’ve seen so…….

  • Rudolf – I am intrigued – what is (or was) the Philips / London protection system? How were the inners slit?

    Genuine question – never heard this before.

  • Rudolf. I don’t have any issues with your listing. I just thought it was interesting. 🙂

  • The Dorham should have flat edge to be a true first right?

  • Richard, Philips/London supplied the inners open at three sides. So they were already slit upon production. You can see it on the picture I later added on EBay with the box.

  • I have a Blue Note album (4016) with an ear on one side only. Labels are deep groove. Anyone

  • Thanks Rudolf – I wonder why they did that?

  • Abrasive_Beautiful

    Rudolf—

    I have heard of some Blue Note with ear on one side only, but never seen with my own eyes. I have mostly seen it claimed on original mono copies of Spring by Anthony Williams.

    I once saw a copy of Down Home Reunion (United Artists 4029) that had three ear stamps on one of the sides. That was weird

  • Richard, they advised not to pull the record from the sleeves, or put them back that way, in order to avoid surface marks. They told you to place the on the open sleeve and then close it like the page of a book and put it back. It makes a lot of sense: pulling records out of inners, esp. when they are tight, is to be avoided.

  • Rudolf – interesting, and I suppose it makes sense.

    I have had scores of Philips (mainly UK, some Holland) classical LPs over the years, and have never seen it. By London, do you mean the US version of Decca? Likewise, I’ve had scores of UK Decca classical LPs too, with never a slit sleeve.

    You learn something new every day.

  • Richard: I still have five Dutch Philips Buck Clayton Jam Sessions and two Brubecks and they have the system. Philips and London used this system roughly between 1956 and 1958. I still have several London examples too.
    London “American Recordings” was a British Decca affiliate which issued for the U.K. (and some countries on the Continent) superior pressings of i.a.: Atlantic, Savoy, Riverside, Bethlehem, Jubilee, United Artists recordings leased to them. I say “superior” because in most cases the U.K. version was better in sound (and vinyl) than the US original.

  • A-B: I never expected U.A. to have ears. I checked my Down Home Reunion, and, indeed, it has ears, but one each side.

  • A-B and Rudolf – I know of at least two copies of J.R. Monterose 1536 with the Plastylite “P” on only one side, but all other indicators are first pressing (i.e., double deep groove, etched RVG on both sides, double Lexington address, flat edge vinyl, frame jacket).

    For whatever reason, only one side was etched with the P but I have no doubt both of these copies constitute the earliest pressing run given the flat edge vinyl among all of the other indicators. I’d be curious if there are any other 1536 owners out there with a similar copy.

  • Less then a year ago I got a NM first press of that Monk for $90!

  • Woody: Provided both ear and earless copies of a record used the same (Van Gelder) master lacquer disk, neither one should be louder than the other; to my knowledge, nothing can happen during pressing that would cause that.

  • Rich: Sorry, I was wondering about the difference between a Deep Groove pressing and a later Non-DG press. As records became thinner the masters weren’t cut as deep and I thought that the volume was determined by the up/down motion of the stylist needle. I’ve compared a thick 50’s Lester Young Norgran pressing with a 70’s verve pressing of the same title and without doing anything other than swapping out the lp’s. The 50’s Norgan sounded a lot louder. The difference between my City Lights deep groove lp and the later non-DG lp is not as dramatic but to my aging brain I remember hearing a difference. Unfortunately I’m traveling right now or I could perform a simple re-listen.

  • Woody: Just wanted to make 100% sure that you know that the phrase “deep groove” has nothing to do with the depth of the grooves as they are cut into the vinyl; also that amplitude (volume) is effected by the horizontal motion of the stylus, not the vertical (mono records don’t have any ‘vertical information’; vertical movement is entirely related to left-right stereo information on a stereo record). If one pressing of an album sounds louder than another, it is in all likelihood due to different choices being made during the two different masterings of the album. My point with DG and non-DG copies of Blue Notes cut by Van Gelder is–provided they have identical matrices–there shouldn’t be any difference in volume between the two copies because they use the same mastering.

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