A Tale of Four Blue Notes

kenny drewHere’s some more jazz vinyl we’re watching on eBay, starting with Kenny Drew, Undercurrent, Blue Note 4059. This looks to be an original pressing with the West 63rd address and the single side deep groove. The record is only in VG or VG+ condition and the cover is VG. Bidding is only in the  $50 range now but there are five days left in the auction and I would expect this to sell for several hundred dollars despite the condition. We’ll see.

Hank Mobley, Roll Call, Blue Note 4058. This listing mentions almost everything about the record, except with it has deep grooves. Curious. If you look at the pictures it’s not conclusive. If I were interested in this record, which I’m not, I’d certainly query about the deep grooves before bidding. The record looks to be in VG++ condition and the cover is probably VG++ as well, although the labels have some staining, which will be a turnoff to some bidders. Bidding right now is in the $170 range.

Stanley Turrentine, Up At Minton’s Volume 1, Blue Note 4069. This has deep grooves and the ears, but one side is West 63rd and the other side is New York USA. So this would not be an original pressing, but it would probably be an early pressing? Anyway, it’s in VG++ condition and the seller has a start price of about $250. So far there are no bids.

One more odd Blue Note, while we’re at it: Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers, Blue Note 1518. This is not an original, for sure. It has one side with the West 63rd address, the other side with the New York USA label, one side deep groove, one side not deep groove. Who knows when it was issued. This one is in M- condition for the record and the cover and the seller is asking for a minimum of about $170. So far he hasn’t gotten it.






  • Gregory the Fish

    so these double-sided pressings skipped the NY23 label entirely? or am i forgetting my blue note label-ology?

  • The Roll call evidently does not have Deep Groove according to the seller answering a direct question. But it should be pre-1966 since the (EAR or “P”) is there

  • Does anyone know if Roll Call with one sided deep groove is a 1st pressing since its so close to the last deep groove known, that being BN 4059.

  • IIRC, Roll Call was first issued DG / w63rd both sides, then DG one side / 63rd labels, and then no DG / W63rd. But i couldnt tell which one is the true first, because in those numbers (around 4050-4070) i do not really trust the “DG first” theory.

  • Michel: what is “IIRC”?

  • If I Recall Correctly.

  • IMHO, whenever any early BN is found with all other aspects of originality (address, ear, RVG, etc), but both with and without DG, the DG is NOT an indication of originality – however, it can’t be denied that the DG is widely seen as an aspect of early pressings and is therefore valued by collectors. Personally, I think of my non-DG’s in such cases as original, while realizing that were I to sell it, I would undoubtedly get less than the DG version.

  • Earl : once again, i agree with you. Especially between 4050 – 4070, there are many overlapping between DG and NY/47 W, and although all are well documented in many books, no one can be sure what is the very first and what is the second. I think 4059, for instance, was issued DG one side and no DG, in the same run. Just different (new /old) machines were used.

  • I believe the situation applies outside of the range you mention Michel(4050-70), For example, I have copies of 4110, 4131. 4149, 4181 & 4188 without any DG; the originals are all supposed to have one-sided DG’s; also 4185 & 4207 – originals should have DG, I have copies that do not. Finally, I have a copy of 4106 which has one side with the DG; supposed to have both. I have never seen any proof that the Fred Cohen originals pre-dated the others. I’m not denying that they are more desired, only that they were definitively pressed earlier.

  • IIRC, I have read somewhere that at BN 4095, plastylite had changed to new pressing machines and the originals-1st pressings of subsequent releases are non DG. Those with DG are actually later pressings, generated to cope with demand. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  • Mixing unmatched stampers would corroborate the theory that demand was high. I am not sure if people at pressing plants cared whether something had a DG or not…

  • Ng Chee Kia,
    Blue Note collector Allan Songer has stated that no first pressings have the deep groove after 4060 and we know that the “Review Copy” for 4059 that Jazz Record Center sold a few years ago also had no deep grooves.

  • Agree with all – my copies with first labels, RVG and ear are first pressings in my eyes (and to my ears).

  • I haven’t heard from Songer in years… always seemed like a cool guy.

  • I don’t understand Aaron’s (or Songer’s) assertion at all – according to Fred Cohen’s book, there are innumerable examples after 4060 with DG’s – both one-sided and both-sided- all the way to 4207 (both sides) and 4214 ( side 2 only)- and I have many of them in my collection. Are you saying that these are not original pressings, and if so, what is the evidence for that? My personal opinion, as expressed above, is that the DG’s and non-DG’s in these cases were pressed about the same time and there is no way to determine which is first.

  • Of course there are pressings after with 4060 with a DG on one or both sides, the prevailing theory (not fact) is that the first run of Blue Notes from 4059/60 on were pressed with the new Plastylite pressing parts which lacked the DG. Subsequent runs were made using either the new or old parts resulting in a DG on one or both sides. I believe this theory came from test pressings/review copies which lacked a DG after 4059/4060. Anyone have a TP or RC with a deep groove after 4060?

  • I just searched completed auctions on eBay & Popsike and found copies of 4147 & 4192 with the “Review Copy” stamp on the jacket plus a deep groove on side 1 (not side 2) leading me to believe that the theory posted above is incorrect.

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