Back In Business: Bird, Blue Notes and More

birdI 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.

This is another gap in my collection that won’t be filled this week: Hank Mobley and Lee Morgan, Peckin’ Time, Blue Note 1574. This is an original West 63rd Street pressing with the deep grooves, ear, RVG, etc. It is listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The price is already approaching $1,300 and, in this condition, I wouldn’t be surprised if this one ends up in the $2,000 bin, if not the $3,000 bin.

Here’s another one destined to fetch a nice price: The Magnificent Thad Jones Volume 3, Blue Note 1546. This is an original New York 23 pressing listed in VG++ condition for the record. The cover is listed as VG, although it looks like that may be a conservative grade. The price is in the $800 range as of this writing and is also destined to go up because there are several days still left before the auction ends.

For some reason my attention today seems to be drifting towards records that I don’t own, but would like to own. So we will close with yet another: Roland Kirk, Triple Threat, King 539. This is an original pressing from 1956. The record is in VG++ condition and the cover is VG or VG+. Man, I would like to own this record. To be honest, I’ve never even heard it. How old was Kirk in 1956? (Checking Google). He was 21. Wow, I should figure out a way to at least listen to this record to hear what he sounded like at that age. As regular readers may recall, he was one of my all-time favorite live performers, totally mesmerizing and extremely underrated on tenor. Anybody out there have a copy of this record and want to share their thoughts?

Gotta go. Ella and Louis just came up on the random playlist.


  • That Bird record is well worth the effort in acquiring. I once found Dial 207 in a recycle bin in VG condition and sold it for a really god price in eBay. The Kirk record once sold for close to $7000 in VG+ condition. I have never, in 30 years of collecting seen a NM King record. Has anyone here ever seen one?

  • I’m a Roland Kirk fanatic and have never seen ANY copy of the King LP, even trashed! It’s elusive.

  • The Ronald Kirk was reissued in 1976 on Bethlehem B 6016.Though it is not ” the real thing”,you can at least listen to the music.It is recorded Nov.9 1956 in NYC.

  • PS
    I think Rudolf owned an original copy of the record.

  • I’m surprised someone hasn’t reissued the Kirk albums with the original title/cover art…or at least i didn’t see any on discogs:

    I don’t remind reissues, but at the very least it should use the original cover art.

  • A quick check on popsike for the Kirk lp shows that the copy that Marvin referred to sold for $6885.00 in March of 2015. The second highest price was $2878, and that was back in 2007. Both of these lps looked to be in similar condition with the edge going to the one that sold for $7K. The lowest price was just $62.00 for a copy that looked like it went thru a flood, a fire and a few other disasters.

  • While I’d obviously like an original of that King record, it never made sense to me to chase it for high $$$ when his many other wonderful records are readily available for very reasonable prices.

  • I have owned the King label pressing, somewhat in grim shape. Currently I have the Bethlehem/King issue, Third Dimension, which I believe consists of the same material, issued BCP 6064. Back cover is seemingly same as King issue, with Cincinnati address.
    Never really run across this record on King or Bethlehem in decent shape. Good stuff, though.

  • I owned an original re-issue on Bethlehem. BCP 6064. I guess this one was issued ard 1959.

  • Lennib, the version you have is the best one possible. King hi fi was dubious and I think they originally came without inners. So Bethlehem was an improvement.

  • I always have thought that also Mr. Rudolf. One of the Kings I had came with that glassine type inner sleeve. And Kings were in most case definitely not a sonic delight. Though somehow those James Brown lps always grooved.

  • No. Neither Dial 1 nor Dial 901 were the first 12-inch vinyl records. In 1931, RCA Victor issued a series of 33-1/3 RPM Program Transcription records pressed in a material dubbed “Vitrolac,” an early form of PVC. They had gold-and-black labels and came in their own sleeves. The records were issued in a variety of series: Samplers, Classical L-1000, L-4500, L-7000, L-11600, L-15000, L-16000 single-sided discs (Duke Ellington is on L-160016 from 1932), L-24000 double-sided series, and LR-1 10-inch double-sided series. Columbia Records attempted to introduce 33-1/3 RPM records in 1932, but, like the RCA records, they were soon withdrawn from the market because of poor sales. The first 12-inch 33/-13 RPM record as we know it was introduced at a press conference Monday, June 21, 1948 by Columbia Records at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. The first 12-inch vinyl LP was issued on the Columbia Masterworks label. This was the label originally used to issue the Benny Goodman Carnegie Hall Concert in boxed set SL-160 in 1950. This was the first-ever double album (Wiki). Ross Russell advertised his first 12-inch lp in Down Beat (I have the issue but it is stored.) Ross told me that in all its iterations between 1949 and 1955, the first Dial 12-inch lp didn’t even sell 500 copies.

  • Correction: the Ellington is on L-16006.

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