Back in Business, Blue Note Style

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.

Speaking of later original Blue Notes, this is another from the same seller: Duke Pearson, Wahoo!, Blue Note 4191. This is also an original pressing with the New York USA, Van Gelder and ear. It is also listed in Ex condition, which I see that the seller clarifies as VG++. Thank you seller. This one has a start price of $175 and so far there are no bids with five days left. This is not a record I have ever considered to be very collectible, so I will be watching this auction to see where it ends up, if indeed it gets any bids at all. Prediction: It will.

Here’s one from the era of the Blue Note catalogue that seems to have always attracted the interest and enthusiasm (and money) of collectors: The Magnificent Thad Jones Volume 3, Blue Note 1546. This looks to be an original pressing with the New York 23 label. The record and cover look to be in nice condition, possibly VG++ or even better, depending upon your sensibilities and grading curve. The bidding is in the $450 range with more than four days to go, so we will expect this to get close to the $1,000 bid when things are all said and done.

This one is closing later today: Kenny Burrell, Blue Note 1543. This is an original Lexington Avenue pressing. In fact, to my knowledge, this is the last of the Lexington Avenue Blue Notes in the catalogue. It also has a cover design by Andy Warhol, so normally it would be quite attractive to collectors. This one has a starting price of about $200, but there are no bidders, attributable to the condition of the record. The seller says the record looks VG “at best” although it plays well, which is not unusual for original Blue Notes of the era. The cover is also VG and there’s writing on the label. I would take the record in this condition to add to my collection for the cover art and to fill in. Would I pay $200 for a fill-in? Perhaps I would, but probably not today. I have a feeling there will be several bids for this, so the $200 may not be enough anyway.



  • I know that the purpose of the Jazz Collector is to track the market for collectible Jazz LPs and to see the trends that are sadly driving most of us normal income buyers out of the market BUT……… I want to tell you AL that the essays that you courageously gave to us all ARE VERY IMPORTANT!!!!!! Thanks once again for sharing your spirit with us. Blue Notes are just getting totally out of reach and it galls me no end to see that so many of them offered have an absolutely sub-standard jacket. To me a beautifully preserved cover is at least half the value but as the song title goes: “I’m Old Fashioned” All the best to y’all BIRD LIVES!!!

  • Thank you, Brian. Yes, as you know, I was being slightly tongue-in-cheekish there. I love doing the essays and plan to keep doing them, although perhaps not as frequently as over the past few weeks. But, hey, you never know.

  • A few years ago I won a clean mono “ear” copy of “wahoo” for $40 as a buy it now. It got lost in the mail! I got my refund but would have much preferred the record…who knows – maybe the box is still collecting dust in some nook or cranny of a postal warehouse facility!!

  • I’ve been burned on every copy of “Wahoo!” I’ve tried to buy in the last 15-20 years. Still don’t have it!

  • I recently won a NM stereo copy of JuJu with Liberty labels and VAN GELDER stamps for approx. $100 USD. Even though by collector standards it’s not an original, it’s in the ballpark of an original with the infamous “Ear”. My god it sounds gorgeous, and I think these early Liberty pressings are a real bargain! I have quite a number of early Liberty pressings and I think I would be splitting hairs to try to acquire those same pressings in their original “collector” form for more than ten times the price for a marginal sound quality increase.

  • That would be a good top

  • It took me five copies to finally find a dead mint original of “destination out”! And I still haven’t got a clean copy of the Horace Silver “jazz messengers” on Blue Note after three attempts…

  • Mark and Clifford,

    We all have records like that, I suspect. Strangely, it took me four tries to get a copy of Clark Terry’s “Color Changes” that I was happy with! And still, it’s a Stereo version…

  • As a long-time collector, I have learned to be patient because I have no control over the market or what’s available. Usually I acquire an LP I want by serendipity, or even a mint LP at a rock-bottom price of something I already have. In the past few years, I have bought LPs at prices below the original retail! Not Blue Notes, of course, but other good labels. You just never know when you’ll find something you’ve been seeking for years quite by chance.

  • I’ve struck out 4 times so far on “Rollins Plays for Bird.” One day I’ll find a nice copy.

  • If it spins and sound comes out of the speakers…….it’s a keeper!

  • GST–I forget the “strikeouts” and remember only the disks I have successfully bought at prices right for me. Believe me, it’s less stressful! I have actually known two collectors who had nervous breakdowns because they obsessed over records they couldn’t find or couldn’t afford. I have asked those in the know: What do collectors do with the high-priced discs they buy? In some cases, the answer is they don’t play them but keep them as investments to re-sell later. For them, it’s not about the music but the artifact. To me, that’s a waste of time, money, and a perfectly good record.

  • I always play my records; even the ones worth $500-$1500. I even keep the records inside the sleeves at all times! I know some collectors keep the records outside of the sleeves on high value albums but I don’t bother. What’s the point of buying a record if you are not going to enjoy it? For all the high priced albums I don’t have I just have cd or LP reissues…suits me fine.

  • Geoffrey – I don’t need NM records (heck I’ll even buy second pressings or reissues if I find them at a brick and mortar shop), but when I’m paying e-bay prices I’m more picky. I do however like your thought process on remembering the successful purchases. It’s become my new year’s resolution 🙂

  • @TFL, nope, but linked from that listing was this Sonny Clark’s “Crib” listed in NM for the vinyl (though the spotty labels give me pause), and an “almost like new” cover that while surely nice isn’t without its flaws. One to keep an eye on.

  • That Perry Robinson on Savoy is awesome.

  • They might not be “insanely” collectable but the music on Wahoo and JuJu is top notch!
    Worth having in the collection in any edition I’d say..

    Great cover on the Perry Robinson btw, not a cut i’m familiar with..Cover sort of Sun Ra ish…

  • Yes, “Wahoo” is a top album. Duke Pearson tunes, Joe Henderson in his pomp, what’s not to like?

  • The Perry Robinson record from the JRC auction is one that has proven difficult for me to track down and so I bid $151 for it and still came up short.

  • I have a 80s reissue of the Perry Robinson Savoy that I bought sealed for $4 around 20 years ago. One day an original would be nice but I’m not chasing it…

  • Clifford and Doug, I was the winner of the Perry Robinson. I just kind of went with my instincts on that one. Wasn’t familiar with it, but love Savoy as a label, and the cover art by Harvey is top shelf.

  • manusardi1 has had some really nice stuff out there recently, although it’s my understanding this Coltrane Ballads is actually a second pressing (first should read AM-PAR on label per LJC):

  • Yes GST that’s right. I have a mint Bell Sound stereo abc paramount copy of “ballads” and a VG-VG+ mono AMPAR copy with van gelder.

Leave a Reply

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