Dial Jazz Collector For Blue Notes

Sonny Clark copyYes, that copy of Sonny Clark Cool Struttin’ sold for $2,400, which was the buy-it-now price. Do you think it was a reader of Jazz Collector? I do. This would be a week to fill in those Sonny Clark gaps in your Blue Note collection, if you were inclined to spend a small fortune to do so. Also on eBay: Sonny Clark, Dial S for Sonny, Blue Note 1570. This looks to be an original West 63rd pressing listed in VG++ condition for both the record and the cover. We would, of course, expect this to sell for well more than $1,000, and perhaps entering into the $2,000 bin. Right now the bidding is at $811 with more than four days to go. Also on eBay: Sonny Clark, Sonny’s Crib, Blue Note 1576. This also looks to be an original pressing. It is listed in M- condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. This will also be a record that will sell in the four figures, I would assume. Right now the bidding is at about $350, but there are five days left on the auction.

While we’re on the subject of Blue Notes, here are:

Kenny Dorham, Afro Cuban, Blue Note 1535. This is an original Lexington Avenue pressing. The record is in VG+ condition and the cover is VG. The bidding is a bit more than $300, but it has not yet reached the reserve price of the seller, Atomic  Records.

Cliff Jordan and John Gilmore, Blowing in From Chicago, Blue Note 1549. This looks to be an original pressing with the New York 23 address on both labels. The start price is $500 and so far there are no bidders with three days left on the auction. I would expect that there will be bidding on this record at the price, wouldn’t you? I’m pretty sure I’d take the record for $500 myself, as it remains one of the gaping holes in my collection.



  • How the hell did that later pressing of Cool Struttin’ sell for 2400 USD? It had the INC on one of the labels. Must be a complete novis buyer, or does later pressings of 1588 sell for that much these days? Nuts..

  • ditto, fredrik. ditto.

  • While I too believe $2400 for a early, but non-original, pressing seems nutsy, it should be mentioned that a true original in collectible condition has sold many times for a significantly higher price — as much as $3750 (per PopSike)

    It would seem that the Blue Note madness is such that, at least in the case of the highly desirable numbers, it is spreading to all early pressings as well as true originals

  • BTW, the 1576 listing has only one side with NY23 – acc to Cohen, not a true first

  • Since the Kenny Dorham’s “Afro-Cuban” album was first released as a 10″ (Blue Note 5065) albeit with previously unreleased tracks, is it still technically correct to call the BLP 1535 the “original”?

  • I love Blowing In From Chicago – would also love an original…

  • regarding Cool Struttin’ – even copies with INC were selling for more than 3000$, here an example:

    I am not saying 2400 is a bargain, but check popsike …

  • On one hand, it seems nutsy that a Blue Note second press (or third) sell for high prices. But on the other hand, everything that bears Blue Note seems to be collectible nowadays. Because when you collect Blue Note, you collect more than the music ; Blue Note is hype, Blue Note is cult. So when the NM true first is impossibly expensive for most collectors, many will focus on later pressings. The nearer the later edition is from the real true first, the more it attacts collectors. So 2400 $ for a NM “near first” seems logical, imo.

    Sonny Clark albums on Blue Note are all fine recordings. But i confess no one sounds particularily unforgettable to my ears. What never fails to surprise me is when i compare some mediocre Blue Note albums that sells for hundred dollars to some incredible music on some 25/200 $ Jazzland, Riverside or Savoy, or even Prestige and eveything else.

    The market is for Blue Note, period.

  • Novice question: The 1570 LP you are mentioning and have pictured has no address at all on the back of the album cover. I’ve seen that in other (otherwise original first pressing) cases as well. What precisely does that mean in terms of being an original first pressing? Thanks!

  • According to Cohen a first press of 1570 is w63 address (as opposed to w63 ny 23), RVG stamped in the trail off, a beaded rim, no address OBC, blank spine, and laminated cover.

  • Michel,

    I agree with you about what you state concerning “mediocre Blue Note albums that sells for hundred dollars to some incredible music on some 25/200 $ Jazzland, Riverside or Savoy, or even Prestige and eveything else.”
    I am sure that all of us on this board can point to many a LP that sounds better and for oodles less money over some Blue Notes.
    I think a case in point would be the LP I spoke of in the last post “Blue Serge” Serge Chaloff. It can hold a candle to many of the “heavy hitters” but comes nowhere near the “sticker shock” of many Blue Notes.

  • Hey there is still hope for some of us though because the MEDIAN for Cool Struttin’ is only $51!
    That I can afford!

  • In answer to Mat:

    DavidJ (& Cohen) have it right about 1570: that is, no address on the back cover – the presence or not of an address on the back cover is variable on these early listings: for example, in addn to 1570, 1581, & 1589 do not, while the majority have the W63 address – you simply have to rely on researchers like Cohen to tell you what the status of this back cover address is for a first press in each case

  • Hi Earl: Thank You! As a novice – sorry – who is Cohen? I use this source – is it no good? – http://londonjazzcollector.wordpress.com/record-labels-guide/labelography-2/ljc-guide-to-1st-pressings/

  • On a somewhat related note I thought I’d ask for some advice from everyone: I’m thinning out some records and I have two copies of Finger Poppin (4008). Both are DG, RVG, laminated, 63rd. One copy is m-/m-, but has an R on both labels and inc on the back cover. The second copy is vg+-vg++ for both the cover (staining/yellowing obc) and vinyl (ight scratching, but nothing feelable) but is a first press without the R or inc. A record buddy has asked to trade either copy for a record I’d like to own. My question is which do I keep and which to trade? If the 1st press were m- then clearly no discussion, but in this case the slightly later press is m- and the true first press is vg+ or so. Thoughts?

    Earl: Cohen is the proprietor of the Jazz Record Center and the author of a guide to Blue Note first pressings. You can get a copy for JRC directly.

  • Sorry, I forgot to mention that both copies have the P, thus: w63, dg, rvg, p//w63, lam. The difference is the presence of the R and inc, such that the m- copy is the later press with the r/inc, while the vg+-vg++ copy has neither. Thanks for any thoughts.

  • David: I’d always keep the original. But then, I’m the sort that will purchase originals even in VG condition rather than buy the latest audiophile edition with pristine sound. Something about the original…

  • david – tough question 😉

    Since they are so close I would keep the one which sounds best. If it it is the M- one I would ask for more “trading room” though.

  • Keep the first press. It seems to grade very well anyway.

  • Mat:
    DavidJ answers your question (tho he addressed it to me) – to be more specific, go to this web site:

    and you can order the book “Blue Note records” by Frederick Cohen – it is far and away the most comprehensive covering of the issue of First Pressings on Blue Note records, a must have for any collector

    The London Jazz Collector web site you mentioned is a good starting place for the subject, but incomplete in many cases; and nowhere as complete as Cohen on Blue Note

  • have to agree with daveS here. first press grades well, and you have it! I have a vg++/m- copy with inc and r, sadly. but also not sadly!

    and i am with earl on the LJC site. he knows a lot and is very friendly but for blue notes, it’s gotta be cohen.

  • @davidj: If it were me, because the true original grades so high (assuming you enjoy it sonically just as much) I’d keep that one. If it was a NM or EX compared to VG I’d keep the second pressing because I’d enjoy listening to it more. Truth be told I’d probably keep both.

  • Every once in a while, I pick a Blue Note for a bargain price, but I still pay more for them than I do any other label, including Prestige. It’s silly when I found a copy of Carl Perkin’s “Introducing Carl Perkins” on red vinyl on the Dootone label for $15. Put that on the Blue Note label and it sells for at least 10 times that, perhaps more. Just because of the label, which is one reason I won’t be going on any Blue Note forays.

  • David J :

    I would say hold on to the Original but it is a tough call. Both are nice.
    I am in the same camp as Chris , I would purchase a Original VG over a later cleaner copy. It’s always nice to have that first release and they tend to hold their value more over the long run I would say. Although as you may know 2nd and 3rd pressings have been rising due to 1st pressings getting out of reach for most people. Cheers.

  • I have to wonder if most of the excessive auction prices are sourced to Japanese or Eastern EU collectors who have deep pockets and an interest to either collect or resell to hungry buyers “back home.”

  • Chinese are in the market in the Seattle area. They have purchased all the old jazz records up there (according to the guys working the record stores). You won’t find anything, not even a Milt Buckner on Argo.

  • There are rich people everywhere and they want to buy records. And the market in Japan for obscure LPs is not a new phenomenon. In the 1970s, apparently a lot of the Instant Composers Pool records went to Japanese collectors. Han Bennink personally sent one hundred handmade copies of the New Acoustic Swing Duo to a Japanese dealer for quite a bit of money back then.

  • JOK I hit the record stores here in Seattle pretty frequently and while I too have heard the tales of Asian buyers gobbling them up (for some reason I always here Koreans, although I think it really just means Asian buyers), I’ve seen more jazz in the last year than I ever have before. I’ve seen all kinds of Blue Notes, some really impressive Prestiges, and so on. Granted, most are very highly priced and don’t last long, but there are still records to be found.

  • no Milt Buckner’s anymore??.. Damn you, you Chinese people!!

  • Yup, I will also add that in places like Buffalo and Cleveland , a lot of Japanese and German collectors , who were ahead of the curve so to speak, cleaned out these cities in the mid to late 70’s of Rare Jazz and Psych LP’s.
    I was in Cleveland about 5 years ago and a guy that used to have a huge store in downtown Cleveland told me they knew what they wanted and got a lot of amazing stuff for cheap.
    I know some people like that here in Toronto , that told me they were in heaven every time they took the drive to Detroit……

  • I’ve been two times in Japan, 10 year ago and last year. I’ve visited many record stores. They have tons of Blue Note, Prestige and Savoy. Prices are huge. You know where are most of precious rare records, no question about that.

    I’ll add that Japanese also cleaned Paris. Many dealers in Paris during the 90’s did not even put their rare Blue Note or Prestige for sale to their loyal customers, they directly sold to Japanese dealers, off store.

    That is why i will for ever thank Ebay, because thanks to Internet i’ve been able to pick out many records – at least loyaly compete and try to get them.

  • Heard a crazy story from a record store owner in Los Angeles the other day. Said that back when the Yen was sky-high, he sent shipping container-loads of new and used records to Japan and thinks many of them are still in storage yards locked away and became forgotten during the CD is king days of yore. Who knows what is out there.

  • This summer I hope to put some miles on the old Saab and-perhaps-find myself in Seattle,catching a baseball game. Finding a nice jazz collection at a local shop would be a nice bonus. Any tips on where to start?

  • ceedee that sounds like a great summer trip for sure. Safeco Field is beautiful and there are plenty of record stores to hit. As for finding Jazz without the luxury of repeat visits, i would say that you should visit Neptune Music Co in the University District. They tend to have some nice stuff almost all of the time (although it’s not usually a bargain). Easy Street Records also has been getting some nice stuff lately at a bit better prices (plus they have a cafe with a great cheap breakfast for after you browse).

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