Monday Morning Blue Notes

Let’s catch up on some completed and upcoming auctions of rare jazz vinyl on eBay, starting with Dizzy Reece, Blues in Trinity, Blue Note 4006. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing in VG++ condition for the record and VG+. When we first started watching this record it was in the $125 price range but was seeing a lot of activity. We speculated that it may approach the $1,000 bin and it wound up selling for $906.80. This one, Lee Morgan, Candy, Blue Note 1590, was in the $925 range when we first spotted it and, based on the seller and condition — M- for the record and cover — we speculated that it was destined for the $2,000, but it came up just short, selling for $1,807. Finally, there was Kenny Drew, Undercurrent, Blue Note 4059. This looked like an original pressing with the one sided deep groove, although there was some dispute about that among the commenters. I guess the pictures weren’t clear. It was a relatively new seller and the record and cover looked to be in M- condition. But the start price was quite high at $3,000 and there were no bids, so perhaps we will see this back on eBay with a lower price tag.

As for current listings, there is a new auction from the Jazz Record Center, including this heavyweight from my want list: Cliff Jordan, Blue Note 1565. This is an original New York 23 pressing that looks to be in VG++ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover, although the JRC typically does not assign grades on its listings. The start price is $250 with about four days left. So far there are no bidders, but we expect that condition to change well before the auction closes. From the same auction is The Incredible Jimmy Smith at the Club “Baby Grand” Wilmington Delaware, Blue Note 1629. This is an original Lexington Avenue pressing that looks to be in M- condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. The start price is $150, which is somewhat surprising given the general lack of interest — relatively, of course — in Jimmy Smith records, even the Blue Notes, and even the Blue Notes with horn players. But the folks at the Jazz Record Center have a great handle on the market, so I imagine this one will eventually wind up selling. I just noticed, in looking at their listings, that they entire auction is Blue Note, as is my entire post today, so I’m sure many of you will be interested in that.


  • Dear Al: With regards to your mention of “The Incredible Jimmy Smith at the Club ‘Baby Grand’ Wilmington Delaware, Blue Note 1629 (sic)” perhaps you missed the detail in the description on eBay that “…the spine has a 3 ½” clean break at the center…?” That would certainly disqualify this album cover as “VG++” as you describe (and unfortunately, also disqualify me buying it as well, at any price, very sad)… Best, C

  • From what I’ve been told, Fred bought a collection that belonged to a Blue Note completist and this person apparently had multiple copies and multiple pressings of some titles, as well as everything the label released on vinyl. Worth checking into the shop selection as well, for those who need an itch scratched.

  • What about the Blakey on green vinyl?

  • Joe L I was wondering the same thing. Perhaps a one off of someone goofing around at the pressing factory? I understand this happened time to time. The question is what will someone pay for such an anomaly on a second pressing….we’ll find out.

  • Gregory the Fish

    I have jimmy smith vol. 2, and would love to get the volume 1. i enjoy jimmy smith quite a bit, but i’m not even sort of paying $150 for any jimmy smith, ever.

    caroline, would you say you’re a bit of a perfectionist in terms of condition of covers and such?

  • The Kenny Drew not selling is probably at least partly due to the seller only accepting bank transfer payments. If I were inclined to plonk down that sorta dough on a record, which I’m not, I’d certainly want to pay via PayPal to have some sort of protection.

  • Cellery,
    JRC do accept Paypal. I hope it helps 🙂

  • Hi Greg: I only buy when both LP and cover are at the very least a strong VG+ (or hopefully significantly better). But a seam split (particularly one 3-1/2 inches in length) is immediate disqualification for purchase. There are no split seams in my collection (of records…)

  • Duonri, I know, but the Kenny Drew was from an Italian seller who doesn’t. 😉

  • I’m with you Caroline, but I have to admit if I run across some in person that I want I’ll buy it even if it has seem splits as long as the record itself is in good shape.

  • I know it isn’t collectible like a Blue Note but I just picked up Jimmy Smith’s 70s club date “Root Down” and holy cow does that album smoke. The old timer really cooks surrounded by some young players, and definitely makes up for his sleepier sets, too.

  • Root Down in crisp shape is definitely collectible — people still get excited by the Beastie Boys’ homage to the album. Plus, it’s really good.

  • You beat me to it Clifford. Definitely collectable and the Beastie samples only increase the value.

  • Gregory the Fish

    interesting, caroline. whether or not i buy is almost entirely based on the record. if the record is strong VG+ or better, i’m usually pleased if the price is right. covers can be replaced. i don’t mind having seam splits, since I can keep an eye out for a crappy LP with a nice cover, which come along more often. but admittedly i rarely find myself in this situation. covers and LPs usually have similar condition, i fear.

  • @ cliff and gst- collectible but not “Blue Note” collectible. Agree about the Beasties since I would not have known about it if it wasnt for them.

  • Gregory: I hear you. The problem I’ve found is this – true first pressing 1500 series Blue Notes (as an example) are getting harder and harder to find at all (or perhaps some titles are less ubiquitous to find than others). Because of this, finding what you describe – the crappy LP in a terrific album cover – *still* winds up in some/many cases costing serious $’s – and by that point, the addition of the two purchases seems quite expensive(-ish) – plus the fact of just finding a second cover at all is hard enough sometimes. For example, just to find and buy a clean cover (crappy LP) of BLP 1575 Lee Morgan “City Lights” seems hard to achieve for a cheap(-ish) price… C

  • Root Down is by far my favorite Jimmy Smith record.

  • It’s always been hard to find a clean inexpensive jacket with an off condition record. I bought around 75 M- records with no covers at a WBGO record fair in 97′ and thought finding jackets would be easy, Ha. The owner had worked at Abbey Press and must have taken them home without covers. One was a red wax test pressing of Benny Golson “Gone With Golson” that could explain why the green Art Blakey record exists. If you’re running the press it would be easy to use a colored vinyl biscuit to make your own. The biscuit probably cost less than 30 cents, so they thought it was no big deal.

  • Have you guys ever noticed how the older album sleeves from the early 60s and 50s hold up better from fading but suffer from splitting? I’ve always assumed better ink was used but the vinyl weight plus the style of crafting the sleeves led to those splits. The ringwear and fading on my albums from the 70s is incredible when compared with how fadeless many of my older album sleeves are.

  • Gregory the Fish

    Ethan, no laminate on later sleeves, either. So sliding them around on shelves was rougher because there was more friction. Just a guess.

    Caroline, yeah I hear you. I have done it a few times, but honestly I just do what I can when I can. I don’t have a huge budget for this. I do love a nice crisp cover, but I find that a shiny new outer sleeve usually makes them look nice, too. 🙂

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