Random Musings and Blue Notes

I’m back with a completely random batch of records that are currently for sale on eBay, starting with one of my favorite LPs, Jackie McLean, McLean’s Scene, New Jazz 8212. This is an original purple label deep groove pressing listed in VG+ condition for both the record and the cover. The bidding is in the $160 range with four days left. When I think of my favorite alto players, there’s Bird, of course, then Cannonball, then a small group of a few more who were able to create a distinct sound despite the overwhelming presence and influence of Bird. This relatively short list includes Jackie, Paul Desmond, Phil Woods and just a couple of others such as Ernie Henry, who died so young. Then there are Johnny Hodges, who came before Bird and was certainly distinct and marvelous, and Sonny Stitt, who sounded perhaps the most like Bird but could play his ass off and is almost always a joy to put on the turntable, for me at least. Anyway, just some alto musings off the top of my head on a bright Wednesday morning, inspired by McLean’s Scene.

The same seller has Dizzy Reece, Blues in Trinity, Blue Note 4006. This is an original West 63rd Street pressing listed in VG++ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. The bidding is in the $125 range, but there are already 11 bidders and more than 30 bids. So this one will get quite a bit more action and perhaps the competition will push it towards the $1,000 bin.

From Italy is the popular seller bullsite2000, who has this Blue Note rarity that, quite honestly, I don’t ever recall seeing: Lionel Hampton, Jazztime Paris, Blue Note 5046. This is an original Lexington Avenue 10-inch LP, and just looking at the beautiful clear pictures of the labels is enticing enough. This one is listed in M- condition for the record and the cover and is currently in the $150 range with less than two days ago, but it has not yet reached the seller’s reserve price. This must be the most expensive and collectible record in the Lionel Hampton catalog, right?

From the same seller is Lee Morgan, Candy, Blue Note 1590. This is an original West 63rd Street pressing also listed in M- condition for the record and the cover. The bidding is currently in the $925 range with less than two days left. Could this be destined for the $2,000 bin, considering the condition of the record and the reputation of the seller? I say yes. But, will even a price in that range exceed the seller’s reserve price. Stay tuned. This seller posts great pictures with his listings, which is another factor in getting high prices.

Also from Italy is Kenny Drew, Undercurrent, Blue Note 4059. This looks to be an original West 63rd Street pressing with the one-sided deep groove. The record and cover are listed in M- condition and the seller sure does show a lot of pictures, to help with the authenticity of the listing? He is a relatively new seller with a bit more than 100 feedbacks and is asking a lot as a starting price, in this case $3,000.

BTW, while I’m thinking about it, now that the John Coltrane documentary Chasing Trane has been out there for a bit, has anyone seen it and what did you think?

30 comments

  • Lovely post as always! I would have to add Art Pepper in my list of favorite alto players, and perhaps Lee Konitz, who is slowly making his way up there too. Jackie, however would definitely be at the top.

    I’m pretty sure Candy will make it to the 2k bin; and that seller is asking for a lot for that copy of Undercurrent, which doesn’t have the 1-sided DG from what I’ve seen. But in this day and age, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it sold!

  • I’ve always enjoyed John Gilmore’s playing, with the Arkestra and on the few albums without Ra. Turkish Women and Blowin come to mind as good Gilmore dates with smaller groups than the usual 20+ Arkestra.

  • I just realized this was an alto focused thread so let’s replace Gilmore with Marshall Allen for consistency, the two of them together made a lot of magic. And Mr. Allen is still trucking after all these years which is just incredible.

  • I am a fan of that McLean for sure and his discography up through the early 70s is really quite monumental. Was lucky to interview him for All About Jazz New York (which is now the New York City Jazz Record) some years ago and he was very kind and gracious. Saw him with Moncur, Hutcherson, René, and a couple of others playing the Iridium shortly thereafter and it was something to see them performing compositions like “Love and Hate” in person.

    Other alto faves: Woods, Konitz, Ornette, Byron Allen, Anthony Ortega, Arthur Jones, Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, John Tchicai, Sonny Simmons…. the list could go on for a very long time!

  • Oh, and Mike Osborne of course!

  • Wait…I thought the correct answer was Eric Dolphy and Ornette Coleman!

  • That Lionel Hampton cover is so cool, never seen it before.
    Caught “Chasing Trane” a couple of weeks ago and I’ll have to buy a copy of it when released to watch again. The home footage of Coltrane in his backyard smoking a pipe and playing with his dog is only a few seconds long but when he looks into the camera and smiles…..
    Bumped into Fred(JRC) afterwards exiting the theater and he said there was personal and performance footage that even he had never seen before. Kinda drives me crazy knowing that the unreleased performances were probably edits from much longer takes that are yet to be released to the public.
    If you haven’t seen it yet don’t worry, it’s worth the wait.

  • Just last month I found a DG copy of “McLean’s scene” locally for $50; the cover has some light moisture damage but the vinyl was mint! He’s definitely one of my favorite alto players along with Cannonball and Ornette. Clifford I’m insanely jealous of your encounters with Jackie the man himself!

  • Abrasive_Beautiful

    Jackie is one of my favorite players, period. It’s actually his birthday today too! (17th)

    I saw Chasing Trane this evening and I definitely enjoyed it. Not much info I didn’t already know, but the footage, photos, and music were very cool. More interviews would have been nice, but I loved hearing Benny Golson and Rollins talk about Trane. You really get the sense that they loved and respected him so much.

  • Anders Wallinder

    That Candy cover looks more VG+ to me. Those corners have seen better days….

  • London calling…
    Coltrane film is apparently, coming to London in the summer.
    I was told this week by Cailin McFadden, of Cargo Films in NY that the ICA on The Mall in the shadow of Buckingham Palace, is to show it!
    Imagine that…Coltrane at the Palace! Nice…

  • Agree with Anders on that cover, not quite NM (or M-), though it’s close. I’d call it VG++.

    As for alto players, no surprising choices from my side. Jackie is certainly near if not at the top of my list. Also love Cannonball, and Dolphy who I’m surprised to see has only been mentioned once. Also agree with Ethan on Marshel Allen; I’ve not heard much Sun Ra yet but I DID see the Arkestra live a few months ago and Allen was incendiary, firing on all cylinders, fire and brimstone, the works! And that at 92 years of age … amazing.

    I will say though that Parker doesn’t really figure into it for me. He’s at once so pre-eminent and so unique that it feels silly including him in a ranking. It’s too obvious. Sort of like saying Hendrix is your favorite electric guitarist.

  • “I will say though that Parker doesn’t really figure into it for me. He’s at once so pre-eminent and so unique that it feels silly including him in a ranking. It’s too obvious. Sort of like saying Hendrix is your favorite electric guitarist.”

    agreed. That said, while recognizing the monument of Parker and hearing/recognizing his music over the years, it wasn’t until more recent exploration that I really started diving into his recordings and thinking about them more seriously (i.e., apart from the legacy). For example, not listening to Bird in order to hear Dolphy, but listening to Bird in order to hear Bird.

  • geoffrey wheeler

    How did Hendrix get in there? He’s not a jazz guitarist, and he was not associated with any jazz musician I know of. Jazz guitarists are Charlie Christian, Remo Palmieri, Jimmy Raney, Tal Farlow, Joe Pass, Bucky Pizzarelli, Herb Ellis… I deliberately didn’t mention George Benson or Les Montgomery. Neither to my tastes.

  • geoffrey wheeler

    Oops! Forgot Barney Kessel.

  • Clifford Allen

    Uh, because Hendrix altered the landscape of modern electric guitar playing enough that he’s worth mentioning?

    Also, Hendrix played with creative musicians like Larry Young, Juma Sultan, Randy Kaye, and some guy named Miles.

  • geoffrey wheeler

    He may have altered some people’s “listening landscape” with his ear-busting guitar but not mine! I’m too old for the guys you mention. I’ve heard of Larry Young but don’t know what he does (he plays organ?). I have no use for Miles after about 1965. You know how jazz is parsed these days–BC and AC: Before Coltrane and After Coltrane. BC is a land of darkness and mist. AC is a land flooded with sunshine and flowers, with happy listeners poised for the Rapture.

  • Geoffrey your post confuses me. It’s called music; I enjoy Louis Armstrong and Peter Brotzmann. I like Jimi Hendrix and Kenny Burrell. If your listening scope is narrow then so be it but don’t judge people who enjoy a wider spectrum of music.

  • geoffrey wheeler

    Thank you, Mark, for responding to my post. I appreciate feedback. I love Armstrong. Brotzmann doesn’t appeal to me. Hendrix and Burrell don’t appeal to me. My “listening scope” encompasses what I consider to be jazz. What other people may listen to may be of cultural interest to me but not necessarily a shared interest in the music itself. As has been said time and again, music liking and listening is subjective.

    I bought my first jazz record about 1942 (Frankie Newton). Around 1948 or ’49, I bought my first bop record (Charlie Parker on Savoy). It took some listening before I “got it.” From there, Bop was added to my jazz interests, and I bought what I could afford. I also heard many hundreds of jazz musicians “live” over the decades, from Bunk Johnson to Coltrane. I have early Ornette LPs, but not later ones. I bought the mono version of “Ascension” when it came out. I was the only jazz person I knew who could listen to it and be involved in the music. Although I have LPs and CDs right up to the present, I tend to be most interested in the music of people who got their start professionally by the early ’60s. Once while driving, I heard Wynton Marsalis playing “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue” on the radio. I had to pull over I was laughing so hard!

  • Geoffrey, I mention Hendrix because he’s the only instrumentalist I can think of beside Bird who’s so ubiquitous and influential on his instrument in his field and widely recognized as such. When you say sax, most will think of Bird first. When you say electric guitar, most’ll think of Hendrix. (I mean the average music listener, not a strict jazz afficionado per se who might indeed first think of one of many great jazz guitarists.) They’re so synonymous with their instruments that ranking them with other players is a bit banal in my opinion. Maybe I should’ve said ‘rock guitar’ instead of ‘electric guitar’ but I think the point is clear.

  • geoffrey wheeler

    Cellery, thank you for your explanation. I was not aware of how popular Hendrix is with the average music listener. That said, the average music listener probably doesn’t listen to jazz seriously. When I think of jazz guitarists, I think of the people I listed in my above post. For the most part, these are people I saw in person and heard on record. Except for Charlie Christian, of course. Veneration has its place, but what really counts is the music, especially in the case of Charlie Parker. Every so often, I listen to his music and am amazed and wondrous at his playing. I have too many favorite jazz musicians to want to rank them or say he or she is the best. I think ranking has hurt a lot of jazz careers. Unless you are in the top five or so, you are ignored, which is neither fair nor intelligent.

  • Agreed about ranking.

    But, I’d say that whether one likes it or not, a musician of Hendrix’ stature, or Miles’ (even post-1965) deserves respect for staying the course, however long it is or was.

  • geoffrey wheeler

    Clifford, from what I have read, Hendrix had an astonishing Rock career cut short by early death. I don’t in the least question people thinking him a great guitarist; he is just not a great JAZZ guitarist to me. I lost interest in Miles’ music because of the directions in which he was going. I also thought his innumerable flamboyant outfits quite strange. Miles lived right across the street from a friend of mine. We would on occasion sit on his tiny balcony and watch musicians coming and going. To make my stance on Hendrix clear, I don’t like electronic music. I want to hear an acoustic piano, not an electronic keyboard!

  • For me Sonny Stitt is the clear #2 after bird, as far as Alto goes.

  • geoffrey wheeler

    Stitt was an amazing musician. I love much of his work. One of my favorite albums where he is featured on alto is arrangements by Quincy Jones on Roost. He was also a phenomenal tenor player!

  • Clifford Allen

    Never got hugely into Stitt but I do love his playing on that Art Blakey quartet album recorded for Impulse.

  • Gregory the Fish

    okay wow, that could have gotten ugly, but it didn’t. nice job everyone.

  • geoffrey wheeler

    The Blakey album on Impulse is really good! I enjoyed it. I have a modest selection of Impulse albums, 25 to be exact.

  • DevastationWagon

    I saw the Coltrane doc the other day. It was really good, but I could’ve used less corny rapsodizing from Bill Clinton and Santana and the like, and more input from people knowledgable about Coltrane or his music. Hearing those guys say “oh it really speaks to me” a half dozen different ways was tiring.

    Great footage and use of tunes, and the overall presentation of the story was good.

    Details I did appreciate: 1) Sonny being dressed almost like Santa Clause; 2) Coltrane’s kid wearing an Alice Coltrane t-shirt. I think I’m going to get a shirt made with my Mom’s name on it and wear it around town.

  • Lawrence Lorber Cohn

    Note that the Lionel Hampton 10-inch Blue Note ended up selling for $399, but earlier fetched over $1,000 in a Jazz Record Center auction. So you can add it to the Thousand Dollar Bin.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/302294347716?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

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