The $2,000 Bin (and Up); Rediscovering Some Confessions of a Jazz Vinyl Addict

Byrd copyTime to catch up on some of the jazz vinyl auctions we’ve been watching from eBay, starting with this whopper: Donald Byrd, Byrd Blows on Beacon Hill, Transition 17. This was an original pressing with the booklet. Everything seemed to be in M- condition. The final price was $3,839.10. Definitely a new high for this record for the Jazz Collector Price Guide, although I was surprised to see that this record has sold for more than  $2,600 in the past.

This one is destined for the $2,000 bin and perhaps even joining the Byrd record in the $3,000 bin: Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’, Blue Note 1588. this is an original West 63rd Street pressing listed in VG++ condition for

the record and the cover. This one closes later today and the bidding is already more than $1,900.

Here’s another one where the price blew me away: Paul Chambers, Whims of Chambers, Blue Note 1534. This was an original Lexington Avenue pressing with the frame cover. The record looked to be in M- condition and the cover was probably VG++. The price was $2,701.  To put that in perspective: Back when I first started writing Jazz Collector, all the way back in April 2004, I wrote this humorous article: Confessions of a Vinyl Addict, Part 1. It’s worth a read. It kind of explains how and why I started Jazz Collector.

Anyway, in that article I was lamenting the fact that my addiction to vinyl was getting worse and, as an example, I used Whims of Chambers. I was complaining that I went out and spent $300 for a copy, even though I already owned a copy. Turns out to have been a pretty good investment, wouldn’t you think?

BTW, you will notice that the Confessions of a Vinyl Addict, Part 1 was ostensibly the first of a series. I just did a search, and found another set of these, which I had forgotten about. They are pretty good, actually. Start with this one and, if you like it, there are a couple of more installments you can find by searching on Jazz Collector.

23 comments

  • Its kind of amazing to find any transition title in M- condition. The seams are almost always split as they are super weak. The records arent even made of vinyl I believe I think its styrene. I have three titles on transition and none of them are close to that condition.

  • Gregory The Fish

    those transitions just LOOK so cool! alas they all seem to be far outside my price range.

  • Mike I wondered about the Transition label and styrene. I wrote the following in the reader forum some time ago, but never received a response:

    Does anyone know if Transition records had different weights? I recently picked up Jazz by Sun Ra and it feels lighter and more flexible than my other records on the Transition label (including the compilation). Thanks.

  • For sure, Byrd on Beacon Hill is a fine session, and Trasition are always hard to find inany condition. But Byrd has been better on many other records. Almost 4000 $ for this seems radical. IIRC i can confirm that Transition were made of styrene.

  • I have two of the sampler both styrene and both sound great (though a rely played) only one booklet… I think a total of 5 bucks…

  • First time commenter here, love the site and visit daily.

    I can confirm that my copy of Jazz In Transition(the comp) is definitely styrene or some other non-pure vinyl substance. It actually sounds pretty nice though. The cover is two pieces of cardboard. I have seen eBay listings for TRLPs that say specifically they are styrene pressings–a copy of Doug Watkins At Large still sold for over 1k with that in description.

    I understand the value, low numbers, easily fall apart, great sessions and lineups–but styrene wears MUCH faster than real vinyl !! like 5x faster. The value just doesn’t make as much sense as the Blue Notes which are some of the best pressings and covers and audio quality available in vintage jazz.

    Side-note, anyone else see that Kenny Dorham Cafe Bohemia that’s selling for over $600? Oh, Its a UA pressing! Wild.

  • Al: your confession is nice reading. I recognize so much of myself.

  • Thank you Rudolf. I had fun reading them again myself.

  • I don’t know that I could justify playing a $4000 LP, but I sure could justify selling one!

  • Very, very interesting about the styrene material on Transition records. I have the Byrd’s Eye View only, but this whole revelation makes me consider not buying more Transitions if they wear out so fast. I mean, I intend to keep my records for life, and I play my records, so I would hesitate paying 4000 bucks for a styrene record. I think the thing for me is that I play them, and intend to play them a lot for many years. So, is it worth buying a Transition for huge bucks if they wear out fast, and you intend to play them for years to come? Not sure.. there’s so many other records, for example on Blue Note, that contains much better music than all the material recorded for Transition. I would rather buy, for example, Jutta w. Zoot on BLP 1530 for 4000 bucks, than The Byrd on the Hill.

  • Not sure if this 4000 $ Byrd will be played very often. Maybe it is only for resting on wood shelves, somewhere in Osaka bay…:-), along with a nice 65 years old bonsaï…

  • Fredrik,
    I used to record my rare/expensive LP’s to reel-to-reel cutting down on the turntable abuse time. Now, of course, it is make a CD and hold a properly archived album for esthetics sake while the digital goes on and on and…

    Terry

  • Terry, are you saying you are not listening to vinyl? 🙂
    I listen to all my records, and don’t understand the hobby if you’re not playing the records. To buy a 4000 dollar record and not listen to it, enjoy it, would be nuts, right? Have it on a shelf, collecting dust like some old painting on the wall. I just don’t understand it.

  • Gregory The Fish

    frederik:

    i also listen to all of my records, but i also collect as much for the history as the music itself, so i can understand playing them sparingly.

  • Also, very few records do I play *that* much, as I have quite a lot of ’em and it takes awhile to cycle through. I’m okay playing $1-$2K records so I guess $4k isn’t that much of a stretch.

    Seems like one would wear out a styrene 45 more quickly DJing than a styrene LP or 45 on a nice turntable with a high end cart.

  • Gregory: I also play them sparingly, very sparingly, but that’s more down to not finding enough time to play them every day. I collect for the music, and I would not buy a record to keep in a historical archive. It has to be 1st pressings, for that’s the way they were supposed to sound and look like. But to try and keep them as unplayed as possible for history’s sake and for future owners… well, I rather enjoy the hobby to the full by playing them as much as I feel like. That being said, I don’t think there’s a possibility for me to play them every day for a long time ahead. Work, kids an wife takes up too much of my time.

  • Having worked in the plastics industry for over 2 decades, I can attest that vinyl is a tougher, more wear resistant polymer than polystyrene. Polystyrene is known for being brittle, having low impact strength and ductility, so is much less forgiving to the high wall stresses created in the groove during play. Harder is not better in this case. Some of my early 50s rock/rockabilly are pressed on styrene. Handle with care!

  • Anyway, why making rules ? It is up to everyone to use valuable records the way he wants…Some will listen to them, some will put on shelves. I must admit that it has been maybe more than ten years since i did not give spins to some of my most valuable record…For many reasons : lack of time, daughter, work, ….. The other reason is : i already know them very well. I rather focus on more obscure records nowadays…

  • finally I have found an answer to what puzzled me ever since I acquired the first Transition. A sensation of a brittle, inflexible product, which tends to break into pièces when you drop it. So it is styrene that matters. In general I don’t like Donald Byrd too much, and a quartet session by him would be close to absolute horror. But I must frankly admit that “Beacon Hill” session is one of the most likeable in its genre, on par with Art Farmer on CR and K.D. on NJ.

  • Gregory The Fish

    Fredrik: same here. But I value first pressings for a different reason than you: just the history. Knowing the records were just another anonymous product at the time, and that they were loved and cared for for 50-60 years whil they acquired their cult status is special to me.

    and michel hits the nail on the head.

  • Gregory: That’s special to me too, no doubt. Either way, it’s a beautiful hobby.

  • Gregory the Fish : how true. Its always funny to see collection from the 50-60’s where the Oscar Peterson on Verve or and Ahmed Jamal on Argo were treated with the same care and love as Mobley or Mclean on Blue Note and Prestige.

  • Pingback: The $1,000 Bin (And Beyond) | jazzcollector.com

Leave a Reply

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