Tracking Blue Note Jazz on 78-RPM

I bought that collection and I found that it had a bunch of 12-inch Blue Note 78s so I did a search this morning on eBay for Blue Note 78s, since it is not something I have tried to collect in the past. It turns out the records I acquired — the Sidney Bechets and Albert Ammons and Art Hodes — don’t seem to have much cachet as collectibles. If you look at closed items, they generally sell in the range of $10 and less. However, in doing the search I found a few interesting bop 78s that sold for higher prices, including:

Bud Powell’s Modernists with Sonny Rollins, Blue Note 1568. This 78 includes Dance of the Infidels and 52nd Street Theme and it was described as being in better than VG+ condition, but not quite M-. This sold for $89.88.

Max Roach Quintet, Blue Note 1569. This contains Prince Albert Part 1 and 2, with Kenny Dorham and James Moody. Let’s see how well my memory is working: Prince Albert is a head based on All the Things You Are, if I recall properly, and this version, in addition to being issued on 78, was issued

on a 10-inch LP, but not a 12-inch LP? I put that as a question mark because I don’t always trust my memory these days and I’m hopeful someone with either more knowledge or more time will either confirm or correct my recollections. This sold for $67.66

There was also this one: Thelonious Monk, Blue Note 1565. This one had Monk’s Mood and Who Knows. It was in VG+ condition and sold for $50.75.

The one other thing with buying 78s on eBay: They are difficult to package properly and not every seller is able to do so. I’ve heard of several experiences of records arriving cracked and, frankly, I had that happen to me — as a seller, not as a buyer — even though I had used the latest state-of-the-art packaging materials from Bags Unlimited. These things are just fragile, as anyone who has collected them can firmly attest.


  • I also bought a few BN 78s on a whim, though I have no way to play them.

    I also bought 2 Vogue 33s in case anyone is interested:

    –Sidney Bechet Vogue LD015 and
    –Claude Luter Une Nuit a Saint Germain Des Pres Vogue LD080

  • nice buy, Al. Do You play them also?
    78’s do have a superb sound and dynamics, but you have to learn to listen to it, to be able to disregard the backround noise.
    I play 78 dics on a Bush portable recordplayer from 1963 (nice video here, stay listening, you’ll be suprised by the sound:
    It has beautifull tubes.
    I play mostly classical music on 78. Rubinstein, Schnabel, Heifetz..
    The nice thing is that it enables you to enjoy the music once a while in a different way, in stead on the perfect 5000 dollar hifi-sets we all have ofcourse..
    You sit close to it, and you hear a direct dynamic mono sound. It also plays 33 rpm. You can find them regularly on ebay etc.
    For me a way to get closer to those “50’s (*1970), but he, for a lot of you oldies out there this is ofcourse nothing new 🙂

  • Hi, Maarten. When I play 78s, I usually play them on an old Califone, which sounds excellent. These are players they used to use in the public schools in the U.S. and they are pretty readily available on eBay. I also have an old RCA Orthophonic victrola that I use occasionally.

  • I was born the year charlie chan played the massey hall and I remember 78’s played at home:I couldn’t even think of touchin”em.Their sound is no more in my ears,but the music originally published in that format still is and forever will be.
    In my ears,in my brain,in my belly.
    “When you hear music,after it’s over,it’s gone in the air:you can never capture it again”.
    Eric Dolphy.

  • Love the article, Al. I, too, have a few 78s. One released Climax, but according to the label information it’s a Blue Note recording and considering the text in the dead wax, it is in fact made from the stamper that made THIS Sidney Bechet Blue Note 78. “When The Saints…”/”Basin Street Blues”. I don’t know why Bechet is not popular, ’cause although I’m not that much into the older styles of Jazz, these versions are very enjoyable. The other nice one that I have is Louis Armstrong’s rendition of “Basin Street Blues”, on Decca, parts 1 & 2 divided over both sides. And that version is absolutely outstandingly brilliant. The drum solo by Kenny John is absolutely fabulous here. The version is of course taken from the movie “The Glenn Miller Story”. The other two that I have are from the Dutch Swing College band, nothing fancy in my opinion, but I won’t toss ’em in the bin either.
    Now my turntable isn’t super expensive, but it is a professional one and it plays 78rpm when I push and hold both the 33 and 45rpm button. Makes sense, right? 33+45=78! It’s the Numark PRO-TT1, direct drive and I use Ortofon “concorde” cartridges. The 78s that I have sound fabulous, I have to agree with Maarten on that one. The hiss isn’t at all a problem.
    Check out my photos of my 78s by clicking HERE. 😉
    Mattyman, The Netherlands.

  • OK, the above link to the Bechet that I just posted doesn’t work, so HERE it is again.

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