Various Vinyl For a Rainy Tuesday

Kenny DorhamHere’s a nice one for a rainy Tuesday here in The Berkshires: Kenny Dorham, Afro-Cuban Blue Note 5065. This is an original 10-inch Lexington Avenue pressing listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover. Not to hype things for the seller, but how many M- copies of this record do you think there are, anywhere in the world? Could there be 100, 200? Doubtful it would be more than that. I have a copy, but the condition is VG for the vinyl, and I was happy to get it for about $35 maybe 25 years ago in a store in Los Angeles.

Charles Mingus, Pithecanthropus Erectus, Atlantic 1237. This was an original black label pressing in VG condition for the record and the cover. It sold for $150, somewhat surprising given the condition. Interesting seller who seems to be selling all kinds of stuff all the time, nearly 110,000 feedbacks. He had a couple of other items I had spotted, but when I went back to search I didn’t have time to go through the various Judge Dredd bikes or Predator wolf masks to find a stray Mingus or two.

That auction from the Jazz Record Center is closing in a couple of hours and the bidding has been somewhat less than frenetic. Closer to invisible, really. This one still hasn’t received any bids: Tony Fruscella, Atlantic 1220. This is an original black label pressing. The record and the cover are probably in M- condition. The start price is $500. There is also no action so far on the Chet Baker Boppin‘ record we mentioned the other day, with a start price of $100.

Finally, there was Lou Donaldson, Quartet, Quintet, Sextet, Blue Note 1537. This was an original Lexington Avenue pressing listed in VG+ condition for the record and VG for the cover. When I looked at this it was about $300, which seemed reasonable and within range for me. It sold for $445, still reasonable and in range but, alas, it remains on my want list.


  • Charles Drago

    An unplayed, unsoiled copy of the Dorham, replete with inserted four-page Blue Note promotional brochure, came my way some 15 years ago as part of the purchase, with two partners, of a relatively small portion of an immense, oddball collection (which included in excess of 100,000 unplayed 78s — two copies of the Robert Johnson “grail” among them).

    Each of us kept some very important jazz and R&B (Charles Brown’s “Mood Music” Aladdin 10″ on red vinyl) rarities. I held on to an unplayed original copy of Lee Morgan’s “Indeed,” perfect in every way. As a mirror image of one I already owned, this piece eventually went away via eBay for in excess of $2600 — a record sum at the time.

    All of this was store stock and unplayed. I still own pristine copies of the Parker Savoys and one Dial, “Saxophone Colossus,” “J.R. Monterose” (Blue Note), Mobley’s “Second Message,” McLean’s “4,5,6” and Wallington’s “Quintet at the Bohemia,” plus JATP box sets with programs and photos, and the wonderful “The Jazz Scene” portfolio.

    The partnership sold approximately 400 10″ and 12″ LPs via a “Goldmine” auction (pre-eBay days, of course). After expenses, and if memory serves, each of us cleared between $8 -10K.

    Even the warehouse in which the records and assorted musical merchandise and ephemera were stored is gone now. Among the pieces I should have retained was a console that housed a combination AM radio/45 rpm turntable/wire recorder. The wire would encircle the platter, and one could record directly from the radio. Among the boxes of wire spools were flawless recordings of baseball games played during WW II, including at least one All Star game (if memory serves) plus jazz airchecks too numerous to recall.

    Haven’t seen anything like it since.

  • The JRC auction closed and there was no bidding on the Tony Fruscella or Chet Baker records.

  • I think the mold on the back of the Donaldson jacket scared some folks off. There is also a mold spot on the label. Probably best you passed on that one.

  • I keep seeing records with visible mold spotting on the back cover and sometimes the label too as having “age spots”. I know from experience that even if the mold appears to be dead the paper underneath continues to dry rot over time. Worse than that is if the mold is on the label there’s a very good chance that there’s dried mold in the grooves and depending how old the mold is, even multiple VPI passes very often won’t work. Unless the seller play grades the record it’s a calculated risk whether or not it can be cleaned.

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