What Happens? Records Sell for High Prices

Art Farmer Jazz VinylOnce again we find another record that is unfamiliar to us, this one sent in courtesy of our friend CeeDee: Art Farmer and Phil Woods, What Happens?, Campi SJG 12001. This was an original Italian promo pressing from 1969.  It was listed in M- condition for the record and  VG++ for the cover. It sold for $355. I did a quick search to learn more about the record but pretty much came up empty. That’s why it’s nice to have the Jazz Collector community weigh in with our collective knowledge. So, friends, what’s the story behind this record and the label?

I think a lot of us had our eye on this one: Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. This was an original original pressing, with the New York 23 on one side. The record and cover were both listed in VG+ condition. The final price was $3,998. There were 11 bidders. Given the rarity of this record, the price of nearly $4,000 seems to be market-appropriate, even with the VG+ condition. Based on the description, I’m sure the buyer is expecting this to be somewhat under-graded, particularly since there can be such a wide span within the VG+ category, don’t you think?

Even though I wrote about this record last week, the final price surprised me somewhat: Sonny Rollins Plays, Period 1204. This one was also in VG+ condition for the record and the cover. When I was looking at it, it was in the $500 range. It wound up selling for $1,061. Welcome to the $1,000 bin.

Ever since I started watching the original U.K. Esquire issues of Prestiges they’ve been going up in value. Case in point: Miles Davis, The New Miles Davis Quintet, Esquire 32-021. This was an original U.K. pressing. Based on the description the record would probably be VG++, maybe VG+ if you are a real stickler. The cover was listed as Ex+. The final price was $506.38. That’s starting to get into the range of an original U.S. pressing.

 

38 comments

  • VG+ is as high as I am willing to grade and satisfaction for all parties has been the result of that conservatism. EX and NM are too subjective and Mint for vintage stock is implausible.

  • I would say most vintage vinyl is probably around VG+(+). Is it just me or does it seem like dealers grade vintage records on a sliding scale. Meaning they’ll something graded as NM even if it has background noise because that’s to be expected with old records. Would anyone accept that grade for a brand new albums that had similar background noise?

  • I bought a Jimmy Smith LP once, graded at “NM minus”, which according to the seller, equated to a 9/10. It was literally covered in tiny scratches. When I contacted the seller, he refused a partial refund (it would have cost me $20 to return it to the US), on the grounds that he was on social security, I won it for not much than the paid for it, and because it was “rare in mono”

  • Campi Records was the label of Gigi Campi. An Italian architect, gastronome and Jazz impressario/producer.
    He got famous for initiating and producing the Kenny Clarke – Francy Boland Big Band.
    In the 50s he founded the first independent European Jazz label mod-records in Cologne.
    On this label he released a.o Lee Konitz, Bill Russo or Jutta Hipp on EPs.

  • I was watching that Farmer/Woods — have a nice Japanese reissue that sounds great, but would love an original. It’s a strong session for sure. Gigi Campi produced/bankrolled many of the Clarke-Boland Big Band recordings and also released a few non-CBBB sessions on this short-lived label, including two Lee Konitz-Martial Solal albums (which are very good).

  • Gregory the Fish

    richard,

    what a jerk. he knows what NM means. i hope you escalated your complaint.

    i almost always send seller some form of FYI when their grading is too optimistic. i usually quote the goldmine requirements for VG+, too.

  • Gregory… I like your idea of sending a seller something reminding him of goldmine requirements for a VG+ grading. That should be effective if the seller uses the goldmine grading system. The problem is that these days there’s a great number of sellers who use excellent (ex) as a grade between NM and VG+. When you use excellent, you’re no longer using the Goldmine grading system and VG+ then has different meanings from seller to seller. I wish sellers would stop using “excellent”. I think it would make grading more reliable and uniform.

  • Gregory – I didn’t, just chalked it down to experience, as it was only a $10 LP. I left negative feedback re his poor grading however.

  • The Woods/Farmer collaboration on Campi ranks as one of Phil’s most satisfying, accomplished, powerfully poetic recordings. His ballad feature, “Chelsea Bridge,” is for the ages (see link to the Youtube capture below).

    Over the years I’ve collected just about every Woods appearance as leader and sideman on LP, CD, and DVD. That’s well over 120 pieces — the majority memorable and often truly great, a minority ill-considered (by Phil). We became Internet friends toward the end of his life, and I was blessed to have been able to express to him my gratitude and respect for all that his music brings to my life.

    Back to the Campi: It was recorded during the most furiously fertile period in Phil’s musical evolution — the European Rhythm Machine/European sojourn years. I simply can’t be over-enthusiastic in my recommendation to all herein assembled to track it down. I own an original, a Japanese reissue, and a CD version.

    FWIW, my favorite instance of Phil in a non-soloing, sideman role is his lead work on Sonny Rollins “Alfie” soundtrack, orchestrated by Phil’s dear friend Oliver Nelson. (This also happens to be one of my top five Rollins favorites, bought for me when I was 14. For collectors: the true first pressing jacket on impulse! has Michael Caine’s head highlighted in red.)

    The last great Woods recording? To my ears, “For Astor and Elis,” on Chessky.

  • Charles,
    Thanks for the tip regarding original pressings of Alfie, never noticed that before! Also thanks for the Woods link, great stuff!

  • You’re very welcome, Aaron.

    From Phil’s expatriate years — and excluding all but one of the European Rhythm Machine recordings — I highly recommend:

    “Alto Summit” – MPS 15 192, featuring Lee Konitz, Leo Wright and Pony Poindexter, with Steve Kuhn, Palle Danielsson, and John Christensen (that rhythm section also recorded — likely on the same day — a trio LP led by the pianist [MPS 15 193]).

    “Alpine Power Plant” (MPS 33 21460-5) — two LPs featuring “The Band” (comprised of Dexter Gordon, Woody Shaw, Virgil Jones, Sahib Shihab, Eddie Daniels, NHOP, Ake Persson, Runo Ericson, Herb Geller, Erich Kleinschuster, and co-leaders George Gruntz, Flavio Ambrosetti, and Franco Ambrosetti. I inherited a copy on which Gruntz creatively “annotated” the inner gatefold panels.

    “The Birth Of The ERM — The Ljubljana And Bologna Concerts” (Philology 214 W 16/17), another double LP documenting the George Gruntz, Henri Texier and Daniel Humair line-up. One of the tunes (“And When We are Young”) originally appeared on “Ljlubljana 1968 — International Jazz Festival” (Helidon LP 08-001).

    “Latin Kaleidoscope” (MPS 15033), the Kenny Clarke – Francy Boland Big Band. Phil solos on one tune. This set originally appeared on the Campi label (SJG 12005) and — Woods completists take note — features a different take of “Un Graso de Areia”, his solo tune (see link below — it also appeared on the British KPM Music Recorded Library label [KMB INT 04A/B).

    In re the latter: Phil shared the story of how the band’s superb altoist Derek Humble had announced that he was too ill to make an upcoming tour. Boland told him that Woods would sub. Humble experienced a miraculous recovery.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmuhqWqtfMU

  • I’m the seller of the hank mobley. I tried to grade this as conservatively as possible. I wish I was able to keep this/buy this from my friend. But he wanted more than I could give. Thus why I listed it in the bay for him. But at least I got to hold this in my hand and listen to it a full time through. The music is amazing on this record. A truly great session! Now I’m just waiting for the buyer to pay! 🙂

  • Aren’t you concerned he hasn’t paid yet, 5 days later? I also note he has 42 bid retractions in the last 6 months. I hope he coughs up for you.

  • Forget e bay why don’t you guys come out to the Austin record convention next year? It is a great 3 day experience and you will go home with some great records and great stories! See it, buy it, no fuss , no muss!,,…..

  • geoffrey wheeler

    As for grading records, Ex is more commonly used for grading 78s than LPs. Ethan says Mint for a vintage LP is “implausable.” Some months ago, I purchased a mint copy of Ruby Braff’s 1955 album of “Braff!” The discounted price was under $4.00. The jacket was mint; the record was mint. It was like finding my first copy of this album that I bought when it came out in the 1950s. Several years ago, I bought a mint copy of “The Man with the Golden Arm.” I bought it for the jacket cover, which was gorgeous. I had seen the original artwork for the cover in the Denver Art Museum as part of an exhibit of important commercial art. This, too, was a 1955 release of both film and LP. I have also purchased sealed copies of LPs from the ’60s and ’70s that are mint. As for “mint” 78s, I have a lot of them so I am no longer amazed when I come across one.

  • Richard – I am concerned and have been emailing back and forth. I’m giving him 48 hours to pay. I understand when someone is spending $4,000 on a record that there is some balance of patience. But for me, I just don’t buy anything unless I have the money in hand!

  • Thanks for the stories and tips, Charles Drago – much appreciated.

  • Jason – fingers crossed for you.

  • Jason – did the Mobley buyer come through or will it be relisted?

  • Geoff,

    I’m happy for you, feeling as I do that many of the older items have garnered enough nicks and scrapes to never again be Mint grade, even if they are in darn good shape in some cases.

  • Mac – the buyer has until 6/24 to pay. I filed an unpaid item a couple days back. He says he will pay but I’m doubting it now. So it may be relisted soon

  • I had the pleasure of seeing Phil a couple of times, even sitting in on a masterclass when I was in high school. I was an alto player and he was one of my idols. Absolutely amazing musician and had some great stories.

    After Bird kicked, all the alto players in town thought the crown might be theirs. Then the Adderley boys blew into town…so Phil and Jackie MacLean went to check them out. First chorus of the first tune by Cannonball, Phil turns to Jackie and says, “Oh, shit.”

    About ten years ago Phil was scheduled to be the headliner at my local college’s jazz fest. This was the beginning of his ill health and he had to cancel very last minute, and they were able to snag Paquito D’Rivera to fill in. He was excellent! (unsurprisingly)

    He came out on stage, sounding very much like Speedy Gonzales, and said, “Hello, I am the Latin Phil Woods!”

    Very true.

    There was a Youtube clip, long since gone, of Phil playing with some European big band in the late 60s, it was the most beautiful tune. I wish I could remember the song or even the session.

  • Juancho,

    Might have been the Clarke-Boland Big Band.

    Another possibility is Quincy Jones’s orchestra performing during its lengthy, semi-voluntary European tour in the wake of the closing of “Free and Easy,” the Harold Arlen “jazz musical” for which Jones served as musical director. If so, you’re likely thinking of the tunes “The Gypsy” or “Quintessence.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-8JfSw_XK8

  • Charles-

    It wasn’t Clarke-Boland or Jones, it was a European big band…not Danish Radio, either. It might have even been Swedish. One of those times it makes you wish you could download stuff off of YouTube! I saw it show up in a Woods discography once, at least the session was listed. I will have to go digging in my old emails, I might have sent myself a link as a reminder at one point or another.

  • I know the clip very well. This is by far my favorite Woods performance captured on video — or anywhere else, for that matter. Keep your eye on Lee Konitz digging Phil’s adverturous harmonic explorations and the irresistible force of his swing .

    The group was assembled for a German radio/tv broadcast, and at least one tune was issued on one of the NDR Jazz Workshop LPs. Gato Barbieri and Slide Hampton are on board for this breathtaking, passionate ride. A slightly longer version captures Jimmy Owens settling the band and counting off the tune.

    Phil turns up on another NDR album in the company of the European Rhythm Machine. I’m not writing from home, where my copies reside, so I can’t provide catalog numbers and other details. I can tell you that these are among the rarest of Woods sides.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  • The video with Phil Woods soloing is from the NDR Jazz Workshop (broadcast station from Hamburg).
    It was recorded on May 31, 1968 at Studio 10, Grosser Sendesaal des NDR Funkhauses, Hamburg.

    Here’s the line-up and the tracks:

    Jimmy Owens (tpt, flh); Ack Van Rooyen (tpt); Locksley “Slide” Hampton (tb, arr); Lee Konitz (as); Phil Woods (as); Leandro “Gato” Barbieri (ts); Volker Kriegel (g); Joachim Kühn (p, org); Günter Lenz (b, g); Barry Altschul (d); Aldo Romano (d); Hans Gertberg (ann)

    1 Introduction (Hans Gertberg) 0:08
    2 Never Subject to Change (J. Owens) 4:05
    3 Introduction (Hans Gertberg) 5:45
    4 The Jazz Galeo (J. Owens) 10:24
    Solos: Hampton, Lenz, Kriegel
    5 Introduction (Hans Gertberg) 2:45
    6 Blue Mist (L. Hampton) 9:28
    Solos: Van Rooyen, Barbieri, Hampton, Kühn
    7 Introduction (Hans Gertberg) 1:00
    8 Western Meaning (J. Kühn) 11:24
    Solos: Kühn, collective, Kühn
    9 Introduction (Hans Gertberg) 2:12
    10 And When We’re Young (P. Woods) 7:56
    Solo: Woods
    11 Introduction (Hans Gertberg) 2:25
    12 We Are Going Up (J. Owens) 8:34
    Solos: Kühn, Woods, Owens, Barbieri
    13 Unknown Title 7:08
    14 String Tales 1 (G. Lenz) 4:52
    Solos: Kriegel, Hampton
    15 String Tales 2 (G. Lenz) 3:04
    Solo: Lenz (g)
    16 String Tales 3 (G. Lenz) 3:58
    Solos: Kriegel, Lenz (g)
    17 Tribute to Louis (L. Konitz) 6:49
    Solos: Woods/Konitz, Hampton/Barbieri, Owens/Van Rooyen
    18 Introduction (Hans Gertberg) 3:51
    19 Caen ’68 (G. Barbieri) 7:48
    Solos: Barbieri, Kühn
    20 Introduction (Hans Gertberg) 1:00
    21 Milan is Love (J. Owens) 4:17
    Solo: Owens
    22 Introduction (Hans Gertberg and Joachim Kühn) 3:19
    Gertberg talks about the music then introduces Kühn, who describes the piece
    23 Present and Future (J. Kühn) 11:44
    Solos: Barbieri, Kühn (org), Kriegel

    Apart from the one tune mentioned by Charles Drago nothing was released.
    And even the NDR LPs were never sold but given away as promos.

  • Thanks so much, Ernst. The give-away status of the NDR LPs certainly accounts for their rarity.

    While we’re on the subject of Phil Woods trivia, completists should know that the Japanese issue of the European Rhythm Machine’s “‘Live’ at Montreux” MGM recording (American catalog SE 4695; Japanese 20MJ 0077) has one extra tune: “Doxy.”

    And the original issue of “Phil Woods and the European Rhythm Machine ‘Live’ at Montreux ’72” (STEC 131) on the Pierre Cardin label (contrary to urban legend, a gold zipper is not attached to the spindle hole) is housed in a jacket with four rounded corners.

    In case someone stops you on the street and asks.

  • Two more points:

    1. “Tribute to Louis” from the NDR run-down kindly provided by Ernst does in fact appear on another NDR LP, which I’m extremely fortunate to own.

    2. Ernst: Is the video you reference available for purchase?

    Thanks.

  • Just a heads up on the Hank Mobley. The buyer ended up not paying for the record…so frustrating. I worked and waited and he kept asking for a few more days. I understand the difficulty in paying for a record of this value, that’s why I worked and waited this long…the crappy thing, he ended up bidding on the classical Archiv records I had up as well…

    The Hank Mobley will be relisted and start on Sunday…so happy bidding! 🙂

  • Charles: Sadly I never got hold of the video although it was screened about three or four times in German television.
    But I was lucky enough to get the radio broadcast a few years ago.
    The sound quality isn’t the best (although still enjoyable!) but the music is excellent.
    At least in theory it is possible to purchase a copy of the Jazz Workshop’s from the broadcaster. The price is mostly about 60 euro. And one has to be patient mostly.

    And recently I discovered several photos from another Jazz Workshop (1971) with Phil Woods:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/heiner1947/4444341404/in/photostream/

  • Ernst,

    Again I thank you for the previously unseen — by me — photos of my favorite and cherished altoist.

  • Jason – so he won both items and paid for neither?

  • Good info on the Woods session (and NDR in general) is here, especially in the comments:

    http://www.artsjournal.com/rifftides/2007/03/phil_woods_1968.html

    Doug Ramsey wrote an excellent book about Paul Desmond that is sadly out of print and very, very expensive on the used market.

  • Ramsey’s Desmond bio is superb. I bought it when new, so the price was not prohibitive.

    If current steep prices are within your budget, and if you enjoy well-crafted, insightful, revelatory jazz writing, then don’t hesitate. Buy this book; it stands as one of few thoroughly satisfying jazz bios in the canon.

  • Richard – Yup…he has not paid for the other item either…I have now blocked him from future auctions…

  • Assuming the winner actually pays, it seems your original non-payer has done you a four-figure favour!

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