What Makes Us Covet Certain Records vs Others?
Whilst I’ve been away, a friend sent me this link: A Recital by Tal Farlow, Norgran 1030. This was an original pressing listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover. It looked pristine, probably with the original inner sleeve. The final price was $121.49. Is that high, low or just right? It seems original Norgrans in this condition are quite hard to find, but the demand is nothing close to the original Blue Notes or Prestiges. For my money, Farlow was the best of the bop-oriented guitarists, but his records rarely sell for high collectible prices, particularly in today’s market as we are seeing prices of some records rising to staggering levels. Is it a question of label, race, style of music, era, artist, instrument or some combination of all of the above? It would be easy to suggest it is race, but then someone sent me this link as well: Art Pepper, Modern Art, Intro 606. This was also an original pressing and it was also in M- condition for the record and the cover. This one sold for $3,506. Pepper was iconic because of all the other stuff in his life, so well told and chronicled in his book Straight Life so maybe I’m just stretching a comparison, but it’s interesting to ponder what makes collectors interested in one set of records or artists, versus others of the same era. Hopefully we can generate some interesting discussion.
Speaking of artists adored by collectors, there was Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’, Blue Note 1588. This looked to be an original pressing listed in VG++ condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. It sold for $1,585, which is quite a bit less than one would typically expect for this record. I wonder why? The seller has good feedback and there don’t seem to be any hidden “gotchas” in the listing. Not that $1,585 is such a low price, but we’ve seen this record sell consistently for more than $3,000 in this condition in the Jazz Collector Price Guide. By the way, I totally understand why the Sonny Clark Blue Notes are so coveted by collectors. They are great records, all of them, and he was such a brilliant pianist. If you want to find some less expensive Sonny Clark records — along with Tal Farlow — check out some of the collaborations with Buddy DeFranco on Norgran and Verve. You can typically get these for much less than the Blue Notes and the music is superb. For many reasons, the record Cooking the Blues is particularly close to my heart.