Not So Quiet Kenny, And More

One of our readers sent me the following link: Kenny Dorham, Quiet Kenny, New Jazz 8225. This was an original purple label deep groove pressing. The record and cover were listed in M- condition and the seller used the word “pristine” in his description. The final price was $3,617. According to Popsike, that is a new high water mark for Quiet Kenny. The reader added this note: “Of course, this LP is superb music-wise and very rare, so in today’s market maybe the price is justified?” My answer, I guess, is yes, it is justified in today’s market. And, I have to say, every time I think the market has peaked, I am always proven wrong. So, who’s not to say that someday down the road, we’ll be talking about this purchase as a bargain?

This one also fetched quite a price:

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Blue Note 1568: Bah, Humbug

Buy it now, just $1,200. There’s a copy of Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568 sitting on eBay now with a start price of $4,500 and a Buy it Now price of $12,000. It is an original West 63rd Street pressing and the obsessive collectors among us would argue that it is an original original, meaning it sports the inscrutable New York 23 label on side two. The seller starts off by saying he is not qualified to grade jazz records but he just lucked out and found a collection that included the likes of Hank Mobley Blue Note 1568. Funny, I’ve been collecting jazz records for nearly 50 years now and this particular little bit of luck has never befallen me. In any case, he offers some audio clips of the record that he recorded on a (gasp) Ion USB turntable, which is enough to scare some of you off right there. Read more

A Fine Array From Blue Note and Prestige

We were watching a bunch of items from the Jazz Record Center auction that closed yesterday and here are some of the results, staring with Clifford Jordan and John Gilmore, Blowing in From Chicago, Blue Note 1549. This was an original pressing. It was probably in VG++ condition for the record. The JRC doesn’t use our normal grades, just a description. This one had a single mark that is audible seven times. I know that precludes it from M-. Does it preclude it from VG++? Otherwise, the record sounds immaculate. The cover was probably VG+ or VG++, depending upon how you feel about a “professionally repaired” spine and bottom seam. Also, the picture looks more VG+ to me than VG++. The final price was $1,247. My sense is that a different seller would have been less meticulous in his description and received a higher price. In any case, I still don’t own an original copy of this record for any of you out there who may be interested in a trade.

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Jazz Vinyl Catchup

Sorry, again, for the long gap between posts. With Thanksgiving and an abundance of real work, time has just slipped away. I owe you an update on some of the auctions we were watching, so here goes. We’ll start with some of the records from the seller vinyl-house-uk, including Elmo Hope, Informal Jazz, Esquire 32-0139. This was an original British pressing listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover.  It sold for a whopping $925. When we started watching this UK pressings a couple of years ago, the prices weren’t nearly this high. Hope we didn’t start a trend. There were a few other similar pressings in the same auction list that sold for high prices, including these Read more

Two Blue Notes and a Dash of Pepper

The seller bluenote5 has some interesting and high priced records on eBay now including this one: Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section, Stereo Records 7018. So this is not the Contemporary version and it has the original loose plastic seal with a promotional card for the label inside. The seal is unbroken, so the record is in new condition and the cover is probably close to that as well. Here’s the conundrum with this record: When it was first issued on Contemporary it was 1957 and the labels weren’t producing stereo copies yet, at least not to my knowledge. This was probably the first Stereo release of this record, so in that way it is an original. But it was also probably released at least a couple of years after the original mono recording. You can see in the listing that it doesn’t have the red and blue writing on the back that would make it an original on the Contemporary label. I’m sure this copy is extraordinarily rare and nearly impossible to find sealed like this. As for me, Id rather have the Contemporary. BTW, my copy of this record was from the Bruce M. West collection in Baltimore and it also had the loose polybag cover the cover with the Contemporary promotional card inside. I removed the cover — after all, it was almost 60 years old and quite filthy — but I keep the promotional card inside. It was quite cool to see it in this condition, as if it were sitting on the shelf of a record store in 1957 The start price on the sealed Stereo version in this listing is $1,00. So far there are no bidders.  

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Here Comes Louis Smith — Coltrane and Rollins, Too

Geez, did you see the final price on that Here Comes Louis Smith record we were watching the other day? It was an original pressing in VG++ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. We predicted it might make it to the $1,000 bin, but didn’t expect it to get into the $2,000 bin, which it did at $2,027. That would make it the highest price we’ve seen for this record, according to Popsike, which, interestingly, already has it posted on their site. So, with a VG+ cover this copy received a price that was more than $500 higher than the previous top price. Not bad.

Meanwhile, I was watching this record and it didn’t sell at all: John Coltrane (et al), Tenor Conclave, Prestige 7074. This was an original New York yellow label pressing, listed in VG+ condition for the record and VG for the cover. The start price was about $400 and there were no bidders.

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Back to Blue Note

If yesterday was a Prestige day, let’s make today a Blue Noter, starting with Here Comes Louis Smith, Blue Note 1584. This looks to be an original West 63rd Street pressing listed in VG++ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. The bidding is in the $175 range with about four days to go. We were watching a different copy of the same record a few days ago and that one was in just VG condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. It wound up selling for $561, so I would expect this one to fetch a higher price. Will it enter the $1,000 bin? Could be. According to Popsike, the highest recorded price for this record is $1,514. Not owning an original copy of this record myself, I haven’t listened to it in a long time. When I put a record on the turntable, I usually prefer an original pressing. But perhaps I will make an exception. After all, the personnel includes one of my all-time favorite alto players, none other than the infamous “Buckshot La Funke.”

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Chasing Trane Tonight; Chasing Vinyl Forever

For those of you in the U.S., the documentary Chasing Trane will be on television at 10 p.m. tonight as part of the Independent Lens series on PBS. Here’s a video clip they posted on the site. It’s hard to believe that it was already a year ago that I had my mini breakdown as a result of the Presidential election and wrote the essay about how Chasing Trane helped me to cope. I wish I could say that my fears were unfounded but, unfortunately, they weren’t. They may take away the pillars of our democracy and our society, but they can’t take away our music. Or our heroes. Watch it. I will, even though I’ve seen it twice already.

Back to eBay. The other day I mentioned the seller Keca222 and that $4,049.99 copy of the 12-inch Kenny Dorham Afro-Cuban on Blue Note. The seller also had this one: Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. This was a pressing that did not have the New York 23 on one side, which, to some collectors, diminishes its value, although I’ve never seen a clear explanation why that is the case. But, as we know, we collectors can be a bit strange in our predilections, don’t you think? Anyway, this was in VG+ condition for the record and probably EX or Ex+ for the cover. There was the dreaded phrase “feelable scratches,” yet it still sold for $3,650, which is quite a hefty some for this record in that condition, New York 23 or not.

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How We Listen & How We Collect

Thanks to all for keeping the site current during my unexpected and prolonged absence. More than 60 comments and counting on the last item is quite impressive. I will try not to do that too often, but I was able to get a much-needed break from life and work and spend some time with The Lovely Mrs. JC in beautiful Provincetown, Ma., where we got to sit on the beach, view the eclipse, eat lobster and marvel at the beautiful sunsets and scenery. Now that I am back I feel compelled to at least catch up on some of the ongoing conversations and items I was watching before I left.

Let’s start with the riff on listening or not listening to our records. I don’t begrudge anybody their preferences on how to collection. As far as I’m concerned, it’s your money, your time, your enjoyment. Do whatever you want. As for me, I find that, in reality, my approach is somewhat mixed. I have no problem at all putting any of my records on my turntable and, in fact, take tremendous pleasure in listening to the real rarities in their original form and format. Just the other day I put on my beautiful mint original pressing of Saxophone Colossus, poured a glass of Porter and listened from beginning to end. Sheer ecstasy. And a few days before that, I took my portable Califone record player out to the porch here in The Berkshires and brought out a bunch of original 78s — Fats Waller, Louis Jordan, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday and Lester Young. Again, sheer ecstasy.

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Time For Bigger Bins?

I know others have commented on the previous post, but I can’t let this one pass without at least one more word: Jackie McLean, The New Tradition, Ad Lib 6601. This was an original pressing in some kind of condition, perhaps VG+ or a little better. Hard to tell, because the seller used a stock photo as the main picture and then supplemented it, I suppose, with pictures of the actual record, which shows some obvious wear on the front cover, although the overall condition looks OK. You would think the lack of clarity on the description would cause bidders to be hesitant. And perhaps they were. Nevertheless, there were 16 bidders and 27 bids and a whopping final price of $5,035.75.

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