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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Happy Holy Grail Day

Catching up on my watch list after a few days off eBay, starting with Hank Mobley and Lee Morgan, Peckin’ Time, Blue Note 1574. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing listed in M- condition and Ex for the cover. Looks like there was a three-way bidding war for this LP and it wound up selling for $2,700.

Here’s one for those of you who like to use the term “Holy Grail,” although it is a term I normally avoid, except for a few seconds ago: Jackie McLean, The New Tradition, Ad Lib 6601. This one is listed in Ex condition by the seller and, based on his key, that seems like it would be a very strong VG+ using standard Goldmine grading. This one is already in the $1,360 range with more than a day left on the auction. It will at least join Peckin’ Time in the $2,000 bin and will probably sell for quite a bit more, based on past history with this record.  Read more

Covering A Couple of Classics

Let’s catch up with a few more from our watch list, starting with a pair of Newks: Sonny Rollins, Tenor Madness, Esquire 32-058. This was an original U.K. pressing listed in VG+ condition, although there was surface noise mentioned in the description, so there was some risk involved by the buyer. I guess it depends on your tolerance for noise. The cover was listed in Ex- condition. The final price was about $266. Seller describes the cover artwork as much better than the U.S. edition, which is certainly in the eye of the beholder, but I do tend to like the cover art on these U.K. Esquires as well. As for these two covers, I don’t have a strong preference one way or the other, although, if forced to choose, I’d probably opt for the U.K. version. Along the same vein there was:

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Stuffing the $1,000 and $2,000 Bins

Welcome, Mr. President

My goodness, the $1,000 bin is overloaded, including all four of the records I was watching last week (A New Crowd For the $1,000 Bin?). They were:

Sonny Rollins Plays, Period 1204. Final price:$1,300

Kenny Dorham, Cafe Bohemia, Blue Note 1524.  Final price: $1,482

John Jenkins and Kenny Burrell, Blue Note 1573. Final price: $2,025.01 (wow!)

Paul Chambers, Bass on Top, Blue Note 1569. Final price: $1,126

And then there were:

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A New Crowd For the $1,000 Bin?

Just a reminder, that auction we wrote about last week (An Old Fashioned Jazz Vinyl Auction) is taking place tomorrow. I spent some time looking through the list and I didn’t see that much of interest to me, although there were a few lots. I may place a few bids just for the experience of doing it. If any of you do participate, please share the experience with us here at Jazz Collector.

Now back to the “normal” eBay auctions that we watch, starting with a record that is near the top of my own want list, since it is the only rare Sonny Rollins records missing from my collection: Sonny Rollins Plays, Period 1204. This is an original pressing that looks to be in about VG++ condition for both the record and the cover. Looks like a nice copy but, alas, it will not be mine. The bidding on this has already exceeded $900 with more than a day left. So it seems pretty safe to say this one will reach the $1,000 bin and perhaps even higher.

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Blue Note Vinyl, Continued

Just back from a brief holiday in San Francisco and lovely Creede, Colorado, where my son directed a play. I seem to be picking up exactly where I left off, with another note from Ceedee bemoaning, in a jocular way, the latest adventures in Blue Note prices. Let’s start with Miles Davis, Volume One, Blue Note 1501. This was an original Lexington Avenue pressing listed in M- condition for the record and Ex for the cover. The final price was $1,125. No surprise there. I have to admit to you all that I recently passed on a lovely collection that contained a copy of this record in even better condition. The records in the collection were in beautiful condition but, unfortunately for me, there weren’t enough records that I didn’t already own to make it worth my while. I would have had to spend months on eBay to get back the return on my investment and I would have added some gems to the collection but, as you can probably surmise, I am just too busy with my regular work to devote my energies to selling records these days.

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Give Me Liberty . . . For a Lot of Money

Here’s a few items from the Jazz Collector in box, starting with a note from our friend CeeDee, who is commenting that “it looks like the cost of some Liberty pressing Blue Notes are approaching the price of the originals,” with a bunch of links, including Kenny Burrell, Blue Lights, Blue Note 1597. Not only is this a Liberty pressing, the cover, with the Andy Warhol illustration, is only on VG condition. This one sold for $255, which is quite a change in the market over the past few years. The other big change in the market is the tremendous spike in prices of the United Artists Blue Notes, which were 1980s reissues for the Japanese market. Unfortunately, I sold a lot of my Liberty and United Artists pressings a few years ago on eBay, generally for $10 or $20 apiece, which was the going rate at the time. Fortunately, however, the reason I sold those pressings was because I was able to obtain copies of the originals and these were just duplicates.

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Monday Morning Blue Notes

Let’s catch up on some completed and upcoming auctions of rare jazz vinyl on eBay, starting with Dizzy Reece, Blues in Trinity, Blue Note 4006. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing in VG++ condition for the record and VG+. When we first started watching this record it was in the $125 price range but was seeing a lot of activity. We speculated that it may approach the $1,000 bin and it wound up selling for $906.80. This one, Lee Morgan, Candy, Blue Note 1590, was in the $925 range when we first spotted it and, based on the seller and condition — M- for the record and cover — we speculated that it was destined for the $2,000, but it came up just short, selling for $1,807. Finally, there was Kenny Drew, Undercurrent, Blue Note 4059. This looked like an original pressing with the one sided deep groove, although there was some dispute about that among the commenters. I guess the pictures weren’t clear. It was a relatively new seller and the record and cover looked to be in M- condition. But the start price was quite high at $3,000 and there were no bids, so perhaps we will see this back on eBay with a lower price tag.

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Random Musings and Blue Notes

I’m back with a completely random batch of records that are currently for sale on eBay, starting with one of my favorite LPs, Jackie McLean, McLean’s Scene, New Jazz 8212. This is an original purple label deep groove pressing listed in VG+ condition for both the record and the cover. The bidding is in the $160 range with four days left. When I think of my favorite alto players, there’s Bird, of course, then Cannonball, then a small group of a few more who were able to create a distinct sound despite the overwhelming presence and influence of Bird. This relatively short list includes Jackie, Paul Desmond, Phil Woods and just a couple of others such as Ernie Henry, who died so young. Then there are Johnny Hodges, who came before Bird and was certainly distinct and marvelous, and Sonny Stitt, who sounded perhaps the most like Bird but could play his ass off and is almost always a joy to put on the turntable, for me at least. Anyway, just some alto musings off the top of my head on a bright Wednesday morning, inspired by McLean’s Scene.

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