There was a time not all that long ago when obscure records with relatively abrasive – or at least not for the feint of heart – musical content didn’t break the bank or require a second mortgage on one’s house. This was even the case for the first several years of online record buying, when private-press free jazz LPs were, though rare, not a matter of renegotiating one’s financial well-being to obtain. Well, that period has been officially over for a while now, but nevertheless the hits keep coming and new price points are reached. Take, for example, the lone LP by the Black Unity Trio, Al-Fatihah, on their own Salaam imprint. It’s a scarce and in demand post-Ayler document out of Cleveland, Ohio featuring an early appearance of cellist/bassist Abdul Wadud, along with saxophonist Yusuf Mumin (of the Norman Howard group) and drummer Haasan Al-Hut. Most copies I’ve run across look like they’d been run over by a skateboard and tossed into a puddle. This one was better, with a grade of VG++ for the vinyl and probably a strong VG for the matte white cover. Nevertheless, $2,355 is nearly double the next highest price in the internet marketplace and there was a time several years ago when $400-$500 was a healthy number for this album. Not anymore! Read more
Here’s another one of those cool Esquires with a cool cover: Sonny Rollins Quintet, Esquire 20-080. This is the original U.K. version of the Prestige record Moving Out (Prestige 7058). This one is in M- condition for both the record and the cover. There are two days left on the auction and the bidding is already close to $700. What I said in my previous post about getting a good deal on these Esquires? I only wrote it a week ago. Have times changed that quickly, or does it have to do with immaculate condition of this record? Or, perhaps, a little of both?
Meanwhile, it seems as if the bidding has barely begun on this original original Prestige: Jackie McLean, Jackie’s Pal, Prestige 7068. This looks like a beauty, graded M- for the record and VG++ for the cover. There seems to be shrink wrap, which would not have been the packaging medium when it was first introduced, but that wouldn’t scare me off at all. With more than three days left, the bidding is at just $45. I would expect it to increase markedly as we get close to the end of the auction.
Sorry, again, for the paucity of posts and thanks, again, to Clifford for pitching in. There’s a lot to catch up on so let’s begin, starting with Sonny Rollins, Saxophone Colossus, Prestige 7079. I think we may be seen a new paradigm taking shape in our Jazz Collector world. This copy was in extremely nice condition, graded M- for both the cover and the vinyl. It sold for $1,002.99, which some might think would be a bargain price for an original of Saxophone Colossus, and, of course, that would be accurate. But this was not an original pressing, but instead was a yellow label New Jersey pressing. I think we’re starting to see the rise of the second — and later — pressings because the originals are so expensive and so hard to come by, particularly in near mint condition. Makes me regret that I sold so many of my Liberty Blue Notes for $20 or so when I was selling regularly on eBay in the first part of the 2000s. Then again, the reason I was able to sell those Liberties was because I had acquired original pressings and no longer needed them, so nothing really to complain too strenuously about.
Greetings to all from the world of obscure jazz records on eBay. It feels weird writing that, considering how much strife and upset is occurring due to our political situation and like Al, it’s been hard for me to find much respite even in my own projects. At the same time, settling down with music made as the world was in the midst of conflict does give one hope that as a whole we can get through these seemingly insurmountable situations. Not unscathed, but through.
With that in mind, here are a number of European jazz records on eBay that I’ve been watching. First up is the third LP by Finnish saxophonist Eero Koivistoinen, The Original Sin, released on Scandia in 1971. It’s a fantastic slice of Finnish-American (due to the presence of guitarist Lance Gunderson) modal jazz and jazz-rock that has recently been reissued (though even the reissue is hard to find). Koivistoinen also released a couple of superb records on RCA Victor somewhat later, both of which are well worth seeking out. Scandia pressings aren’t known for their high quality, and this one was probably in VG+ or VG++ for the vinyl with the thin cover in VG or VG+ condition. The final price was $477. Read more
Hello from the Brooklyn side of things, where I trust everyone in the JazzCollector community has had a reasonably good new year. As I get back into post-vacation normalcy (or as much as one can have these days), there have been a number of nice uncommon jazz and improvised music records worth watching on good old eBay (alas, none of these have made it anywhere close to a reasonable price point for me, for a number of reasons).
First up is one you don’t see often at all, at least in its original form: Japanese guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi‘s debut leading a free-form ensemble, Independence: Tread on Sure Ground, on the Union Records imprint from 1969. The late 1970s reissue with an alternate sleeve image shows up from time to time, but this first pressing with a deep groove label and original jacket artwork is exceedingly rare. Is it rare enough for someone to Buy-It-Now for $1,500 given that the cover is a somewhat tatty-looking VG+ and the LP maybe VG++ or so? Well, this is the second time around for this BIN and there haven’t been any takers, so we will see.
eBay experts tell us what you make of this: Lee Morgan Indeed, Blue Note 1538. This was an original Lexington Avenue pressing listed in M- condition for the record and Ex condition for the cover. We first noticed the record with a start price of $3,999. There were no bids. I just re-checked this record and now it is no longer available because the seller pulled it. However, it shows a price of $4,999. My assumption is that the seller had it listed at that price, someone made an offer, and he sold it for something under the asking price. But if you look on eBay, the assumption is that the record sold for $4,999, which would be extremely high market value for this record, although on Popsike they have a version having sold for $7,786, which seems somewhat bogus to me, given that the next highest price is $3,500.
Maybe I’ve said this elsewhere, but the longer I’ve been interested in collecting jazz records, the more deeply I’ve gotten into jazz records from “elsewhere” or at the very least far outside the canonical realm of collecting. I suppose that’s relatively normal – the more time one spends with something the deeper one gets into it, and with music, the further afield one’s results will fall. It’s perhaps a “long-tail” of taste, and has led me to European and Japanese jazz as well as numerous obscure, often privately-pressed American jazz gems. Though my tastes remain well on the avant-garde side of things, that’s not a necessity for enjoyment.
Here’s one that really caught my eye recently; Danish drummer Bjarne Rostvold recorded with Kenny Drew, Bent Axen and Allan Botchinsky among others. Probably his rarest side is Jazz Journey, recorded for the tiny label Hit Records with Axen, Botchinsky and Erik Moseholm on bass. It was reissued by Sawano several years ago and even that pressing is fairly pricy. A few originals have turned up over the years, usually in pretty rough condition, and still netted prices north of $500. Well, this copy really went into the stratosphere, closing at $3,700 with the vinyl in presumably VG+ or VG++ for the record and a weak VG+ for the cover. It’s far rarer than a lot of in-demand American modern jazz LPs, so the price seems commensurate… while still out of the range of sanity for me.
Falling a little afield from the jazz or free-jazz realm but still of interest to collectors of improvised music is this wonderful LP assembled by electronic music and sound library composer Basil Kirchin, featuring improvisations with Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, and and uncredited cellist and percussionist mated to a fascinating array of tape-manipulated field recordings. Worlds Within Worlds is a very special record and probably one of the weirdest albums to come out on UK EMI/Columbia (there’s a second volume with the same title on Island, released a few years later). This copy is listed in “EX” or probably VG++ for the record and VG+ for the cover, which looks to have suffered a bit of water damage at some point though I guess it’s still presentable. The bidding has it just shy of $300 with a day to go, though it will probably top twice that.
A bit more in the realm of classic American jazz (hard bop) but still not well-known by any stretch is a sextet LP led by drummer Dave Bailey for the small Jazz Line/Jazztime label, Bash!, featuring an all star lineup of figures like Curtis Fuller, Tommy Flanagan and Kenny Dorham. It’s certainly not a common record and usually when it comes up for sale it’s been put through the ringer. Boston area seller Stereo Jack’s had one in probably VG++ condition for the record and VG+ condition for the cover, and it ended at a cool $1,259 – certainly the highest price I’ve seen it at auction. Hope the buyer is satisfied with the condition.
At any rate, as always, happy collecting and happier listening!
Here zre are some of the rare jazz records that have been sitting in our eBay watch list, starting with Eric Dolphy, Outward Bound, New Jazz 8236. This was an original pressing with the purple label and the deep grooves. The record was listed in M- condition and the cover was Ex, equivalent to VG++, according to the seller’s description. The final price was $837. High, but certainly not surprising for an original classic such as this. From the same seller, there was Kenny Dorham, Quiet Kenny, New Jazz 8225. This was also an original pressing with the purple label and the deep grooves. The record was listed in VG+ condition, as was the cover. The final price was $1,083. And one more from the same seller, this one a tease for me, but not in a comfortable price range, although certainly a fair price range based on the final bid:
As prices continue to rise, readers are sending me more and more emails calling particular records to my attention. This one came from Clifford, with the simple note: “nuts!!!”: Kenny Dorham, Afro Cuban, Blue Note 1535. This was an original pressing, or at least the original 12-inch pressing, and it looked to be in VG++ to M- condition for the record and probably VG++ for the cover. The final price was $3,819. There were 22 bids and 13 bidders and it went from about $1,700 to the final price in the last few seconds. So, clearly, there were two bidders that really, really, really wanted this record, but that is quite a dear price to pay, IMHO. A commenter on the previous post also pointed to this one, with the simple words “Wow!” and “Crazy!”: Harold Vick, Steppin’ Out, Blue Note 4138. This was an original pressing from the same seller as the Dorham record. The record and cover were both in M- condition. The final price was $720.
I missed this one last week: Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’, Blue Note 1588. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing that looked to be in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The final price was $4,054. You don’t find many records breaking into the $4,000 bin, but certainly more than there used to be. Then again, there was that copy of John Coltrane, Blue Train, Blue Note 1577, that sold for $4,717.89 a couple of weeks ago. Amazing. Then there was The Return of Art Pepper, East West JWLP 10. We were watching this one the other day and there were no bids at a start price of about $500 with just a couple of days left on the auction. I predicted it would sell, which was not that hard to do. But I would not have predicted that the price would have been $2,026.01. Amazing. It was also noteworthy that there were only three bidders and three bids, and they all came during the auction’s closing seconds, the winner and second place finisher presumably using some kind of sniping software.