The Blue Note Bargain Bin . . . Not

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.

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Tracking European Jazz Rarities and More on eBay

Maybes-l1600-1 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!

A Rare Jazz Vinyl Quartet

eric-dolphy-jazz-vinylHere 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:

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Nuts, Wow and Crazy

kenny-dorham-jazz-vinylAs 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.

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Now These Are Some Heavy Hitters

Art Pepper Jazz VinylI 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.

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Prices Down? Methinks Not

Blue Train Jazz VinylI know this one has already been all over the previous post, but I wanted to get it into a headline and separate post so that it would come up in searches: John Coltrane, Blue Train, Blue Note 1577. This has the New York 23 label on one side, which makes it an original pressing. The record was listed in M- condition and the cover was VG++, with some writing on the back. There were nine bidders, 13 bids and the final price was $4,717.89.

Not sure who said that prices seem down on the previous post, but that’s certainly hasn’t been the case for the records I’ve been watching. Here are a couple of examples: Jackie Mclean, 4, 5 and 6, Prestige 7048. This was an original New York yellow label listed in VG++ condition for the record and Ex for the cover. It sold for $1,144.

And how about this one:

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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?

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A New One (to Me), and An Old One With a $5,000 Tag

Joe Pass Jazz VinylIt is always a great pleasure, and often a great surprise, to come upon an album that is completely new to us. After all, we’ve been collecting jazz for more than 45 years, so you’d think there would be no surprises left. Well here’s one: Joe Pass, Better Days, Gwyn Records 1001. This is a stereo pressing from 1971 and I had never seen it, never heard of it and never heard of Gwyn Records. Fortunately, there is Google, and this post from Carol Kaye, the great Los Angeles-based studio bassist who was part of the group of musicians that came to be known as The Wrecking Crew. Apparently it was Kaye herself who conceived of the album and produced it. I’ve never seen it or hear of it, although, to be fair, I am not a collector of Joe Pass records on any level. This one is listed in Ex+ condition for the record and Ex for the cover. The price is in the range of $275 with about a day and a half left on the auction as of this writing.

There’s always a lot of debate around here on the value of having reserve prices versus just starting an auction with your lowest acceptable price, or some reasonable facsimile. So here’s one that caught my eye:

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A Simple Matter of Condition

Jackie McLean copyCatching up on a few items still lingering on the Jazz Collector watch list, starting with Jackie McLean, The New Tradition, Ad Lib 6601. This was an original pressing that was listed in VG- or worse condition for the record and VG- for the cover. Despite the condition it sold for $711.80. I have a bit of a hard time relating to a collector who would pay more than $700 for a record that (1) may not even be playable and (2) has a damaged cover that may not even look so good on your shelves. You may recall that I briefly owned a copy of the Jackie record a couple of months ago. That one was in VG condition for the record and VG- for the cover. I wasn’t happy with it and, in the context of the overall package of records, I would have paid less than $711 for it. So maybe the woman who reneged on the deal will do better selling it in that condition to another collector willing to simply own a copy of a really rare record without worrying to much about listening to it. That ain’t me.

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Vinyl Treasures from the U.S. and U.K.

ernie henry jazz vinylHere’s one I’d consider if I didn’t already own a copy: Presenting Ernie Henry, Riverside 222. This is an original pressing with the white label and deep grooves. Wonderful record featuring Kenny Dorham and Kenny Drew, and, of course, Henry, who had a really unique voice that was silenced when he died tragically of a heroin overdose at the age of 31. You don’t see too many white-label versions of this record pop up on eBay. This one is in VG+ condition for both the record and the cover. The start price is in the $250 range and the auction closes later today. So far, there are no bidders. Here’s another great record that may or may not sell when the auction closes later today: Elmo Hope, Informal Jazz, Prestige 7034. This is an original yellow label New York pressing listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The bidding has already exceeded $600 but that doesn’t mean it has exceeded the seller’s reserve price, which it hasn’t.

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