Goodbye, Elvin Jones

I was poring through eBay this morning, preparing today’s update, when my wife came into my office. “Did you see The Times?” she asked. “There’s an article that Coltrane’s drummer died.”

 It’s not surprising that The Times would refer to Elvin Jones as “Coltrane’s drummer.” That’s the way many of us came to find his music, on those great Atlantic and Impulse LPs of the early and mid 1960s. Jones’s contributions to Trane’s seminal quartet did more to influence the music than anything he might have accomplished before or since. Jones, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison – they all must have known at the time that Trane was taking them on explorations that were redefining the music.

 I turned to my record collection and searched for my favorite Elvin moments from that era. Two albums caught my eye: Africa/Brass, Impulse 6, about which, ironically, I wrote last week; and Coltrane Live at Birdland, Impulse 50. The live LP, particularly the track “Afro-Blue,” exemplifies the way in which Jones drove the quartet to places no other drummer of the era could have taken them. Here’s an excerpt from the original liner notes to this 1963 LP, courtesy of LeRoi Jones: Read more

“Charlie Yardbirdaronee”

 

My friend Dan called the other day. He’d just bought a copy of “Slim’s Jam”, the original 78 on the Bel-Tone label, featuring one of Charlie Parker’s early recorded solos recorded in December 1945 when he was in Los Angeles. Dan paid 40 bucks on eBay for the 78. I don’t have a copy of the 78, but I do have the cut on the original Savoy 12-inch LP, The Genius of Charlie Parker, Savoy MG-12014, so I put it on. This is a classic, of course, featuring Slim Gaillard introducing each of the musicians in his own inimitable style: “Here comes Zutty in the door with his brushes . . . This is a fun, Jack McVouty and his tenor.” And, inevitably, “Charlie Yardbirdaroonee,” who, as we soon learn, was “ havin’ a little reed trouble.”

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In Search of Barney Kessel Clef EP

Yesterday we answered some questions from readers. Today we have a question we would like to throw out to the community and see if anyone else has the answer. We’re starting to get a little action on the forums, so if you have questions like these please put them there and we can start building a clearinghouse of information for collectors.

 

On to today’s question, from Pete aka “Bongo Pete the Drummer”:

 “Hello. I have for years owned a 45-RPM EP on Clef Records called Introducing Barney Kessel and have never found any info on it. I also own the 10-inch LP Barney Kessel Volume 1 on Contemporary, which mentions in the liner notes that it is Barney’s first album – but that’s what it says on the back of the Clef 45. I know Barney just passed away on the 6th of this month. Do you know anything about this Clef EP? Read more

Infinity Records on Long Island — A Favorite

Riffs

 

            Went to my favorite local record store the other day, Infinity Records on Long Island, and walked away with some nice things. Joey, the owner, always seems to be able to find nice jazz and he’s usually fair and reasonable with the prices. He also knows what he’s doing, unlike some dealers who rely on outmoded and outdated price guides and wind up dramatically overpricing records. Anyway, I hadn’t been to the store in a few weeks, so there was a lot of new stuff to choose from. Here are some of the morsels I bought: Read more

Quiet Kenny at a Bargain Price?

eBaying

Missed out on a few interesting items the past few days. In some cases the prices got a little too rich for my blood, in others I forgot to bid. My friend recommends buying Sniper software, which I plan to do today. I’ll let you know how it works out. Anyway, it was a busy weekend on eBay for some high-end collectibles. Here are some examples.

Kenny Dorham, Quiet Kenny, New Jazz 8225

This was an original pressing in M- condition, record and cover. Price: $787.

If you watch eBay very closely, your point of view can get distorted. Case in point: I look at this and wonder if the buyer got a bargain at $787. Here’s why: Last week the same item in virtually the same condition sold for $1,261. It’s hard to conceive of $787 for one record as a bargain, but the reality is that prices are set by the market, especially on eBay. Seeing this record sell twice in the past week breaks my heart. I had an original mint pressing of this LP, which I sold years ago for a fraction of these prices. I used the money partially to buy a boat. Two months later, the boat sank. To this day I’ve never been able to replace Quiet Kenny. Here are a few more examples of wild market swings. This weekend one dealer sold the following records for the following prices:

Dexter Gordon, Dexter Calling, Blue Note 4083. Record and cover were M-. Price: $395

Sonny Rollins, Moving Out, Prestige 7058. Also M-. Price: $295

Donald Byrd, The Cat Walk, Blue Note 4075. Also M-. Price: $325

Dexter Gordon, Doin’ Allright, Blue Note 4077. Also M-. Price: $510

Pretty hefty prices, right? Here’s what’s more remarkable: One of these was not an original pressing: The Rollins LP had the New Jersey label, not the New York label. Also of interest of the weekend: The very rare Jackie McLean record on Ad Lib was up for sale. The record was in G condition, the cover VG-. The bidding topped out at $588.75, but the record didn’t sell because it didn’t meet the dealer’s reserve price. This is another one of those records I sold years ago to buy that damn boat. Ugh! At Jazzcollector.com we keep an ongoing tally of collectible record prices on eBay. We update it at least once a week. Here’s a look at the latest prices. Here’s a look at the larger database.

Upcoming on eBay

There always seem to be items of interest on eBay. I fully believe that if you had enough money, time and interest, you could buy up the entire Blue Note and Prestige catalogues in near mint condition. Anyway, here are some of the items we’re watching over the next couple of days:

 John Coltrane, Giants Steps, Atlantic 1311. This is an original mono pressing with the bulls-eye logo. Last time I looked the price was $99. I recently bought a stereo copy with the bulls-eye logo for $50. This dealer also has a nice copy of Soultrain, Prestige 7142 and some other good items. After you look at Giant Steps click view seller’s other items to see what else he has.

 The dealer who sold Quiet Kenny also has some interesting items this week. He sold a bunch of original Blue Notes and Prestiges last week, all in beautiful condition. His next auction this week is Hank Mobley, Peckin’ Time, Blue Note 1574. The start price is $850. After you look at this, also check out his other items.

Here are a few more upcoming items to whet your appetite:

Bud Powell, The Scene Changes, Blue Note 4009

Ray Draper, Tuba Sounds, Prestige 7096

Serge Chaloff, Complete  Sessions, Mosaic 147

We can’t vouch for any of these dealers, but they all seem reputable and we’ve had successful dealings with some of them. In all cases, you should look and see what else they have for auction this week. It never hurts to look.

 

 

 

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