I couldn’t sleep again the other night so I went into my music room and started poring through the batch of 115 Downbeat and Metronome magazines I bought at the WFMU Record Show in New York last week. Most of the magazines are from the 1940s and 1950s, with a few Downbeats from the 1960s thrown in. I love these things because they give you a real view of the history of jazz as it was happening. I’m always surprised that so few people seem to be collecting the old magazines. It’s okay, because the prices are always reasonable and it would be nice if they stay that way. Anyway, over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some of the interesting items I find as I go through the magazines. Here are a few snippets: Read more
(This is the first in an occasional, sporadic and perhaps-never ending series of confessions by Al Perlman)
My name is Al. I’m a vinyl addict.
Last year, I thought I had it beaten. I had turned 50, quit my job and decided to move to a smaller house. It was time to downsize. No one really needs 12,000 records, right? I went through each record one by one and decided which would stay and which would go. I was ruthless. If a record wasn’t in nice condition it was Read more
One of the great things about selling the records on eBay is making contact with a wide group of people with varied experiences. One of the customers got into a riff about the late bassist and composer Charles Mingus, which brought me back 30 years, to the time when I was a young reporter for the Syracuse New Times and was asked to interview Mingus and review his concert a local club called Jabberwocky. I went through my files and dug up the article, from 1973, when I was just 20 years old. There’s something to be said for saving everything. Anyway, here it is, just the way it appeared 30 years ago, with just a couple of paragraphs deleted for brevity.
It’s always surprised me that jazz collectors seem to place only marginal value in autographed albums or other memorabilia. There are exceptions of course: A Charlie Parker signature on a contract or a Billie Holiday inscription on a book are extraordinarily rare collectibles that fetch a small fortune whenever they appear on eBay or on auction lists from dealers.
But my experience is that autographs don’t necessarily do much to enhance the value of a collectible. To test this, I recently did a search of completed auctions on eBay in the category of jazz using the key word “autographed.” The results confirmed my theory:
Sonny Stitt, The Complete Roost Sonny Stitt Studio Sessions, Mosaic Records MD9-208
By Al Perlman
I am an unabashed fan of Mosaic records. No company does a better job mining and repackaging the treasures of recorded jazz. From Mosaic’s beginnings in 1983 the company has focused on producing comprehensive boxed sets that document periods or styles of music from either specific artists or record labels. From the comprehensive liner notes to the annotated discographies to the intricate remastering of the original recordings, each set is a gem.
What I also appreciate as a Jazz Collector is that the Mosaic releases have always represented a great investment: The company produces limited editions of all its releases (with one or two exceptions) and once the designated number of copies are sold, that’s it, no more are released. This has created a strong Read more
Jazz vinyl dealers at the WFMU Record Convention in New York last November were concerned. Traffic at the show was down and, worse, volume on E-Bay had declined fairly dramatically in the fall. A few dealers were anticipating the beginning of the end of the LP market, finally done in by CDs and other digital technologies. It turns out the pessimism was misguided. The market picked up shortly thereafter, hit another dip again in February and early March, Read more