A Scratch Is A Scratch Is A Scratch

In the Jazz Collector newsletter a few issues back, we asked readers to give advice to eBay sellers. Here’s a comment from one of our subscribers: “I have some advice concerning scratches. Too often the word ‘mark’ is used as a catch-all for scuffs and scratches and whatever. If a scratch is present, call it a scratch. Don’t take if for granted that a non-feelable scratch is inaudible. Often a very thin non-feelable scratch is audible. I even own a few records with very feelable scratches that are actually inaudible. Nothing takes the place of play-grading whenever possible. Also, the definition of a scratch as one that ‘plays through fine’ can mean different things to different people. Some might assume it is completely inaudible, yet it could pop noticeably for a minute. All the seller meant was that it doesn’t skip. Being more precise can result in fewer misunderstandings.” – Elliot Forman

The Bird and Diz Discovery

Three friends called on Monday to ask if I’d seen the article in Sunday’s New York Times about the discovery of the concert by Bird and Diz at Town Hall in New York from June 22, 1945.  Check it out here: Bird Lives! The Birth of Bebop, Captured on Disc. So I get the calls on Monday, rush home, read the article and then head out to my local Tower Records to pick up the CD. Alas, no CD. Also, no CD at Borders, Barnes & Noble or Best Buy.  So I ordered on Amazon. Still waiting for delivery. Which is a roundabout way of saying that I’m delaying the next newsletter a week, till I get back from vacation and have a chance to listen to this CD so I can share my thoughts with you.  I’ve got plenty of other stuff to write about, plus an updated Price Guide, so stay tuned on August 15. I’ll be offline till then, traveling in Europe. Have fun and happy record hunting.  – Al

An Urgent Call for Help For Michael Brecker

I received the following urgent email from a friend the other day:

My brother-in-law is Michael Brecker.  He is 56 years old, a world famous jazz musician and 11-time Grammy winner but none of that matters now.  Please read the email below as it is a question of life or death.  Also, if you could please send this to everyone on your contact list, I would be so very grateful as would our whole family. Read more

Reflections From Sonny Rollins, Part 2

Yesterday we offered a quote from an interview by Joe Goldberg with Sonny Rollins from Downbeat August 26, 1965. Here’s a second quote from the same article.

 “The thing to do is to work on myself, so I can play me. The audience can tell that. I remember one night, on the first tune, something went wrong with the rhythm section I was working with. They weren’t together at all, not with me, not with each other. We were playing Lover, I think, and there was this shambles behind me, and all I was trying to do was keep things from falling apart. I was playing as hard as I could, but I couldn’t get anything going; I didn’t play a thing. Finally we got through it, and I’ve never heard an audience applaud like that. I thought about it later, and I decided that they felt how hard I was trying, and they responded to that. It’s the same thing when an audience is talking and drinking while you’re playing. It’s a challenge to make them stop and listen. You can do it with tricks, but I’ve learned that it’s better to do it by playing something you really mean. Then they’ll listen. I can usually accomplish that, when I try.”

Reflections From Sonny Rollins, 1965

I must admit, I’m putting a lot of time into my regular gig these days, and not spending too much on eBay. So, this morning, looking for something quick and simple to write, I came upon an old Downbeat from August 26, 1965, with a cover story titled: “The Further Adventures of Sonny Rollins: A revealing conversation with the controversial tenor saxophonist, by Joe Goldberg.”


Without doing major analysis, I will offer a couple of revealing quotes: One today and one tomorrow. Here’s today’s:


“The average Joe knows just as much as I do – he knows more than I do. I’m the average Joe, and I think people recognize that. That’s why I play standards. Everybody knows Stardust. These guys who play only their own tunes, they can cover up a lot of things, but if you play the melody of Stardust, everybody can tell whether you’re doing it right or not. I’ve called tunes like that to guys who didn’t know them. How can you call yourself a professional musician if you don’t know all those songs?”

Grading and Guarantees on eBay

In our last couple of newsletters we’ve been talking about buying and selling records on eBay. Here’s a response from one of our readers about grading: “As a ‘Dining Room Table’ guy dealing records on eBay, I find grading to be the hardest thing I do. The first issue is that it is very difficult to do anything other than visual grading when you are posting a hundred or so LPs each week. The more critical problem is that condition is in the ear of the beholder. Read more

Advice to Sellers on Ebay

Jazz Collector Newsletter, July 2005

Welcome to Jazz Collector. We’ve been very good about updating the web site every day, so if you haven’t been visiting, please take a look: There’s been some interesting discussion and we’ve been watching some nice items on eBay. Speaking of eBay, as we often do, we start this newsletter with advice to sellers, which we hope will generate some reader response. We also have our usual assortment of upcoming items, some new LPs in our Price Guides and an all-time favorite music clip.

I was recently talking to a subscriber who is interested in selling his collection on eBay as a retirement business. Here’s the main advice I gave him:

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More on the Great eBay Debate

Jazz Collector Newsletter, June 2002


We have some positive changes coming at Jazz Collector. We’re updating the Jazzcollector.com Web site and starting Monday we’ll be posting new items each weekday. Plus, we’ll be giving away free collectibles from the site periodically. Finally, we’re going to post more articles and commentaries from readers and increase activity on the site’s Forum. The hope is to create a hub for the Jazz Collector community, so please use the site and offer up any suggestions. The site upgrade won’t affect the newsletter, which will still come out once a month. We have more than 800 subscribers now and the roster keeps growing. Obviously, jazz vinyl is alive and well.

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“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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Infinity Records on Long Island — A Favorite



            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

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