I see there was a mention in the previous post of the impending closing of the Jazz Record Mart in Chicago. Thought it is worth having a separate post if people choose to comment. I had some great experiences at that store. I’m sure I’ve told the story here before, but let me tell it again. Back in the mid-1980s I would go to Chicago fairly often on business and I would typically stay at the Hilton on Grand Avenue. It was just a short walk to the Jazz Record Mart and I always made sure I had extra time to do some record shopping. I think it was the first time I was there, I was looking through the rows of LPs when I noticed that there were also 78s on bottom shelves. I got down on the floor and began looking through the 78s and, to my great pleasure and surprise, there were hundreds of Prestige 78s — all of which looked like they were old store stock and had never been played. I started pulling them out, one after another after another after another. Pretty soon I must have had at least 60 Prestige 78s in various piles next to me on the floor. Read more
I had another one of those fortunate coincidences yesterday that sometimes seem to cause some sort of envy around here, but which I shall share nonetheless. So I am up at my home in The Berkshires, and The Lovely Mrs. JC works in Manhattan and sometimes she takes the train up and I meet her at the station in Hudson, N.Y., about an hour from our home. And yesterday she was arriving at 6:30 but I decided to leave a bit early because there is a major construction project along the way and I didn’t want to be delayed, anxious to see her and all that. But there was no traffic and I made it to Hudson with about 15 minutes to spare and I know that there’s a record store in Hudson and as I was driving past it I figured, OK, if I can find a parking spot in front, I’ll go in. And there, of course, was a spot right in front, so it was no hassle. Now, I’ve been to this store several times before and I have never purchased anything. They have come vintage jazz and their prices are fair, but they aren’t bargain prices by any means. Except . . . Read more
Did you know that today was, we kid you not, Record Store Day here in the states and, apparently, internationally as well? I didn’t know this until somebody sent me this link of depressing photos of record store closings. In any case, the idea is to patronize your favorite record stores so they can ostensibly avoid being on the next list of depressing photos of record store closings. We endorse the message and the concept wholeheartedly and, if we can, we will do our part by visiting one of the record stores participating in the venture. You should check out the site. There are quite a few stores participating in the celebration — perhaps some you’ve never even heard of — and some quotes and other stuff about record stores. I, for one, really miss many of my old favorite record stores and it would be a sad day indeed if we were not able to walk into a store and see bins and bins of used jazz vinyl, hoping to find that one Blue Note or Prestige gem hidden among the rest.
I’m out in San Francisco for a couple of days and I had a couple of hours to kill so I checked out a record store in Redwood City, The Record Man. It was an interesting experience and probably a shop you want to check out if you’re here, although I wound up not purchasing anything. I’d say the jazz inventory at this store is the largest I’ve seen anywhere, shelves and shelves of records and you get the feeling there’s even more where that came from. You need a ladder, which they provide, and some stamina to go through the records. There’s a lot of stuff, which means a lot of stuff to wade through, but there are also collectibles buried within, although I didn’t unearth any rare Blue Notes or Prestiges. I did find a few nice Verves I was interested in and a couple of vocal records. One of the challenges is that none of the records is priced, so whatever you pick out you don’t know how much it is going to cost you until you go to the counter. There the owner, Gary, who was quite warm and chatty, goes through a process of looking up recent prices from Popsike, supplemented with a Goldmine Price Guide. I suggested he also check out the Jazz Collector Price Guide for pricing information, and perhaps he will. In any case, I brought a small batch of records
The other day we mentioned the idea of posting guides to record stores in various cities to help traveling jazz collectors all over the world. Our first response is from Maarten Kools with this guide to shopping for jazz vinyl in Amsterdam and nearby environs. Enjoy.