Rare Jazz on eBay: Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, Barney Wilen and More

Hello from the other side of the collectible jazz spectrum — well, there presumably are as many sides as there are collectors, so perhaps the “free” realm will work for now. I’ve had some interesting discussions recently with commenter DG Mono (who also has his own site and runs the forum at London Jazz Collector) regarding the appeal of avant-garde jazz and the idea that hardcore collectors of mainstream modern jazz don’t really get so into free music, while hardcore avant-garde collectors usually also collect Blue Notes and Prestige originals as well. Mark, another regular commenter, is an example of the latter and while my budget hits the “out” stuff first, I certainly enjoy hard bop and collect much of that music (although originals are often out of my price range). Like so many things it probably depends on the collector and nobody likes to be painted with a wide brush. It would be interesting to get fellow JC readers’ thoughts on this. Read more

A Lovely Jazz Vinyl Trio for Christmas

Just catching up with my eBay watch list after a lovely Christmas weekend here in the lovely Berkshires Mountains of Western Massachusetts, where I am looking out of my window at a frozen lake and a gorgeous winter scene straight out of Normal Rockwell. And, of course, there are also records to be perused and evaluated on eBay. Today we will start with The Paul Chambers Quintet, Blue Note 1564. This was kind of a weird pressing. It had the West 63rd Street address, the deep grooves and the Van Gelder stamp, but it did not have the ears. It seems like an early pressing to me, especially since this was not a record I ever saw issued once Liberty took over. It also had shrink wrap and a later “27 years of Blue Note” inner sleeve, which would place the issue at around 1966. In any case, this was listed in Ex condition for both the record and the cover. There was a start price of about $300 and there were no bidders, which surprised me.

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The Byrds is Coming

donald-byrdTraffic’s been a little light on Jazz Collector the past few days. In retrospect, perhaps the “When Your Smilin'” headline did not quite capture the zeitgeist of what is going on around here, and around the world. In any case, I have been able to return do eBay after a few days in a dark hole, figuratively of course, and I will once again look to jazz and my records for comfort and  safety and inspiration. This is a record I was watching with interest on eBay: Donald Byrd, Byrd in Paris Volume 1, Signature 1039. For some reason I had always thought of this as a MAJOR collectible, but I guess I was wrong. This copy was listed in VG+ condition for the record and the cover and, based on the seller’s more detailed description, this sounded reasonable. The record sold for $100. At first I thought the price was missing a zero, but then I went to Popsike and discovered that, while this was on the low side, it wasn’t completely unreasonable. Live and learn.

Then there was this weird Donald Byrd record:

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Tracking Obscure Jazz Vinyl on eBay

_12Greetings, fellow jazz collectors. It’s been a while since I’ve popped in other than the occasional comment, I guess, though most of my buying lately has been in shops, through friends, or on Discogs. I’ve been lucky enough to work with a few sellers on Discogs that have been exceedingly accurate and fair, which has resulted in adding a number of nice items to the racks that I never thought I’d see. That said, a significant aspect of this site is tracking jazz vinyl on eBay from the classic era, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out a couple of things.

As my collecting interests have generally been shifting to the other side of the pond(s) over the years, even in mainstream jazz, things like this record tend to be of interest. Moseholm directed the Radiojazzgruppen in Copenhagen, which performed weekly workshop broadcasts and occasionally toured elsewhere in Europe. The music was generally composed by members of the group and others in the local Copenhagen jazz scene – for example, trumpeters Hugh Steinmetz and Palle Mikkelborg, or reedist Sahib Shihab. This, their second LP for the Danish Debut imprint, was listed as VG for the vinyl and VG+ for the cover and one has to assume that the record itself was pretty well used (especially considering that Debut pressings aren’t the highest quality). It’s a very rare album in any condition and hopefully the buyer was satisfied at $350.

Speaking of Sahib Shihab, the same seller also had a copy of the reedist’s excellent Debut LP, Sahib’s Jazz Party, on offer. However, this was a bit of a mongrel with a Dutch Fontana cover (the original Debut had a sticker over the Fontana logo) and vinyl from a late 1960s German reissue, which was retitled Conversations. My assumption is that somebody had a nice cover with a broken or destroyed record and a coverless copy of the German pressing and mated them together. Nevertheless, with the vinyl in M- condition and the cover in VG++, the seller got a cool $710. I guess my Japanese repress will have to do.

One of my favorite US jazz records from the late 1960s is the second LP under tenor saxophonist Marzette Watts’ leadership. A student of trumpeter-composer Bill Dixon, Watts was also an abstract painter and later a recording engineer for many loft-jazz sessions in the 1970s. Dixon produced The Marzette Watts Ensemble for Savoy and conducted a rendition of his “Octobersong” that starts off the LP. The rest of the album features spirited small-group playing, not too ‘free,’ and a gorgeous version of “Lonely Woman” with lyrics written and sung by Patty Waters. Our friend nobbyknucks had one listed in M- condition for the record and VG– for the beautiful textured cover, which netted $315.

Hopefully everyone is finding records of interest out there and, just as importantly, squirrelling away time to listen to them!

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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Back in Jazz Vinyl Action

Walter Davis Jr Jazz VinylBack in action after some minor surgery last week. Feeling good and ready to roll with some jazz vinyl on ebay, starting with a couple of Blue Notes from the Jazz Collector Want List that both broke into the $1,000 bin: Walter Davis Jr., Davis Cup, Blue Note 4018. This was an original pressing that looked to be probably M- for the record and VG++ or VG+ for the cover. There were 15 bidders and the final price was $1,125. Then there was Cliff Jordan, Cliff Craft, Blue Note 1582. This was also an original West 63rd Street pressing. The record was listed as M- and the cover was VG++. There were 14 bidders for this one and the final price came in at $1,304. Our friend CeeDee sent us a note about this one, but we were already watching it:

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A Rare JAzz Vinyl Quartet

Tal Farlow Jazz VinylHere’s a nice 10-inch Blue Note you don’t see very often: Tal Farlow Quartet, Blue Note 5042. This is an original Lexington Avenue pressing. The seller describes the record as being in VG+ condition for both the record and the cover. The pictures of the record look horrendous. I assume that is just the flash, but as a seller, you’ve got to be more careful when posting pictures. This has a start price of $99 and there are no bidders. Not sure if that is a function of the start price being too high or the poor quality of the pictures. I’d like this record, but not sure I’d be willing to take the chance.

Here’s another one that appeals to me: Elmo Hope, Meditations, Prestige 7010. This is one of the few early Prestiges I don’t own. The record and cover are both in Ex condition, which translates to VG+ in my lingo. It’s an original New York yellow label. There’s shrink wrap and a price label, and I don’t quite know what to make of that because they weren’t using shrink wrap when the record first came out. Probably doesn’t mean anything. There are 10 bids, but it’s still only in the $100 range, which would be quite a bargain for this record. Of course, the price will go up, but by how much? We’ll see tomorrow.

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Less Than 50 Copies? Really??????

Ornette Coleman jazz vinyl on jazzcollector.comHere are some odds and ends from the jazz vinyl world on eBay, starting with Ornette Coleman, ESP 1006. This is an original pressing with the silkscreen cover. The record is listed in Ex+ condition, which I interpret to VG++ in the terms we use here at Jazz Collector. The start price is about $700 and so far there are no bids. What struck me about this listing were that the seller described it as a “holy grail” LP, which is a term I have come to detest after all these years watching eBay. The second thing that struck me was that the seller states as fact that there were less than 50 of these pressed. I find that hard to believe. I feel like I’ve seen at least 50 of these on eBay these past dozen or so years. I tend to doubt it’s the same 50 records going back and forth between collectors. Clifford would probably have a better sense of the veracity and reality behind this record, so please enlighten us when you get a chance.

This one looks appealing, particularly since I still don’t have an original pressing:

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Jazz Auctions on a Summery Day (in November)

Anos-l1600ther unseasonably warm day in New York – which, at least for me, makes it harder to stay inside after work with a nice whiskey and a stack of jazz records – but I suppose that is the direction we’re headed at this latitude. Meanwhile, here are a few of the things I’ve been watching on eBay (and in keeping with the ‘oddball’ directive):

First up, from our friend bullsite2000 in Italy, is this copy of Illumination! from the Elvin Jones-Jimmy Garrison Sextet. This was an original Impulse! mono pressing from 1963 and was listed as M- for both the record and the cover. It’s a really nice, albeit brief session with Prince Lasha, Sonny Simmons and Charles Davis on reeds and McCoy Tyner on piano. The feel is much more like a Lasha-Simmons date than the music that Jones and Garrison would record later for Impulse! and Blue Note. I picked up a copy about 20 years ago in similar condition for about $5. That’s far less than the whopping $228 it went for here; though we’ve noted the steady climb of Coltrane and Oliver Nelson Impulse! albums, it’s a little uncharacteristic to see these obscure, perhaps also-ran LPs reach similar heights.

The same seller also had a nice-looking example of Booker Ervin’s lone date as a leader for Savoy, Cookin’, which is an album I’ve never owned (though I would like to). I do have his co-leader LP with Bill Barron, The Hot Line, though it’s been a while since it’s been on deck. We’ve certainly seen original pressings of Ervin’s records on Bethlehem and Prestige do some wallet damage before, and the Savoy is seemingly rarer than any of those albums. While I like Ervin, I understand others’ criticism that his albums are relatively interchangeable – nevertheless, that didn’t stop someone from forking over nearly $500 for a copy that was probably VG++ for the record and M- for the cover.

From France, a seller was offering what appeared to be a pristine copy of one of my favorite records, pianist François Tusques’ first session as a leader, titled Free Jazz, on the small label Disques Mouloudji. It’s an excellent and actually rather tightly-arranged 1965 sextet featuring a fine crop of French modern jazz musicians. I thought about getting into the fray just to get a copy with the booklet (that brochure is impressive!), but the price was a little out of my range. From what I understand, only a few came with the brochure, which might’ve been a promotional addition. It ended up selling for $661 and I’m sure the buyer will be happy.

The same seller also had a nice-looking copy of Boston saxophonist Abdul-Hannan’s only recording, titled Awareness and privately released on his imprint The Third World. It’s the first appearance on disc of tenor saxophonist David S. Ware and was recorded in 1968 (with one track from ’71). It’s an interesting, albeit very low fidelity, album and one I’m happy to have in my collection. The record and hand-assembled cover were both probably in VG++ condition, and it sold for a respectable $386. These private-press jazz albums from the ’70s are pretty hard to find, and compared to the stratospheric prices on jazz records from a decade or so earlier, almost seem reasonable.

In any event, happy bidding and happier listening!

How Much is Shrink Wrap Worth? Plenty, It Seems

Herbie Hancock Jazz VinylI’m still here, haven’t left yet. Thanks to Clifford for filling in, but while I’m here I’ll strive to do at least a couple more posts. Here are a couple of items that came in from readers, starting with our friend CeeDee under the subject: “prices going up, up, up . . . Liberty!” with a link to Herbie Hancock, Empyrean Islands, Blue Note 4175. This was a clear Liberty pressing, no doubts. It was in VG++ condition for both the record and the cover, and the cover was also in shrink wrap (big deal, right?). The record sold for $300 and there were at least four bidders in on the action at the end. Is this a trend, Liberty Blue Notes selling for collectible prices?

This one came in from another reader, and I’m not quite sure why, but I’ll post it here anyway:

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