Have I ever mentioned that The Lovely Mrs. JC is a psychotherapist by profession? You’d think after 35 years of marriage to a shrink I’d have been somewhat cured of my vinyl obsession by now. Anyway, The Lovely Mrs. JC returned home from her practice that Monday evening and we sat down to have a quiet dinner and chat. We had many things to talk about and the record collection wasn’t foremost on her mind and, in fact, I had made such little light of the prospects for this collection that it seemed to have slipped her mind completely. So I had to bring it up.
“You know I saw that record collection today,” I said, quite casually.
“Oh, yeah,” she said. “Anything of interest?”
“Yes, it was pretty interesting,” I said.
We sat in silence for a few seconds.
“There’s a chance I may be buying it,” I finally said.
She stared at me in stunned disbelief.
I smiled a sheepish smile and held up three fingers.
Her eyes popped out of her head. “Three hundred records! How can you buy three hundred more records!”
A few weeks ago a woman sent me the following e-mail:
“I’m wondering if you can help me. My dad passed away suddenly in an accident. He left a huge jazz collection of approximately 2500+ vinyl albums. He died at 82 and was a jazz enthusiastic since his teens and his collection dates back to then. To his great disappointment I did not share his passion for jazz. I am interested in selling his collection. How can I go about finding its value? I’ve read some of the information on your blog and realize I need to consult an expert. Any guidance you can give would be greatly appreciated.”
I get emails like this fairly often now that I do Jazz Collector. They usually don’t turn out to be much. I generally look to help people over e-mail and my advice if they have anything collectible is to usually tell them to try to sell the records on eBay. I’m not necessarily looking to purchase collections: I’m still a collector and not a dealer and I have way more records than I have places to keep them. Some of you, Rudolf I’m sure, may even recall that I began a project several years ago to pare down my collection, which I grandly labeled The Great Jazz Vinyl Countdown. Needless to say that project is quite defunct.
I just logged onto eBay and as I was signing in this record was closing: Meet Oliver Nelson, New Jazz 8224. It was an original pressing with the purple label and deep grooves, featuring Kenny Dorham on trumpet. It looked to be in M- condition for the record and probably VG++ for the cover. The price was $157.50. I have an interest in this record because I was just looking at a copy in my apartment, where it is among a batch of original records I have just scored. There was a time, many of you will remember, when I was talking of scaling back my collecting and doing a Great Jazz Vinyl Countdown, but I still can’t seem to give up the habit — addiction? — of buying more records. This batch in front of me is quite cool. On the top is an original pressing of Cool Struttin’ by Sonny Clark and just below that is an original pressing of Soundin’ Off by Dizzy Reece. Someday soon I will share the story of this particular score but, in the meantime, I have some records to clean, including Meet Oliver Nelson on New Jazz, worth as much as $157.50.
In an earlier post, Rudolf poses the following statement and question: “Al announced the slimming down of his collection a while ago. But I don’t see anything else but buying records by the lot, ‘improving’ on quality, etc., etc. Al: I just would like an honest reply to my straightforward question (the lovely Mrs. JC is not tuned in, so your reply can be honest). The question: With how many albums has your collection grown since your slimming down action?”
I will answer the question directly and then go into some level of explanation. Since the launch of what I affectionately called The Great Jazz Vinyl Countdown almost exactly a year ago – September 29, 2009, if anyone would like to go back to the archives – I would say that my “collection” has increased by about 50 records, while the number of records in my house has grown by several hundred, at least.
So I went through this whole process of cataloguing my Blue Notes a few weeks ago. It was quite interesting and, if you’ve been following my adventures, you will recall that it led to (yet another) existential crisis. More on that later. For now: In going through my Blue Notes I came to the realization that some records I thought I owned as original pressings were not originals. This is fine, except for the ones that are blue label late pressing Blue Notes, of which, unfortunately, Jackie McClean, Bluesnik, Blue Note 4067, was one. This, I thought, was a record that needed to be replaced by a better copy — i.e., an earlier pressing that wouldn’t cause me to hang my head in disgust every time I looked at it. With a blue label Blue Note, no matter how good the record, I was never going to listen to it, period. The problem, however, is that Bluesnik is now selling
Tags: Jackie McLean
How do you place a value on an album like this: Sonny Rollins Quartet, Prestige 137? Here’s my story: I purchased a copy of this record about 25 years ago as part of a large collection. It is quite, quite rare, Sonny is one of my favorite artists and it has this great cover picture of him from the early 1950s with slicked-back hair and a wisp of a mustache. A real beauty, right? However, the copy I owned was in pretty poor shape and a few years ago I picked up a near mint copy on eBay for $200. Actually, it was advertised as near mint and it’s not near mint, but that’s another story. So I’ve been sitting with two copies of this record, one in poor shape, and as I’ve been trying to weed doubles out of my collection, I’ve put this one aside and avoided making a decision. For some reason, this week
Feb 12, 2010 The Great Jazz Vinyl Countdown
I was poring through my records the other day and stopped for a moment on this one: Max Roach Four Plays Charlie Parker, Mercury SR 80019. I’ve had this record for a while and haven’t listened to it in years, but it struck me as such: It features two of the great stalwarts of the Blue Note catalogue — Hank Mobley and Kenny Dorham — both in their primes; it has a great cover and a great concept. Yet, it is not really high on any list of collectible records and, in fact, we have never once even tagged it in the Jazz Collector Price Guide, which means we haven’t really seen it sell for a collectible price in the past seven years. And it struck me: What if this record, with this personnel, in this era — 1958 or so — had been issued on Blue Note? What would it be worth? Why is there such a profound difference between the value of a record like this, on the Mercury label, and a record with similar personnel in the same era from the Blue Note era? I think these are rhetorical questions, but I’m happy
Sometimes you forget to listen to great records, right? You have a limited amount of time to listen, and there are all the other great records, and then there are the other records that have never made it to your turntable and you figure they deserve a chance as well. And, what happens, at least to me, is that some of the great records get buried on the shelf and sometimes go years without being heard. So this week I’ve been going through my Blue Notes and I had about an hour yesterday to just sit and listen and I decided it was time to take one of those records off the shelf and put it on. The record I chose: Dexter Gordon, Doin’ All Right, Blue Note 4077. And I put it on, the first track, I Was Doing All Right, and I smiled instantly and said quietly to myself, “Oh, yeah.” Oh yeah, as in
Tags: Dexter Gordon
Friends, my name is Al and I am a vinyl addict. It is necessary for me to confess once again because I have had yet another setback. Remember my mission to pare down my collection, which I have labeled The Great Jazz Vinyl Countdown? Well, as part of that endeavor I decided it would be wise to take inventory of my records so that I would know what I actually have, in intimate detail: Record, condition, provenance, value. I had never actually done this before, so yesterday I set up a spreadsheet and began the process. I started, naturally, with the Blue Notes, the 1500 series, Blue Note 1501, Miles Davis Volume 1. I pulled the record off the shelf, looked at the record, cleaned it, typed the information into the spreadsheet, put it back on the shelf and then pulled the second record, Blue Note 1502, Miles Davis Volume 2. Same deal: Looked at the record, cleaned it, wrote it down, then moved on to the next record.
What a mistake.
I was moving along fine through the first eight records in the
This is a test of whether I am willing to cut close to the bone in this Jazz Vinyl Countdown upon which I have embarked. This is the record in question: Miles Davis, Early Miles, Prestige 7168. This is a yellow label pressing with the deep groove and RVG in the deadwax and it’s in very nice condition, at least VG++ on the vinyl. Plus it has a promo stamp on the back. So why is this record even in contention to be discarded? Well, the music was previous issued on 10-inch LPs and, more notably, on the 12-inch LP Miles Davis Plus Horns, Prestige 7025. I recently obtained a very nice original pressing of Miles Davis Plus Horns. So, the question I’m asking myself: Does that make Early Miles extraneous. In the old days, the answer would have been a clear NO WAY! Today, however
Tags: Miles Davis
I’m still doing my Jazz Vinyl Countdown: Selling more records, writing about them a bit less. However, I did make a couple of interesting decisions in the past couple of weeks I’d like to share. In the course of doing the Jazz Collector Price Guide I logged a copy of this record: Zoot Sims and Joe Newman, Lockin’ Horns, Rama 1003. It sold for $260 in near mint condition and had sold for more than $400 in the past. I happened to know I had a nice copy of this record, a promo, and I happened to know that I had not listened to it in 25 years, since I bought it. So the question was: Keep it or sell if for the bread. I listened to the record and it’s actually very nice. But, I thought to myself, would I ever listen to it again: Not likely. I have a lot of Zoot records that I prefer, so this one probably wouldn’t make it off the shelves. So I put it up on eBay with a start price of around $50, no reserve, and it sold for about $215. That was fine by me. The second recent incident involved a rare Blue Note and a higher price tag:
I was going through my records the other day and came up with this interesting discovery: This Savoy LP by Kenny Clarke featuring Cannonball Adderley was issued with two different covers. I discovered this accidentally because I had one filed under Cannonball and the other under Clarke. The one with the better cover — ‘better” in terms of a great picture on the front — is the one entitled Bohemia After Dark Featuring Cannonball. The other one is also titled Bohemia After Dark, but that’s just on the back cover: The front cover just lists it as The Jazz Corner of The Villiage, Cafe Bohemia, Featuring Kenny Clarke. Both are Savoy 12017 and both have the same tracks and liner notes. If I had to guess which was the first pressing, I would have said the second one, the one
No, I am not thinking about getting rid of one of my all-time favorite records. No, this is a question about what to do with multiple copies. As noted in the headline, the record is: John Coltrane, Ballads, Impulse 32. I have had two original pressings of this record, one a mono and one a stereo. To me, this makes sense. But recently I purchased a second stereo copy of the record, this one a reissue. I have to be honest. The reissue sounds as good as the original. So I’m going to sell my original stereo pressing, and I’m going to first offer it here at the Jazz Collector site. It’s not a high-end collectible like Blue Train, but it’s a wonderful record, beautiful and romantic with a great selection of songs. It features Trane with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones.
Tags: John Coltrane
This one falls into the “if” category:
If it were an original pressing . . .
If it were mono . . .
If it were in mint condition . . .
If it didn’t have a corner clip . . .
If it had a pianist instead of an organist . . .
It it had all or perhaps even any of those characteristics . . .
Tags: Lou Donaldson
I realized the other day I may have a problem with this Great Jazz Vinyl Countdown. And that problem has to do with Ella Fitzgerald. I realized this when I had a bit of free time with the lovely Mrs. JC and she asked me to put on some music. “How about something nice?” she said. Something nice, in her eyes, is usually a nice jazz vocal, or perhaps a Stan Getz on Verve, or Bill Evans Waltz For Debby. Anyway, I put on this LP, Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Song Book, Verve 4001-02, and Mrs. JC was quite pleased, as was I. This is Ella’s first songbook effort and you will not find too many records better than this and there is no doubt about it garnering a place in the top 1,000. What I realized when I put the vinyl on the turntable, however, is this:
Oct 16, 2009 The Great Jazz Vinyl Countdown
This is the record: Saxes, Inc., Warner Brothers 1336. It is not a major collectible and it started out with two strikes against it. Strike one — it doesn’t have a leader, which means it has to be filed under “Various” or “Miscellaneous” in the collection and those are always the records that get put away where you can’t reach them or see them and you wind up never listening to them. Strike two — it’s one of these “arranged” LPs with a lot of emphasis on charts and less on playing. Anyway, despite starting off with two strikes, this record, surprisingly, makes the cut and will be in the final 1,000. It’s actually an awesome record with great playing and great arrangements that really swing. It starts
Oct 15, 2009 The Great Jazz Vinyl Countdown
I have a feeling I may regret this one: It’s more an emotional decision than a rational one. This is the record: Lee Konitz Jazz at Storyville, Storyville Records PA 6002. I’ve had this in my collection for years and it was one of those that got lost in the shuffle. I’ve had it so long, I always assumed it was an original pressing. So I was going through my records the other day and came across this one and decided to check it out. To my surprise, my copy is not an original. It is a Japanese pressing. Hmmm. Anyway, I was disappointed and I put the record on and it sounds good and Konitz’s playing is terrific, but I think I’m letting this one go. Everytime I look at it I’ll be reminded of my disappointment. No one ever said jazz collectors were rational.
Like the compulsive nut that I am, I spent yesterday going through the records I purchased the other night. Not just going through the records, but doing a major record reorganization so I could welcome these records to their new home. however transient it may be. Anyway, I was hoping to get some upgrades out of this collection and here’s one: Lee Morgan, The Cooker, Blue Note 1578. Sad to say, I do not own an original copy of this record. Sad because original copies are selling for nearly $500 on eBay these days. It also shows how difficult it was to find original pressings prior to eBay. I’ve been seeking jazz records for close to 40 years and, if I had ever seen one of these at a decent price in a record store, I would certainly have purchased it. Which means, it never happened. Scary. In this case
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So much for whittling down my collection. Last night, I bought another batch of albums, about 300 altogether. So, let’s see: Since I started this Great Jazz Vinyl Countdown two weeks ago, I’ve decided to sell 12 records. In that same period, I’ve managed to purchase 300 records, for a net gain of 288 records. At the rate I’m going, in three years I’ll have a half a million records and I’ll be living in a straitjacket. In any case, there is a story behind the purchase of these records, which I will tell. A couple of weeks ago I accompanied the lovely Mrs. Jazz Collector to a party of her colleagues. She told me there would be many other spouses there. She was wrong: There were three others, and two of them fell asleep before the hors d’oeuvres were served. So that left me and another guy. We started chatting. I told him about Jazz Collector. “Really,” he said. “I’m moving to California in two weeks and I was thinking about selling my jazz collection.” “Really,” I said. “This could be
Tags: Jazz Vinyl Countdown
We had mentioned seeing this record on eBay the other day: Jackie McLean Consequence, Blue Note King GFX-8172. This is a 1965 record that was not issued in the United States and was, in fact, issued on this Japanese pressing for the first time. It’s a nice record featuring Jackie with Lee Morgan, Harold Mabern, Herbie Lewis, Billy Higgins. The first track, Bluesanova, is slightly Sidewinder-like and there’s a nice medium tempo version of My Old Flame. We didn’t realize it was a valuable collectible until we saw the copy on eBay at more than $100: It eventually sold for $185.50. That copy was in M- condition for both the record and the cover. Our copy is M- for the vinyl and VG++ for the cover (there’s a little wear around the edges). In any case, we are going to try something a little different with this record: We are going to
This is one of our favorite records: Benny Golson, The Modern Touch, Riverside 256. It is a very nice sextet recording from 1957 with an all-star lineup: Kenny Dorham on trumpet; Golson on tenor; JJ Johnson on trombone; Wynton Kelly on piano; Paul Chambers on bass, Max Roach on drums. Love Dorham’s playing on this LP, JJ as well, and the arrangements are solid. It’s also one of those records on which both sides are equally good and listenable. We highly recommend it and we know we are going to keep it in our collection. The issue, however, is this: We have both an original pressing of this record on Riverside as well as a reissue on Jazzland: Reunion, Jazzland 85. The reissue is in a little bit better condition and, to be honest, they both sound about the same to us on our equipment. So which to keep, the one in better condition or the original?
Oct 11, 2009 The Great Jazz Vinyl Countdown
This is one that is quite similar to the Seldon Powell Roost jazz vinyl LP we put up yesterday: Paul Gonsalves, Cookin’, Argo 626. It is also a quite rare and collectible record in nice condition by a tenor player who is excellent but not quite in the same category as the greats. This is also a record that has sold for more than $200 in the Jazz Collector Price Guide. As well, it is a record for which we have no particular attachment: We purchased it a couple of years ago as part of a small collection. This has a price tag on it and it also has a better cover than the Seldon Powell: An action picture of Gonsalves and the “Daddy-O Presents” tag, which makes it quite interesting. Nice package and a nice record.
Oct 10, 2009 The Great Jazz Vinyl Countdown
Here’s the record: Seldon Powell Sextet, Roost 2220. We had this one in a pile to sell. Why: Well, we have no personal attachment to the record, can’t even remember when or where we bought it. We had never listened to it despite owning it for several years. Seldon Powell is a nice tenor player, but, face it, he’s not Sonny Rollins or John Coltrane. The sidemen are good, but nothing special: Jimmy Cleveland, Freddie Green, Aaron Bell, Roland Hanna, Osie and Gus Johnson. Most importantly, this is a record that is quite collectible and could fetch a fair price. In the Jazz Collector Price Guide we’ve seen it sell for more than $200. So, we put it on the turntable this morning with the expectation that we would most likely be selling this record on eBay. So, what’s the verdict?
When people ask me about my record collection or even my taste in jazz, I often kid around and tell them it ends in 1964. There is quite a bit of truth in that, however. My taste generally runs to bop and post-bop and, as I’m getting older, I’m finding it going more backwards into mainstream jazz than towards anything current. Anyway, this is a roundabout way of saying I recently picked up a bunch of albums on the Impulse label and am in the throes of deciding what to keep and what to sell. I put this one on the turntable yesterday: Archie Shepp, Fire Music, Impulse 86. It seemed promising: A 1965 LP with tracks such as Prelude to a Kiss and The Girl From Ipanema. The record is in beautiful condition and I’m sure it is a classic of its genre. But
Tags: Archie Shepp
Oct 7, 2009 The Great Jazz Vinyl Countdown
We were cleaning this record yesterday to put it up on eBay: The Chico Hamilton Quintet With Strings Attached, Warner Brothers 1245. It is an original pressing in pretty nice condition. It was in a pile of records to sell. It was not one I was even considering keeping, so it wasn’t even going to get a mention in the Jazz Vinyl Countdown. Then I looked at the liner notes, where it mentions a “newcomer” on reeds by the name of Eric Dolphy. I had forgotten about Dolphy getting started with Hamilton. Anyway, I decided to give this record a second chance. I put it on the turntable. Quite interesting Dolphy — he plays mostly straight, but you can absolutely hear the direction he will head towards in the next few years. So, after listening to several tracks, what’s the verdict?