Oh Little Label of Bethlehem

mal waldronThere’s so much nice jazz vinyl on eBay now my eyes are crossed just looking. This is the first one that caught my eye: Mal Waldron, Left Alone, Bethlehem 6045. This was an original pressing in M- condition for the record and probably VG+ for the cover. It just sold moments ago for $999.99. It’s funny, because I woke up this morning thinking about doing a post on the Bethlehem label, similar to the ones I did last week on Riverside and New Jazz. Then I realized I am not familiar enough with the entire Bethlehem catalogue to make a really strong list. Not only do I not own this Mal record, I also don’t own the Roland Kirk Third Dimension record, nor the Booker Ervin Book Cooks record, nor the Charlie Mariano Sextet record, nor, as earlier noted, the Jimmy Knepper record with Bill Evans. I am certainly Bethlehem-deprived in my collection. Of the ones that I know and like, my favorites are:

1. Charlie Rouse and Paul Quinichette, The Chase is On, Bethlehem 6021

2. Dexter Gordon, Daddy Plays the Horn, Bethlehem 36

3. Stan Levey, This Time The Drum’s on Me, Bethlehem 37

4. Stan Levey, Grand Stan, Bethlehem 71

5. Zoot Sims, Down Home, Bethlehem 6051

I’m sure I’m missing some great records on this list, particularly the Waldron record, but if I don’t own it I haven’t spent enough time with it to put it on my list. So I will leave it to you all to fill in the blanks.

As for all of other great records on eBay now, they will have to wait for the next post.


  • Charles Mingus – East Coasting

    Top 5 record for me!

  • I have the same problem – like and admire (and desire) many Bethlehem records, but am also “Bethlehem deprive.” Of those I have, I particularly enjoy
    Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue.
    Of those I want, top of the list is Book Cooks, followed closely by Booker Little and Friend, and Byrd & Pepper’s Motor City Scene. All very fine records.

  • I have the same problem. I only own 4 Bethlehem :
    Frank Rosolino, “I Play Trombone”
    Hal Mc Kusick, “East Coast Jazz”
    Howard Mc Ghee,”The return of h McG”
    and Bob Hardaway, “Lou’s Blue” (a 10 inches

    The only which really caught my hears is Bob Hardaway. Great music The other one are sleeping in their vaults. Tomorrow i will give them a spin.

  • Blakey: Hard Drive
    Mingus: Jazz Experiments of
    Mingus: Modern Jazz Symposium
    Connor Chris: This Is Chris
    McGhee Howard: Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries
    Winding Kai: K + J.J.
    Simone Nina: Little Girl Blue
    Pettiford Oscar Sextet
    Kirk Roland: 3rd Dimension
    Salvador Sal: Shades of
    Sims Zoot: Down Home
    Australian Jazz Quartet

  • Joining the Betlehem deprivation club. The label always seemed to offer less scope and excitement than some others but still has quite a few intriguing items I’d like to find out about. From the ones I do know I’d add these to Dexter Gordon and Mingus East Coasting: Herbie Nichols: Love, gloom, cash, love (although a notch below his Blue Note output) – Red Mitchell: Jam for you bread – Dick Whetmore (10 inch), because of the unusual Bob Zieff compositions recorded later by Chet Baker and Dick Twardzik.

  • i don’t own any betlehem, or it should be someting from John Zorn 😉

    But i do have Left Alone Revisited: Waldron with archie Shepp. 2005. Beautifull!!


  • I like all Mingus records on Bethlehem, East coasting being my favorite

  • My Bethlehems are Japanese.

    The Waldron is excellent, as are the Bookers (Little and Ervin). I have the Mariano, Nichols and Mingii on CD – excellent as well.

  • are JJ & K frowned on now?
    Still love there early stuff on Bethlehem (“It’s All Right With Me” got to be a classic)

  • Earl: I am afraid so. I offered the Bethlehem J + K a while ago for a low entry price. No bidders!
    But, frankly, these cooked-up sounds (two bones, two altos, tenors and what have you) are boring in the end. 2 Trumpets on Prestige is saved by the presence of a third horn.
    I heard J + K live in 1958, what thrilled me most was the bass playing of Oscar Pettiford.
    The best J + K is Savoy thanks to the presence of Mingus.

  • I like the J and K on Impulse with Bill Evans.

  • it is true that J & K releases do not create a great deal of interest recently (as do not Oscar Peterson, Errol garner, Brubeck, and JJ himself) – however you have to be careful about equating popularity with quality – for example, not all artists on Blue Note deserve the prices realized, largely based on the popularity of the label and not necessariy the quality of the artist in question

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