One Man’s Junk; Another Man’s Treasure

rp_CDs-copy-1024x517.jpgYou’re really not going to believe what happened to me yesterday. I’m up at my house in The Berkshires and we were hosting some friends for brunch. I did some cleanup in the morning and decided at the last-minute that I would have to go to the town dump to get rid of some garbage before I guests arrived. So I piled some garbage into the car, loaded my dog Marty onto the front seat and headed for the dump. In our local town here, there’s a small shack at the dump where people get rid of stuff they don’t want so that others who may be interested can just take it, free. They call it a swap shop and, occasionally, I’ve found some odds and ends in there, a couple of records, some decent speakers, nothing special. Yesterday, because I was in a bit of a hurry, I wasn’t even going to check, but it only takes a minute and it’s hard to resist. You never know what’s going to be there.

So I go in and look down and right in front of me there are four boxes filled with CDs. I could see right off the bat that one of them was an Impulse, so I was thinking, “jazz?” Then I looked to the right. The sight was unmistakable, the black boxes, the classic simple typeface, the photo of Hank Mobley holding his tenor. There was a pile of Mosaic boxed sets. Then, another glance to the right. A crate with several more Mosaics, plus, clearly, the teal boxed set of the Bill Evans Complete Riverside Recordings. All just sitting there on the floor.

I sought out the woman who keeps the place neat and is sort of a manager. I said, “Can I take these?” “Of course,” she replied. “That’s what they’re here for.” Then she added, “You know you’re pretty lucky. Somebody dropped those off about five minutes before you got here.”

I felt the familiar rush of adrenaline surging through my body. These were all CDs, no vinyl, but still, Mosaic boxed sets and who knows what else. I quickly grabbed the Mosaics and the Evans set and loaded them into the car, and told Marty the dog to relax, we may be here for a while. Then I went back to the shack, got down on the floor and started wading through hundreds of CDs. There were more boxed sets: Ella in Hollywood, The Mosaic Select Art Pepper, the Complete Coltrane on Impulse. Plus many, many more CDs. I thought it impolite to just take them all home, so I went through the whole batch, which wasn’t so easy since I thought I was just going to the dump and didn’t even bother taking my glasses.

All in all, there were 11 Mosaic boxes, the Evans, and probably 75-100 more CDs. Free. They are sitting in my office here in the country as I write this. I’m hoping to go through them later to see what I have and I’ll do another post, later today or tomorrow morning.

Oh, yes. And I’m heading back to the dump as soon as they open. Maybe the same guy decided to get rid of his vinyl today.


  • Even on CD, that’s a helluva score. Congrats!

    Don’t you just love it when life throws you a little treat?

  • Wow, what a story.

  • That’s amazing Al, but they were all CDs? The Mosaic boxes look like records to me…?

  • Gregory the Fish

    your luck never ceases to amaze me, al. what sort of voodoo do you practice?

  • Gregory the Fish

    rich: the mosaic sets are all packaged that way. it will be three jewel cases in a triangle pattern inside an LP-shaped box, i reckon.

  • the luck goes on and on and on!!!!…there again you make your own luck, gotta be in it to wing it.
    well don Al!

  • That Ella Twelve Nights in Hollywood box alone was worth the “dump-ster dive” Al !!! I recall discussing this one with you upon it’s initial release, and it quickly became a favorite of my live boxsets. The hardest part is deciding which set to play… Enjoy the first listen, garenteed it will be on regular rotation for awhile. Congrats on another great score !

  • Sorry Al, correction… That last one was supposed to read “dump-ster drive” (Damn this predictive text…)

  • Rich – the Mosiac CD boxes look very similar to the vinyl sets. I was looking through a jazz record collection a few years ago (all ’70s and ’80s reissues, so no good Al-like story), but saw a shelf of the Mosiac sets, so was excited that there may be some of the good ones and redeem my trip. Then I picked them up, and felt (and saw) that they were almost all CD sets. What a bummer They would be great to have for free, but not when you’re hoping for vinyl!

  • I always say good people get good karma. Enjoy!

  • Oh dear!
    I would be curious to know what Mosaic boxes they were apart from the Mobley (which is great) and Ellington?

  • Great story; great find. Insanely jealous (and joyful) as I am with all of Al’s “guess what I got?” stories.

  • If I didn’t know you were an honest man (and had pictures) I’d believe you’re putting us on. Who finds Mosaic sets at the dump (or really anywhere else)? More details, please.

  • Yeah, if there are any dupes, even on CD… I’m sure some of us would be interested!

  • “your luck never ceases to amaze me”
    Great reading this quote. Lit.

    It reminds me of the casual poker game you managed to scarf up with unsuspecting friends a few years back.

    As the years go by, it’s nice to know that some good things linger.

  • Quote: Daryl:Great story; great find. Insanely jealous (and joyful) as I am with all of Al’s “guess what I got?” stories.

    hear hear

  • Sounds like a great recycling operation!
    I imagine that someone was cleaning out someone else’s place and had the where-with-all to preserve the collection in a unique way.
    Perfect for a listening party in the beautiful berkshires.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *