West Coasting It in The Big Apple
Well, I never made it to the 43rd Annual Jazz Record Collector’s Bash yesterday. I hope those that did make it had a good time and perhaps found some jazz vinyl or shellac gems. Instead, I wound up reorganizing the records in my New York apartment. Don’t ask. There was no need to reorganize, I just enjoy doing it. It gives me a chance to re-explore what I have and discover records I either forgot I owned or purchased or, for some reason, never got around to putting on the turntable. Yesterday, the record that wound up going on the turntable for the first time was Richie Kamuca Quartet on Mode, Mode LP 102. No idea why I chose this because Kamuca is not someone I’ve really listened closely to very often. Turns out to be an excellent record, with Carl Perkins on piano, Leroy Vinnegar on bass and Stan Level on drums, recorded in June 1957 in Hollywood.
Kamuca is a very bold and confident player in the Pres/Zoot/Getz mold and, on this record, is especially strong on the ballads and mid-tempo numbers, particularly “Nevertheless” and “What’s New.” I can’t say I was surprised at the quality of his playing, because he’s always been respected by people that I respect. I just never took the time to listen closely. I was somewhat surprised at the quality of the recording on the album, which is excellent. I need to take the time to listen to more records on the Mode label to see if this quality was consistent across the label. Or perhaps our readers will have their own experiences and observations to share. A quick search tells me this record in M- condition, as my copy is, will sell in the range of $300 o $400. Now that I’ve given it a careful listen, I can say pretty clearly that if/when I begin selling off my collection, this will likely be one that stays with me. I can also trace when I purchased this record: It was from the Bruce M. West collection in Baltimore, circa November 2013. I can tell from the distinctive date etched in the upper left hand corner on the back. Kind of a nice way to keep track of the amazing records I acquired in that collection.
Staying on the West Coast, and catching up on a previous jazz record on eBay, I was fairly shocked to see the final price on the Jack Sheldon Quartet Jazz-West record were were watching. When we wrote about the record (Listings and Musings on Rare Jazz Vinyl), it was in the $200 price range, and we kind of assumed it would end up at perhaps $400 or so. We were wrong. Jack Sheldon, welcome to the $1,000 bin. The record wound up selling for $1,111 with 13 bids and 6 bidders. Wow. I do not own an original pressing of this record, but I do own a reissue, which is in The Berkshires and which I will also put on my turntable this week. It’s definitely fun newly discovering or rediscovering old music on records that are already in your own collection, yes? Perhaps we should all go through a reorganizing exercise every once in a while.