I got up early on this beautiful Sunday morning, and got The Lovely Mrs. JC up early as well, to go out for a nice walk and breakfast and an 11 a.m. showing of the Lee Morgan documentary, “I Called Him Morgan” at the Film Society at Lincoln Center. So we had our stroll and our meal and were in the theater by 11 sharp and we sat through about 10 minutes of previews and were settled in nicely and the film started and it was out of focus. I mean, really out of focus. So I went to management and told them and, yada yada yada, we didn’t see the movie. They said it might be ready for the 3 p.m. screening, but they could not make any promises. We hung out for a bit and had a nice conversation with three other disappointed jazz lovers, and then took the stroll back home. I don’t think we are going back today: Instead, I may try to sneak off from work tomorrow morning. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, I’ll have some updates for you this week on the John Coltrane documentary Chasing Trane. Stay tuned.
Clearing out my inbox one more time, starting with a note from our friend CeeDee with a link to two eBay auctions. First up is Kenny Dorham, Una Mas, Blue Note 4127. This was an original New York pressing with the ear and the Van Gelder stamp. This was listed in M- condition for the record and the cover. Why did CeeDee send this to us? I would guess the final price, which was $810. That’s the highest price we’ve ever seen for Una Mas, confirmed by a peek over at Popsike. The second link from CeeDee seems to be an aberration: JR Monterose, The Message, Jaro 8004. This was a Fresh Sounds reissue that would typically sell for about $10 or $20. This one sold for $182.50 and it wasn’t even in mint condition. The seller doesn’t mention that it is a reissue in the listing, but the pictures clearly show that it is. IMHO, the buyer was either careless or clueless or perhaps a combination of the two. In any case, that is quite a tidy sum for a reissue, no? Read more
Here are a few items from our email inbox, starting with a note from a producer of a planned documentary about the pianist Junior Mance. It seems a lot of the film’s focus will be on Mance’s relationship with his wife Gloria, his career and his battle with dementia. I took a look at the trailer and it definitely seems a worthwhile project. In addition to posting this comment, I made a contribution to the Kickstarter campaign to support the movie. I first became aware of Mance on his early albums as a sideman with Cannonball Adderley and Johnny Griffin/Lockjaw Davis. He always had a big soulful sound, somewhat underrated as both a soloist and as a sideman, IMHO. It would be nice to see a documentary tribute to his life and work. Speaking of which, I am hoping to see the Lee Morgan documentary this weekend and I’ll have an update soon on the Coltrane documentary “Chasing Trane” next week since the movie is opening soon in New York.
I’d like to follow up on some of the auctions we’ve been watching, starting with this one, which I still find kind of strange: Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, A Night in Tunisia, Vik 1115. This was an original pressing listed in Ex condition for the record and the cover. I’ve never really covered it before as a collectible, but now I will, at least based on the final price tag, which was $324.45. I had promised to listen to a copy, but I realized my body is in the city and my record is in the country. Given the era, the personnel and the repertoire I’m sure it’s a great record. And, of course, there is the only recording in history of the infamous Ferris Benda, aka Jackie McLean.
The Jazz Record Center had an auction last week and I was keeping tabs on a few of their records, including: Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’, Blue Note 1588. This was an original pressing with a weird variation: Both sides had he same label (Side 2). To me that would diminish the value, not sure why because the music is the same, but it just would. This one looked to be in M- condition for the record and probably VG++ for the cover. The final price was $2,500, so perhaps the label aberration effected the price, since we’ve often seen this record sell for more than $3,000 and occasionally more than $5,000. It used to be that the Jazz Record Center would get a premium on its records because of it’s reputation, but I find that is no longer the case. I had thought, perhaps, it was because they didn’t take Pay Pal, but now I notice that they do take Pay Pal. The action also included a bunch of 10-inch Blue Notes, which I love, including:
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
I tend to be fairly knowledgeable when it comes to jazz records, so it is always a pleasant surprise when I find something brand new to me. Case in point: Ahmad Jamal Plays, Parrot Records 55-245. It was surprising to see any Ahmad Jamal record fetching a collectible price, let alone one I had never seen from a label I had never heard of. A quick Google search tells us that Parrot Records was in existence only from 1953 to 1956 and mostly issued 78s and 45s. In fact, according to Wikipedia, this Jamal record was the only 12-inch LP issued by the label. This copy is listed in VG++ or M- condition for the record and G+ or VG- for the cover. There is one bid at $300 and the auction closes in a few hours.
I was watching some early Blue Notes on eBay, including the very first 12-inch LP in the 1500 series: Miles Davis, Volume 1, Blue Note 1501. This was an original Lexington Avenue pressing with the deep grooves, flat edge, frame cover and all of the other indicators of a first pressing. The record and cover were both in M- condition. Quite a gem, it seems. The final price was $622.89. I haven’t updated the Jazz Collector Price Guide in quite a while, but I do remember seeing a copy of this record sell for more than $1,000 at one time, but that seemed to be the exception rather than the rule. Popsike shows two copies selling for more than $1,000. I would assume that most collectors would treasure these albums, but for some reason there’s something that feels “less original” about the albums whose content was original released on 78 or 1-inch LP. They also don’t sound as well as the later 12-inch records produced for the vinyl format, do they?
Here’s one you don’t see very often. In fact, I don’t recall every writing about this record before: Wade Legge, New Faces, New Sounds, Blue Note 5031. This is an original Lexington Avenue 10-inch pressing. The record and cover are both listed in Ex condition by a very reputable seller. The bidding is in the $280 range with about four days left on the auction. Wade Legge was not recorded very often and died young, at just 29 years of age. I just did a Google search and, it turns out, with shared the same birthday. I am a big fan of his playing on a couple of Sonny Rollins albums, Rollins Plays for Bird and Sonny Boy. I didn’t recall that he was on the Charles Mingus Tonight at Noon Album, so I will have to go back and listen to that, as well as a couple of others. I highly doubt that I will be getting the 10-inch Blue Note record anytime soon, given that I never see it and typically avoid paying top dollar on eBay.
This is also one I don’t see very often, but I’ve never viewed it as a record that was particularly favored by collectors:
I plan on deleting the previous post this weekend, so if you want to comment on it speak now or forever hold your peace. Meanwhile, back to the real world, starting with one of the all time classics: John Coltrane, A Love Supreme, Impulse A-77. This is an original mono pressing that looks to be in perhaps M- condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. It sold for $435. I own both a mono and stereo pressing of A Love Supreme and I’ve never actually sat down and compared the two. Typically, I prefer mono pressings. For those of you out there who care about these things, which version do you find preferable?
Here’s a copy of Coltrane’s first album as a leader: Coltrane/Prestige 7105. This was an original New York yellow label pressing that looked to be in VG+ condition for the record and the cover. It sold for $540.