Number One: I had cousins visiting from England. One of them had never been to New York before. He’s a musician and wanted to see some music. It was a Monday night. Go to just about any city, and seeing good jazz on a Monday night would be a difficult proposition. But this was New York. There were many choices, but for me there was only one: The Vanguard, of course, with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, which is still the Thad Jones – Mel Lewis Orchestra to me. I hadn’t been to the Vanguard on a Monday night in probably 10 years, which is kind of ridiculous when you think about it since it is only a 20-minute subway ride away from my apartment. Anyway, I went online for reservations and it was sold out. Same thing when I called. We went anyway, arriving early. And we got in. The band was in fine form. They had just finished doing their annual weekly gig at the Vanguard, and seemed particularly tight. The band’s personnel has evolved over the years, but there were definitely a lot of familiar faces, including the tenor player Ralph LaLama, from whom I once took about four lessons 30 years ago. Somehow, I didn’t think he’d remember me, at least not fondly, so I didn’t actually say hello. But I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and would highly recommend a visit to the Vanguard, particularly on a Monday night, to anyone visiting New York. But, if you can, make reservations early. It seems to be a destination for jazz lovers from all around the world.
One of our readers sent me a link to this listing from a few weeks ago, using the word “insanity” as a modifier: Wayne Shorter, Adam’s Apple, Blue Note 4232. This was a Liberty pressing. It was in VG++ condition for the record and the cover. There was some original shrink wrap on the cover, which perhaps is a big deal for someone. For me, well I just rip it off and throw it in the garbage. Anyway, this record sold for $997.65. That’s right, the very cusp of the $1,000 bin. Question: Does anyone recall ever seeing a Liberty Blue Note selling for this amount of money before? I don’t.
There was a time not all that long ago when obscure records with relatively abrasive – or at least not for the feint of heart – musical content didn’t break the bank or require a second mortgage on one’s house. This was even the case for the first several years of online record buying, when private-press free jazz LPs were, though rare, not a matter of renegotiating one’s financial well-being to obtain. Well, that period has been officially over for a while now, but nevertheless the hits keep coming and new price points are reached. Take, for example, the lone LP by the Black Unity Trio, Al-Fatihah, on their own Salaam imprint. It’s a scarce and in demand post-Ayler document out of Cleveland, Ohio featuring an early appearance of cellist/bassist Abdul Wadud, along with saxophonist Yusuf Mumin (of the Norman Howard group) and drummer Haasan Al-Hut. Most copies I’ve run across look like they’d been run over by a skateboard and tossed into a puddle. This one was better, with a grade of VG++ for the vinyl and probably a strong VG for the matte white cover. Nevertheless, $2,355 is nearly double the next highest price in the internet marketplace and there was a time several years ago when $400-$500 was a healthy number for this album. Not anymore! Read more
Here’s a nice rare Blue Note: Horace Parlan, Speakin’ My Piece, Blue Note 4043. This looks to be an original West 63rd Street pressing with the deep grooves, ear and RVG stamp in the deadwax. The record looks to be in M- condition and the cover is VG++. The start price is $700 and there are four days left in the auction, with no bidders yet. We are starting our post today with this because we just saw the news that Horace Parlan passed away yesterday at the age of 86. Or course Parlan is well known in the Jazz Collector world for the albums he recorded on Blue Note in the early 1960s. I was originally going to mention six albums, but I looked at his discography and came upon the album “Happy Frame of Mind,” which I had forgotten about because it wasn’t issued until the 1980s. In any case, we mourn the passing of another one of the fine musicians of the era. I recall seeing Parlan in the 1970s and was quite impressed with his musicianship and percussive style, and the fact that he was limited to the use of just two fingers on his right hand. RIP.
Here’s another one of those cool Esquires with a cool cover: Sonny Rollins Quintet, Esquire 20-080. This is the original U.K. version of the Prestige record Moving Out (Prestige 7058). This one is in M- condition for both the record and the cover. There are two days left on the auction and the bidding is already close to $700. What I said in my previous post about getting a good deal on these Esquires? I only wrote it a week ago. Have times changed that quickly, or does it have to do with immaculate condition of this record? Or, perhaps, a little of both?
Meanwhile, it seems as if the bidding has barely begun on this original original Prestige: Jackie McLean, Jackie’s Pal, Prestige 7068. This looks like a beauty, graded M- for the record and VG++ for the cover. There seems to be shrink wrap, which would not have been the packaging medium when it was first introduced, but that wouldn’t scare me off at all. With more than three days left, the bidding is at just $45. I would expect it to increase markedly as we get close to the end of the auction.
Catching up on my eBay watch list, and starting with this one because I dig the cover and don’t recall ever seeing it before: Miles Davis, Dig Featuring Sonny Rollins, Esquire 32-062. This was an original British pressing and there’s just something cool about these Esquire covers. The record was in VG++ condition and the cover was VG+. The final price was $182.50. For those of you commenting on the earlier posts about alternatives to paying top dollar for U.S. originals on Prestige, these UK pressings look like a pretty good deal to me. And from my experience, the sound is equal to the U.S. pressings. (But, alas, there is no comparable alternative for the Blue Note fanaticos out there, is there?)
Speaking of original Prestiges, there was also this on our watch list: Read more
Sorry, again, for the paucity of posts and thanks, again, to Clifford for pitching in. There’s a lot to catch up on so let’s begin, starting with Sonny Rollins, Saxophone Colossus, Prestige 7079. I think we may be seen a new paradigm taking shape in our Jazz Collector world. This copy was in extremely nice condition, graded M- for both the cover and the vinyl. It sold for $1,002.99, which some might think would be a bargain price for an original of Saxophone Colossus, and, of course, that would be accurate. But this was not an original pressing, but instead was a yellow label New Jersey pressing. I think we’re starting to see the rise of the second — and later — pressings because the originals are so expensive and so hard to come by, particularly in near mint condition. Makes me regret that I sold so many of my Liberty Blue Notes for $20 or so when I was selling regularly on eBay in the first part of the 2000s. Then again, the reason I was able to sell those Liberties was because I had acquired original pressings and no longer needed them, so nothing really to complain too strenuously about.
Greetings to all from the world of obscure jazz records on eBay. It feels weird writing that, considering how much strife and upset is occurring due to our political situation and like Al, it’s been hard for me to find much respite even in my own projects. At the same time, settling down with music made as the world was in the midst of conflict does give one hope that as a whole we can get through these seemingly insurmountable situations. Not unscathed, but through.
With that in mind, here are a number of European jazz records on eBay that I’ve been watching. First up is the third LP by Finnish saxophonist Eero Koivistoinen, The Original Sin, released on Scandia in 1971. It’s a fantastic slice of Finnish-American (due to the presence of guitarist Lance Gunderson) modal jazz and jazz-rock that has recently been reissued (though even the reissue is hard to find). Koivistoinen also released a couple of superb records on RCA Victor somewhat later, both of which are well worth seeking out. Scandia pressings aren’t known for their high quality, and this one was probably in VG+ or VG++ for the vinyl with the thin cover in VG or VG+ condition. The final price was $477. Read more
This one fetched quite a nice price on eBay: Marty Paich Quartet featuring Art Pepper, Tampa 28. This was an original pressing with the red vinyl. It was listed in Ex condition for both the record and the cover, and the seller certainly posted some nice clear pictures. The final price was $1,181. That’s the highest price I recall seeing for this record, although there was one in Popsike that I must have missed that sold for $1,225.
Then there was this one that didn’t get a bid at all: Lee Morgan, Candy, Blue Note 1590. This looked to be an original West 63rd Street pressing, unless I’m missing something. The seller’s description was all over the place in terms of the condition. At one point he said it was strong VG+, then VG. He also mentioned the word “pops,” which is not something you want to hear unless
Back in business with a few items we’ve been watching on eBay. We haven’t been buying records for a white but we decided to try to win a couple of items recently, using our sniping software. Here’s what happened, starting with: Lester Young and Teddy Wilson, Pres and Teddy, Verve 8205. This was an original pressing with the trumpeter logo that was in M- condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. I was perusing eBay and noticed this with a start price of $99 and no bidders, quite close to the end of the auction. I do own a copy of this record, but it is a bit of a mess, VG- cover and VG record. I have had a clean copy of this record in the past and, quite honestly, I don’t recall what happened to it. I can’t imagine I sold it or traded it, as it is one of my favorite Pres records. In any case, the idea of upgrading my copy was quite compelling, and it seemed as if there might not be any action on this record so I tried to sneak in a bid in the range of about $11.50. The final price was $113.50, so someone else had the same idea, but decided to go with a higher bid. How how, we’ll never know, but I will keep on the lookout for a clean copy of this record and would have no problem paying in the low hundreds for one.
I tried a similar tactic with this record, also to no avail: