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.
It felt so good clearing out portions of my inbox yesterday, I’m going to the same today, starting with a couple of items about one of my heroes, Sonny Rollins. The first comes from an article by Amanda Petrusich in the New Yorker from April 5. (I told you I was way behind on my email). It is about a movement, now in its early stages, to rename the Williamsburg Bridge in honor of Sonny. The Sonny Rollins Bridge: Now this is an idea we can all get behind. The idea is the brainchild of a guy named Jeff Caltabiano, who has established something called The Sonny Rollins Bridge Project. When we get a chance we will reach out and find out if he has made any progress. Read more
I assume some of you noticed that I’ve been posting less frequently lately. I hope that situation changes and I can get back to what used to be my normal routine of posting every day, or at least attempting to post every day. I have been swamped with work and have had less time to think about jazz records, let alone do the work required to create interesting posts. I know that sounds like blasphemy in this narrow vinyl world that we typically obsess about here at Jazz Collector, and, indeed, it does feel a bit untethered to not be poring over eBay or pulling out gems from my collection and putting them on the turntable. All of which is a roundabout way of saying that I have a lot of email to catch up on. 🙂 Let’s start where we so often start: With our friend CeeDee, who has sent me several links that I am anxious to clear out of my inbox, including Johnny Coles, The Warm Sound, Epic 16015.
Here’s an interesting opportunity: An auction house in the U.K. is auctioning a private jazz collection on Tuesday June 27 and there are options for individuals to bid live, either online or by telephone. The auction house is Omega Auctions and music is one of the areas in which they specialize. The collection belonged to a collector named B.W. Duncan and, of you are interested, you can read his bio here. As for the records themselves: There are quite a large number of Blue Notes, offered as individual pieces, such as Eric Dolphy Out To Lunch or Herbie Hancock My Point of View. There are also Blue Note packages sold in lots, such as an Art Blakey lot or a Horace Silver/Lee Morgan lot. Many of the records in the collection are U.K. pressings. It looks like there are 260 lots in all. It’s worth taking a look at the auction, but make sure to read the instructions if you want to bid because you have to set things up in advance and you have to pay some fairly hefty fees. Read more
We’ll start with a rare Blue-Note-free day here at Jazz Collector: Jack Sheldon, The Quartet and the Quintet, Jazz-West 6. This is an original pressing listed in M- condition for the record, although it is probably closer to VG++, and probably VG+ or VG++ for the cover. This is a 1956 record that features Zoot Sims. The price is in the $200 range with about three days to go. I did a quick Google search and am happy to report that Jack Sheldon is still alive. 🙂 I remember him not only as a terrific player but also as a pretty good comedian, playing sidekick on the Merv Griffin show when I was growing up. You wonder about an artist like this in terms of both their legacy and the long-term value of their records in the collectors’ market. Read more
Just back from a brief holiday in San Francisco and lovely Creede, Colorado, where my son directed a play. I seem to be picking up exactly where I left off, with another note from Ceedee bemoaning, in a jocular way, the latest adventures in Blue Note prices. Let’s start with Miles Davis, Volume One, Blue Note 1501. This was an original Lexington Avenue pressing listed in M- condition for the record and Ex for the cover. The final price was $1,125. No surprise there. I have to admit to you all that I recently passed on a lovely collection that contained a copy of this record in even better condition. The records in the collection were in beautiful condition but, unfortunately for me, there weren’t enough records that I didn’t already own to make it worth my while. I would have had to spend months on eBay to get back the return on my investment and I would have added some gems to the collection but, as you can probably surmise, I am just too busy with my regular work to devote my energies to selling records these days.
Here’s a few items from the Jazz Collector in box, starting with a note from our friend CeeDee, who is commenting that “it looks like the cost of some Liberty pressing Blue Notes are approaching the price of the originals,” with a bunch of links, including Kenny Burrell, Blue Lights, Blue Note 1597. Not only is this a Liberty pressing, the cover, with the Andy Warhol illustration, is only on VG condition. This one sold for $255, which is quite a change in the market over the past few years. The other big change in the market is the tremendous spike in prices of the United Artists Blue Notes, which were 1980s reissues for the Japanese market. Unfortunately, I sold a lot of my Liberty and United Artists pressings a few years ago on eBay, generally for $10 or $20 apiece, which was the going rate at the time. Fortunately, however, the reason I sold those pressings was because I was able to obtain copies of the originals and these were just duplicates.
Let’s catch up on some completed and upcoming auctions of rare jazz vinyl on eBay, starting with Dizzy Reece, Blues in Trinity, Blue Note 4006. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing in VG++ condition for the record and VG+. When we first started watching this record it was in the $125 price range but was seeing a lot of activity. We speculated that it may approach the $1,000 bin and it wound up selling for $906.80. This one, Lee Morgan, Candy, Blue Note 1590, was in the $925 range when we first spotted it and, based on the seller and condition — M- for the record and cover — we speculated that it was destined for the $2,000, but it came up just short, selling for $1,807. Finally, there was Kenny Drew, Undercurrent, Blue Note 4059. This looked like an original pressing with the one sided deep groove, although there was some dispute about that among the commenters. I guess the pictures weren’t clear. It was a relatively new seller and the record and cover looked to be in M- condition. But the start price was quite high at $3,000 and there were no bids, so perhaps we will see this back on eBay with a lower price tag.
I’m back with a completely random batch of records that are currently for sale on eBay, starting with one of my favorite LPs, Jackie McLean, McLean’s Scene, New Jazz 8212. This is an original purple label deep groove pressing listed in VG+ condition for both the record and the cover. The bidding is in the $160 range with four days left. When I think of my favorite alto players, there’s Bird, of course, then Cannonball, then a small group of a few more who were able to create a distinct sound despite the overwhelming presence and influence of Bird. This relatively short list includes Jackie, Paul Desmond, Phil Woods and just a couple of others such as Ernie Henry, who died so young. Then there are Johnny Hodges, who came before Bird and was certainly distinct and marvelous, and Sonny Stitt, who sounded perhaps the most like Bird but could play his ass off and is almost always a joy to put on the turntable, for me at least. Anyway, just some alto musings off the top of my head on a bright Wednesday morning, inspired by McLean’s Scene.
Ok, we have a final price on that copy of Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568 from the Jazz Record Center. The final price was $4,619. And the winner of the contest was: GST with a bet of $4,600. Pretty damn close GST. Congratulations. I actually came in second with a guess of $4,444. For those of you betting the over/under line of $4,300, the winning bet was over, although I’m not sure anyone was counting on the under, especially after the early bidding seemed to indicate a much higher price. Nor do I think anyone was actually betting. In any case, GST, I owe you a prize. Tomorrow I am heading up to my home in The Berkshires, where my duplicate records reside. Send me your email address to alatjazzcollectordotcom and I will offer you a few options. Once we have an arrangement, I’ll put a comment here on this post.