A Cross Section of Collectible Jazz Vinyl

We’re watching a few auctions from the seller bullsite2000, including Billy Taylor, Cross Section, Prestige 7071. This is an original New York yellow label pressing. It looks like the record is in about VG++ condition and the cover is M-. The bidding is in the $90 range and the auction closes later today. Typically, you don’t see any Billy Taylor records selling for high prices. This particular record seems to be somewhat of an exception, selling for more than $200 several times on Popsike. We’ll see what this one goes for. I like the picture on the cover, which is one of the reasons I’m mentioning here at Jazz Collector: It’s not often that I get to use a Billy Taylor Prestige cover with one of my posts, and this one has the old record player, the tube amp and the old records. Wouldn’t you like to own the records on THAT shelf. This is another one with a great cover: Jay Jay Johnson Sextet, Blue Note 5028. This is an original 10-inch Lexington Avenue pressing. The record looks to be in VG+ condition and the cover VG++. It is also closing today. The bidding is in the $250 range.

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We get email

Here’s a sampling of email from the past few days. We start with our old reliable friend CeeDee who sent us four links under the subject line: “‘Give me Liberty or give me . . . uh, can I get back to you on that?’ plus two.” One of the links was one that we’ve previously written about: Wayne Shorter, Adam’s Apple, Blue Note 4232. This was the original mono pressing with the shrink wrap that sold for, gulp, $997.50. Next was Lee Morgan, the Gigolo, Blue Note 4212. This was also a mono Liberty pressing. I had never considered this to be a collectible Blue Note, but perhaps I’ll have to change my assessment. This one looked to be in VG++ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. It sold for $417.

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What Moves the Vinyl Market? Who the #$%* Knows

So this auction closed the other day: Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. This was in VG++ condition for he record and M- for the cover and did not have the New York 23 label. The final price was $5,127.51. Interesting that the following record, from the same era, is somehow valued at more than $4,000 less than the Mobley: Cliff Jordan, Blue Note 1565. This was also an original pressing, probably in VG++ condition for the record and maybe VG+ or VG++ for the cover. It sold for $897.69. Still a hefty price for sure, but still the discrepancy is quite a spread. Do you think there are really that many fewer copies of the Mobley available on the market? Or is it hype that the Mobley record is widely known as one of the rarest of the rare? Or is it that the Mobley simply a better record? There’s really no way to make judgments about these things, IMHO: The market is the market and that’s what decides the value. So, whatever the reason, the market has deemed Blue Note 1568 to be perhaps the most valuable jazz record of the Jazz Collector era. Ours is not to reason why, ours is just to sell and buy (or something like that).

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Wilen, Sonny Red (and a Story Goes With It)

Clifford had mentioned this in a comment on one of the posts from earlier this week: Barney Wilen Quintet, Guilde Du Jazz J-1239. This is an original pressing that looks to be in VG++ condition for both the record and the cover. The bidding is close to $400 with two days left, but it has not yet reached the seller’s reserve price. We’ve seen some very high prices for this record in the past, including one that approached $3,000, although that seemed to be an aberration. Still, we expect to see a fairly high price tag on this one, given the condition. If you miss out on that one there’s another original copy of the same record closing a couple of days later. This one isn’t quite in the same condition. The record is graded Ex and the cover is VG. The start price is about $700 and so far there are no bidders.

What was I thinking when I traded away a copy of the following record more than 30 years ago?

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A Septet of Rare Jazz Vinyl

Here’s one for you: Joe Henderson, Page One, Blue Note 4140. This was an original New York USA mono pressing. It was listed in Ex condition for the record and the cover. Certainly not mint minus or near mint or anything close to mint. It sold for $1,108.33.

From the same seller: Harold Vick, Steppin’ Out, Blue Note 4138. This was also an original mono pressing with the New York USA label. It was listed in Ex+ condition for the record and M- for the cover. It sold for $621.92.

Mal Waldron, Left Alone, Bethlehem 6045. This was an original red label pressing. The record was probably VG+ and the cover was listed as VG. The final price was $745.55.

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A Heavyweight Quartet

We are watching some real heavy-duty collectibles on eBay now, starting with Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. This is one of those quasi-original originals depending upon your point of view. Translation: It doesn’t have the New York 23 on one side of the label. Whether that makes it less original is probably not the point. What we have learned over the years is that it makes it slightly less valuable to collectors. No tears are being shed for this seller, however. The record looks to be in around VG++ condition and the cover is M-. The bidding is more than $2,600 with less than a day left. This copy has been around the block a few times, and is the same one that ostensibly would have sold for more than $11,000 back in 2015 but obviously did not actually sell at that time. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the goings on at eBay, even for someone like myself who follows things fairly closely.

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Jazz and the City

I’ve had several interesting jazz-related experiences over the past few weeks, but I’ve been so busy with my real work I haven’t had a chance to share them with you. Until now.

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.

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Today’s Jazz Vinyl: It’s a Wrap

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.

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Free Jazz Cracking the $2,000 Bin on eBay

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

Horace Parlan, RIP

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.

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