Regular contributor Daryl Parks posed an interesting question about auctions versus buy-it-now listings on eBay. From the beginning here at Jazz Collector we have focused on auctions. Not sure why, but that was how I always did business on eBay, when I did do business on eBay, both as a buyer and as a seller. Daryl was helping a friend with some listings of jazz records, and the friend preferred buy-it-now, particularly for what he described as “big ticket” items, in this case original Blue Note pressings from Curtis Fuller and Jutta Hipp. His explanation, as explained by Daryl: “Buy-it-now attracts different types of buyers who prefer to avoid roller-coasters and unpredictability while resulting in predictable outcomes for the seller; he has always had great success with this approach.” Read more
An Interview with John Scheinfeld, Writer and Director of Chasing Trane, The New John Coltrane Documentary
Some of you may recall that I had a bad reaction to the election in November and had a bit of a breakdown, totally justified as subsequent events would have it. One thing that helped me through the worst of it was going to the Doc NYC festival and seeing a new John Coltrane documentary called “Chasing Trane.” It was a beautiful and inspirational film that helped me heal and even sent me on a more spiritual path, which surprised the hell out of me. Here’s the original essay I posted on Nov. 25: “Chasing Trane: A Review, An Appreciation, A Spiritual Awakening.”
The essay found its way to the writer and director of “Chasing Trane,” John Scheinfeld, who sent me a lovely follow-up note telling me that he had shared the piece with many people, including Bill Clinton. He even used the word: “Bravo.” I was quite thrilled. Now “Chasing Trane” is set to make it’s theatrical release: It opens this Friday at the IFC Center in New York and the following week in Los Angeles, followed by a broader release across the country. I can’t wait to see it again and I’m strongly encouraging all of you to see it as soon as you get the chance.
In anticipation of the rollout, the film’s publicists reached out to see if I would be interested in doing an interview with Scheinfeld. Of course. So we did call a couple of weeks ago. It was supposed to be 20 minutes but it lasted 40. Scheinfeld was eloquent and passionate and it was exciting for me to learn about the creative process that went into making this wonderful tribute to one of my heroes. A summary of our conversation follows. All direct quotes are Scheinfeld’s. Read more
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?