I know I haven’t posted in a while when I start getting little love notes from our old pal CeeDee, with gentle reminders such as “you may have seen these by now, but . . . ” Anyway, these a couple of the ones being called to my attention, starting with Kenny Dorham, Quiet Kenny, New Jazz 8225. This was an original pressing with the purple label and the deep grooves. The record was graded VG++ and the cover was VG+. The final price was $1,752.
Then there was Joe Henderson, Inner Urge, Blue Note 84189. This was an original stereo pressing with the New York USA labels and the ears in the dead wax. The record was listed in M- condition and the cover was VG++. The final price was $383. High for a stereo pressing, but certainly not surprising, right?
I didn’t have either of those on my watch list, but I did have this one, which fetched quite a fetching price:
Whilst I have immensely enjoyed writing and sharing those personal essays, I know that most of you come to Jazz Collector for the really important stuff, which is keeping track of record prices and sales on eBay, so we can all marvel at how smart and fortunate we were to have bought our records below market value, or we can lament the unfortunate reality that buying the top rare jazz collectibles at today’s market prices is beyond the capacity of many of us, either from a financial perspective or because it offends our basic sensibilities to pay top dollar rather than keep hunting for a bargain, even if it may mean never owning an original pressing of a record that we covet deeply. The point of that rather long sentence is that it is time to get back to business, and since so many of us have a soft spot for Blue Notes, I have decided that today will be a Blue Note day here at Jazz Collector, starting with Wayne Shorter, Ju Ju, Blue Note 4182. This looks to be an original pressing with the New York USA label, Van Gelder and ear. The record and cover are both listed in Ex condition. The price is now close to $400 with more than a day left on the auction. As we have all seen, the price of these later era original pre-Liberty Blue Notes has risen markedly over the past few years. If we haven’t seen these break into the $1,000 bin yet, it looks like that is just a matter of time.
By Al Perlman Editor and Publisher, Jazz Collector
So last night I was in bed with The Lovely Mrs. JC and as is our usual custom we were listening to a random playlist of ballads as we went to sleep. The shuffle landed on Stan Getz playing “Body and Soul.” We were listening and it was just sheer beauty and at the end of the second verse Getz goes into this run that is absolute genius, and I don’t use that term loosely, but, with Getz, I know that it applies. I don’t have the language, either in words or music, to describe what it is that Getz does, but, to me, I think of a figure skater taking off in full flight, doing three turns and three axels with pure grace and beauty and then landing on her feet as if it were all perfectly natural. You can listen to it here and perhaps you will hear what I heard.
I listened to this passage and I started laughing because I hadn’t heard it in a long time and I was flabbergasted and in awe at what just came out of the speaker.
The Lovely Mrs. JC rose from a slumber and asked: “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” I replied.
“Why were you laughing?”
“Did you hear that?” I replied.
“That,” I said. “That thing Getz just played. It was unbelievable.” Read more
I actually have more I want to say about the Coltrane documentary, which I will do in a subsequent post, but today I promised Jazz Collector readers a regular post and that typically means looking at some rare jazz records on eBay. As I type this I have a random playlist on in the background and Bird just came on playing “Confirmation.” So let me pause for a moment. Okay, back with you all.
Well, perhaps there is something in the air. First record I went to on eBay is: Charlie Parker, Bird Blows the Blues, Dial 901. This is an original pressing with the red vinyl. I believe we have established here on Jazz Collector that this was the first 12-inch vinyl record ever? I add the question mark because I’m still not sure. Anyway, I have never owned a copy of this record, and won’t own this one. The starting price is $1,500 and it’s only in VG condition. Even worse, the seller doesn’t include an original picture. That very clear, really enticing picture accompanying the listing, and accompanying this post, is actually copied from a book. For $1,500, I personally wouldn’t mind seeing the real deal, not that I would ever pay $1,500 anyway.
By Al Perlman Editor and Publisher, Jazz Collector
To my regular Jazz Collector readers, I promise I will be back with a normal post on Tuesday. In the meantime, I ask for one final indulgence for this one final post so I can close the book on this Chasing Trane diversion.
First of all, I would like to let you all know that I am doing well. Since the election I have not turned on the television news or read any news or opinions in any periodical — print or online. It has been a blessing. My head is not clogged with useless information, my guts are not wrenched with fear, my vision is not clouded with images of people who spew hatred, vitriol and divisiveness.
Even better, I have begun to channel the spiritual awareness that the Coltrane documentary helped to inspire. I am walking down the street with a new energy that seems to be apparent because people are smiling at me and talking to me as never before. I am chatting with people in the elevator. I’ve reached out to friends that I have been estranged from for years. Plus, with my head cleared, I’ve had a burst of creative energy. The previous post on Chasing Trane is just one example. I am also doing great work for my clients and I am doing more writing on the side.
By Al Perlman Editor and Publisher, Jazz Collector
It is the day after Thanksgiving here in the States and one of the things I am grateful for is the new John Coltrane documentary Chasing Trane, written and directed by John Scheinfeld. I was fortunate to see this film on the closing night of DOC NYC, the New York documentary film festival. It was a week ago last Thursday and it has had a deep emotional impact on me that is still resonating, which I will discuss in a bit. But first let me tell you about the film.
First off, Scheinfeld is a terrific documentary filmmaker, IMHO. I am a huge fan of two of his earlier movies, The U.S. vs. John Lennon and Who is Harry Nilsson . . .? I knew virtually nothing about Nilsson when I watched that film and I’ve since recommended it to all of my friends and family, and now to all of my readers here at Jazz Collector. Perhaps because of Scheinfeld’s reputation, the Coltrane family welcomed him to do this film and gave him access to Coltrane’s music, archives and even home movies.
In Chasing Trane, Scheinfeld has created a moving and inspirational tribute to one of the great musicians and spiritual influences of our times. He uses film footage and photos of Coltrane, some never before seen, interspersed with comments from a wide range of friends, family, fans, biographers and other admirers. I was personally moved by the comments from Coltrane contemporaries and close friends, Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson and, especially, Sonny Rollins. And I was surprised and impressed by the depth of knowledge and connection to Coltrane’s music and spirit expressed by former President Bill Clinton. But I was not surprised by how often some of these commentators were at a loss for words to describe Coltrane’s music or his influence because, as Sonny says, the only way to truly understand and feel the music is Read more
Among the first jazz musicians to really get me excited about this music was Albert Ayler. I have great memories of hearing Bells and Spiritual Unity at the record store where a friend of mine worked back in the mid-1990s. The sound of his saxophone and his ensembles completely rearranged my brain and what I thought music could be. Coming from a perspective that was jazz-curious and a bit tired of the punk/indie landscape, Ayler was exactly the sort of aesthetic catalyst I needed. At one point it seemed like his records were relatively easy to obtain, if not always in their original form, and not necessarily desired by the “big-money” jazz collectors out there.
That’s changed somewhat, as seen in this first commercial issue of Spiritual Unityon ESP-Disk’ with the red-on-white silkscreened cover, booklet, and alternate take of “Ghosts (Second Variation).” It’s a beautiful piece of the recorded history of improvised music, and from what I understand one of the most sonically representative examples of Ayler’s sound. For a copy in VG++ condition for the vinyl and VG+ condition for the cover (with what looks like slight damage to the upper left seam), the closing price was $800. Perhaps not Blue Note territory, but expensive nonetheless. I attempted to get in the fray but was quickly dispatched and will have to continue chugging along on a clean second-ish pressing (purchased for around $10 almost 20 years ago).
Another prime early Ayler side and a rare sideman appearance is on drummer Sunny Murray’s Sonny ‘sTime Now(sic), issued on poet LeRoi Jones’ Jihad label in 1965 or ’66. Though comparatively easier to find than a first edition Spiritual Unity and with a Japanese pressing circulating as well (which is what I have), it’s still an important 1960s jazz collectible. The seller of the Ayler above had one on offer in VG+ or VG++ condition for the vinyl and cover, including the mimeographed insert. The price at the end was $325.
And just for comparison to the recent auction of the test pressing of A Love Supreme, this seller also had an original mono of the iconic Coltrane album in very nice-looking condition, with the LP in VG++ condition and the cover also in probably VG+ or VG++ condition. The end price was $365, or $65 more than the coverless test issue. That’s a respectable price, if not top dollar.
As always, happy collecting and happier listening (we need the latter especially right now).
Traffic’s been a little light on Jazz Collector the past few days. In retrospect, perhaps the “When Your Smilin'” headline did not quite capture the zeitgeist of what is going on around here, and around the world. In any case, I have been able to return do eBay after a few days in a dark hole, figuratively of course, and I will once again look to jazz and my records for comfort and safety and inspiration. This is a record I was watching with interest on eBay: Donald Byrd, Byrd in Paris Volume 1, Signature 1039. For some reason I had always thought of this as a MAJOR collectible, but I guess I was wrong. This copy was listed in VG+ condition for the record and the cover and, based on the seller’s more detailed description, this sounded reasonable. The record sold for $100. At first I thought the price was missing a zero, but then I went to Popsike and discovered that, while this was on the low side, it wasn’t completely unreasonable. Live and learn.
Now that I have no election to obsess over, and I don’t yet have the appetite to read about what will happen next to my wonderful country, I have more time to listen to records, read about jazz and look at the always interesting activity on eBay. So, perhaps, I will do more Jazz Collector posts and finally set aside time to put into the Jazz Collector Price Guide, which can really use an update. Look for the silver lining, as the wonderful song says.
Anyway, here are a few of items that recently sold on eBay, starting with Jutta Hipp with Zoot Sims, Blue Note 1530. This was an original Lexington Avenue pressing listed in VG++ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover, with some visible staining on the back cover that could be a turn off for some buyers, but obviously was not that big a turn off for the buyer of this copy, who paid $2,850.88. In fact, looking over the cover pictures again, it looks like VG+ is a pretty generous grade. I have an absolutely clean version of this record that I purchased from the Bruce M. West collection in Baltimore, thoughts of which always put a smile on my face.
Anyway. Here are some of the rare jazz records we are watching on eBay, starting with Tadd Dameron, Fontainebleau, Prestige 7037. This is an original yellow label pressing with the New York address. The record is listed in M- condition for the vinyl and Ex for the cover, with a promo stamp and some damage on the back. The bidding is in the $225 range with more than four days left. Although this is a nice record from the early Prestige 12-inch catalogue, it’s never been one that has been overly attractive to collectors, although it looks pretty good to me. Here’s another Prestige from the same seller that most collectors will find to be quite a bit more enticing: Hank Mobley, Mobley’s Message, Prestige 7061. This is also an original New York yellow label. The record is in M- condition and the cover is listed as M-, although I may slightly quibble and push it down to VG++ based on the picture. The price is in the $560 range, also with four days left on the auction.