Some “Perfect” Records, And Others

Pres copyHaven’t checked the old Jazz Collector mailbox lately, so let’s see what some of our readers have sent us.

We can always count on our friend CeeDee for something interesting. This one came under the heading: “Prez gets a nice bid.” The link is to Lester Young, Norgran 1022. This was an original yellow label pressing listed in M- condition for the record and VG+ for the beautiful David Stone Martin cover. It sold for $532, quite a nice price for an old Pres Norgran indeed. The other day I was listening to Stardust from the Lester Young and Oscar Peterson record on Norgran. His playing from this period is so sad and melancholy it almost makes me cry.

Jason sent me a link to this listing: Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane, New Jazz 8276. This was a sealed copy, which the seller insisted was an original pressing. How? He felt through the cover and, like braille, read the deep grooves. He also compared the weight to a later pressing and attested that the sealed copy was heavier. Whatever. I’d have been cautious as the seller and, in fact, I would have broken the seal and opened the record. And if it was an original, I would have put it on the turntable, played it, and stuck it where it belongs, right on my shelf within my collection. This one sold for $185.51 and, I have a feeling, may never be opened.

Judd sent me this one and I found it so ridiculous I wasn’t going to post it, but, obviously have relented:

Perfect Jazz Recordings. This is an article by Richard Brody in The New Yorker from September 23. It lists 66 jazz recordings from up to approximately 1973 and before that the author defines as “perfect”based on his own subjective criteria, i.e., that to his ears, at a moment in time, these records were perfect, whatever that means. I will make just a few benign snide comments. Ahmad Jamal has more perfect records than John Coltrane or Charlie Parker; nothing from Kind of Blue; nothing by Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley, Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, Billie Holiday or Sarah Vaughan, to name a few. So you tell me: What’s the point?



  • The point is…I’d be interested to read this listing about “perfect jazz record”. Okay, the guy doesn’t spot on our usual “holy grails”, (KOB, or Coltrane for instance). But that exactly what makes me curious about reading it. Let’s consider that maybe in 73, some essential jazz record were not the same as nowadays. After all, many Mobley output we cherish had less “stars” in Downbeat magazine than, say, Stan Kenton albums at the time of their release. And after the date of release, it is obvious that appreciation about records or artists is always very unpredictable. Who cares about Stan Kenton today ?

  • Gotta say aside from the Jamal, Sanders and Jabbo records – I have them all and respect the choices. Not all the expected monuments – but excellent and enlivening music. I find most of the most exciting music I hear these days is unfamiliar or new. Though I’m not ditching the classics.

  • Great to see people like Bill Dixon, Albert Ayler and Cecil on that list.

    Also, considering what else has come out of the pastime_23 stock lately, there’s a fairly good chance that Burrell/Coltrane was a purple label NJ original. Not 100% but a good chance.

  • As with every other list that comes out, you’ll agree with some (?many) disagree with others – overall a good list, but mine would of course be different. I particularly appreciate the effort to link to Spotify and YouTube so that they can all easily be accessed.

  • Forgot to add, for Michel:

    I still care about Stan Kenton

  • Gregory the Fish

    russ, how can you not like pharaoh?

    seems that guy like a lot of free jazz. i can relate. my own list would be about half his list and half a more “al-friendly” smattering.

  • Gregory the Fish

    i should add: i asked the first question about the deep groove, and i knew the seller would lay some of that on me. thing is, had it not left my price range, i would have bought it because i would be protected by ebay. he declared that it has a deep groove, and so a deep groove it should have!

    i had an experience like this once with a purchase of burrell’s “midnight blue”. for only $32, i thought it a steal, but it had a gouge out of the side that took out part of a track, negating the VG+ grade assigned by the seller. i played a sound clip for an ebay rep and they ruled in my favor.

  • Loved the concept and the execution of Mr. Brody’s list. He explicitly states he didn’t intend it to be a “best-of”, only what impacted him personally and what came to mind as stand-outs (no research), “improvising” his list in the spirit of jazz. Usually “greatest ever” lists are full of songs/albums we “should” like rather than a reflection of the author’s true taste. To me it’s more interesting to read about what another person loves and why (even if I don’t love those things at all) than a generic “best of” list that no one (even the author) agrees with anyway.

  • Al: re Burrell/Trane, as I have said before, New Jazz albums were never factory sealed when issued. The buyer has taken the risk of having a worn-out third pressing in cellophane to look at, and cherish as an original.

  • Hey Rudolf, do you have sources that prove New Jazz albums were never sealed? cause the record sold was in a loose baggy…and those were from the 50s and early 60s which is inline with the 1st press of this record.

  • rudolf: i’m also curious. not saying you don’t know, just asking how you do.

    being able to cite something would give me a huge leg up in my bidding practices.

  • Jason: the seal was sort of baggy, but still rather tight in comparison to e.g. Savoy.
    How do I know? I imported Prestige and New Jazz albums directly from Prestige at Bergenfield in the years 1959 through 1965.
    Prestige never sent me any sealed album.

  • Hey Rudolph, I was the seller of the burrell/Coltrane, from this record collection I got a sealed, Steve Lacy – Evidence, with a loose baggy. This one I kept and opened the seal and enjoy the record often. And this had the DG.

    As far as prestige…I also had a Gene Ammons Jug sealed, loose baggy…cracked the seal and enjoy it…and this has a DG and Bergenfield address.

    So your experience differs from mine…although I didn’t receive them in the 50s and 60s….wish I was around then though!! That’s the golden era.

  • We have a lot of pieces in the Archives we just posted a few on EBay under the name bren_perk Blue Note etc

  • Feel free to email me I can send photos of our collection

  • Hi pastime. That is interesting info. I was around in the golden era, from 1958 on and very active, thence my categoric statement.
    I wonder how and when your copies got sealed and baggy too.
    I am glad you had these good surprises when you cracked the seals.

  • Ron Perkins:

    Please don’t take this the wrong way, but the 4 records you are selling on eBay are all much later pressings. I would be very surprised if you got any action at your minimum starting prices. Anyone on this site, crazy as we are, would probably not be a good audience to sell those items.

    Good luck.

  • Why is it not clear that many “seals” were placed by machines owned by record stores &/or distributors to make albums appear new? It doesn’t mean the album doesn’t have DG or even that it’s not original: only that it’s not FACTORY sealed, and may, in some cases, be a used copy.

  • …..and, I should add, there is NO way to predict the pressing.

  • Re Lester Young Norgran lp that sold in hundreds. Made me wonder if I still had my copy, which I did, still with dollar price sticker on it. Maybe one day I’ll try my luck at mega bucks.

  • Earl,
    I used to get UK and German LP’s wholesale from an importer in NY that had the albums sealed before shipment. He claimed that it prevented customs agents from inspecting the interior for contraband and possibly damaging the product.


  • Terry

    I agree that sometimes the seal was placed for legitimate reasons, such as a desire to protect the albums from shelf damage, or the one you mentioned. My only point is that it is impossible to tell whether any seal was factory placed (unless you use the criteria Rudolf mentioned where applicable).

    An honest seller of a “sealed” album should state one of the following, or a variation thereof:

    1. I believe this sealed album is an unused original; if the buyer opens it and finds it otherwise, he/she may return it for a full refund, including shipping.

    (or) 2. I have no idea as to whether this seal was factory placed and what the contents may be. I am selling it as is. Caveat Emptor.

  • Regarding pastime’s auctions (that I’ve bid and lost on – hello from Waxidermy), I’d assume a distributor of old stock jazz records sealed them, perhaps later in the ’60s.

  • A couple of those Esquires I haven’t seen before. I’m told that a number of titles were pressed in the 250-300 range. I’d assume around $400-$500 on The Cats.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *