Are We Seeing a Shift in Value of Jazz Promo LPs?

Donald Byrd copyWhat’s going on with promo jazz records? I was just perusing eBay and came upon this number closing later today: Donald Byrd and Gigi Gryce, Modern Jazz Perspective, Columbia 1058. This is a mono pressing with the six-eye white promo label. It is listed in M- condition for the record and the cover and it certainly looks nice. But the condition doesn’t explain the bidding, which is now more than $200. I’ve seen this record so often for $20-$30 even in nice condition, it’s hard to rationalize such a high price for a promo copy, but perhaps things are changing and, for whatever reason, these white promo Columbias are suddenly in greater demand. We’ve certainly seen a big price increase over the years for promo copies of Kind of Blue and Dave Brubeck’s Time Out. Maybe this is just an extension of the interest? The seller must have run into a collection owned by a former Columbia employee, at least that’s what he suggests, because he has many of these white label Columbia pressings on eBay this week. There area lot of Errol Garners and Brubecks and Ellingtons and, from what I can see, none is getting the kind of interest or bidding that compares to the Byrd/Gryce LP. In fact, the only other one I noticed with a collectible price was another one of the same ilk: Don Byrd-Gigi Gryce, Jazz Lab, Columbia 998. This is another white label promo copy and it is in M- condition for the record and the cover. The bidding is now in the $80 range with about five hours left.

21 comments

  • Euclid records (whom I generally respect) has a copy of Jazz Erotica currently on sale:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Richie-Kamuca-Jazz-Erotica-Hi-Fi-604-MONO-NICE-/201239093169?pt=Music_on_Vinyl&hash=item2edac8dfb1

    They rate the cover as VG+, with the following description:

    “Medium ringwear, fully taped seams”
    [ringwear clearly visible in picture]

    I would love to hear what some of you think should constitute minor (VG++), modest (VG+) and major (VG) cover faults – personally, I think the Erotica cover should have been rated no higher than VG

  • sorry Al – didn’t mean to subvert your discussion of promos

  • something seems off around the sellers auctions. I mean, Frank De Vol – Portaits ($200+) & Percy Faith ($200+) that’s crazy…shell bidders?

  • Well, promo editions of rock records have long been very collectible, so it’s no surprise that certain jazz labels/titles may also see that uptick (along with everything else). I, for one, appreciate a nice white and black label Impulse LP. Then again, none of the mono promo Impulse records I have (as an example) cost more than $40 and they were all purchased a decade or more ago…

  • A Japanese dealer friend of mine has recently started buying WLPs. This recent interest in Jazz promos by Japanese collectors could explain these prices. Gryce-Byrd is of interest to the Japanese while Garner, Ellington and (most) Brubecks are not.

  • “jazz lab” is a great, great, record. i have a borderline perfect copy and i play it concerningly often. i try to often listen to another record when i get the itch. don’t want to wear it out!

    i’d love “modern jazz perspective”, but not for $200.

    it seems to me that WLP copies of reasonably enjoyable columbia albums are much harder to come by than, say, impulse, candid, etc. plus byrd and gryce are both collectible through blue note, prestige, new jazz, and such. and they are both great.

  • earl:

    some of euclid’s descriptions have irked me recently. i have bought from them at WFMU and always been very pleased, though, so i’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.

  • Jason. White labels always up the price. I mean I’m not even into the majority of stuff the guy listed. But they look sexy haha. It’s just one of those “I need that variation” type things. Plus they’re clean.

  • White labels are also valued because they are promos and many believe that the promos are the first to be pressed at the plant so they can get out to the critics and radio stations as quickly as possible, so some collectors like the idea (note: *idea*) of the records being super-early in the first stamper run.

  • I agree 100 percent with what Rich said. White labels are a lot cooler than the stamps they put on Blue Notes IMO

  • having white label promos does make me feel like a fancy-ass “insider” for some reason, i’ll admit. hahaha.

  • Agree 100% with Rich DG Mono. Columbia is also fairly unique in the jazz world with the Mother/Child stamper nuances. Most interestingly, neither BN or Prestige arguably the most collectible labels, didn’t have WLPs. While we all have our share of records stamped with Not for Sale or Audition Copy, it is hard to know for certain in there was any advantage to these records coming off the press first.

  • And Dave: There’s really no guarantee that they didn’t just run the press through all the way for the entire first pressing, then at the end they randomly grabbed a bunch of copies for promotional use. 😉

  • Rich is right on. Plus, WLPs are super cool! However, eBay advertising notwithstanding, Rich is also correct that they are not necessarily indicative of the earliest possible pressings. I have a number of Columbia 6-eye WLPs (including a mint Mingus Ah Um that I love like one of my children), and most of them do NOT have 1A, 1B, or 1C stamps. In fact, one has 2B/3B stamps and another has 2AA/2B stamps. Those two LPs are from the collection of a famous (now deceased) jazz DJ, who definitely got them directly from Columbia (or a Columbia distributor). And they were obviously not the very first pressings off the presses. To me, they sound just as good, but no better, than a regular 6-eye. They are very cool though!

  • You guys are talking about WLPs and I’m trying to figure out what the hell you’re talking about. It’s like the great line in the Odd Couple when Oscar rants at Felix something on the order of:
    “You leave little notes all around the house. ‘We’re out of cornflakes. — FU.’ It took me three hours to figure out that FU was Felix Unger.”
    So WLPs are White Label Promos? Please tell me this is not a commonly used set of initials and just appears here on Jazz Collector as an aberration.

  • WLP = white label promo. I think it’s fairly common?

  • Al. If you do a search today on eBay for WLP under records, you get 18,978 hits.

  • Well, there it is. Learn something new here at Jazz Collector every day.

  • too funny, al! hahaha.

  • Roland Kirk ” Triple Threat ” on E-bay Starting Bid 1,000. 2nd Time Ever To Be Auctioned!

  • In my research, the White labels/Promo pressings are the first ones. DJs are issued those copies, and they took excellent care of their vinyl. How embarrassing it is to have a record skip during a radio broadcast.

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