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.
Two of our regular readers, Clifford and Michael, separately sent me links to this rare jazz collectible, wondering if it was legitimate: John Coltrane, A Love Supreme, Impulse A-77, Test Pressing. Take a close look at it. Does it really say “Ken” Coltrane? Anyway, it looks legit to me. Unfortunately, it was only in VG condition and, of course, it didn’t have a cover. The final price was $300, which seems pretty reasonable to me for what I imagine is a pretty rare collectible.
One of our readers, Dave Sockel, recently was in touch with a relative of Duke Pearson and sent me a PDF of this very cool collectible — duke-pearson-session-book-1969-1970. It includes rehearsals, musicians and their fees, session dates, comments on the sessions and dozens of signatures from the various musicians, confirming their payments. Thanks to Dave for sharing and allowing me to post this on Jazz Collector.
Actually, I don’t even celebrate Christmas, but that’s quite beside the point, isn’t it? I spent a couple of hours today just looking at my records and going through the shelves, one by one. It’s a pretty damn good collection, I must say. Although it is not complete. Not even close. So, when I do look at the collection, what’s missing. Or, more to the point, if I were to make a Christmas Wish List, what would I put on it? Here we go, all original pressings, of course.
1. Freddie Redd, Shades of Redd, Blue Note 4045. Yes, I’ve been searching for this record for years, and yes, I could just pay the price and buy a copy on eBay. But that takes out all of the fun. Now, if The Lovely Mrs. JC would be interested in a gift for my upcoming birthday, I wouldn’t complain about that at all, no matter what the price.
2. Lou Donaldson, Quartet, Quintet, Sextet, Blue Note 1537. No the list will not be all Blue Notes, but it could be if I wanted to go there. This happens to be another favorite. I’ve owned a Japanese pressing for years. Two, in fact. But an original on my shelf would be quite appealing.
3. Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. No I don’t have it. If I did, whenever someone would ask me what’s the most valuable record in your collection, I could point to that. Right now, when someone asks, I don’t know exactly what to say. The music is pretty good too, no?
Finally back from a long break, and the first thing I’m going to do is take a look at what I left behind on my eBay watch list and catch up. This seller has several nice items for sale, including Sonny Rollins, Saxophone Colossus, Prestige 7079. This is an original New York yellow label pressing listed in VG++ or M- condition for the record and M- for the cover. You don’t run across too many in this shape. There are two days left on this auction, the bidding is in the $1,350 range and so far it has not reached the seller’s reserve price. This one comes from the same seller and also has not yet reached its reserve price: Johnny Griffin, A Blowing Session, Blue Note 1559. This is an original pressing with the New York 23 labels. The bidding is in the $650 range. Surely, the bidding will move into the four figures, but whether that meets the seller’s price won’t be known until the auction actually closes.
Speaking of records not selling:
I am watching about 10 jazz records on eBay now and not a single one of them has even a single bid. Could it be that the dog days of August are a good time to be buying? Or are sellers ratcheting up their prices as they see more and more high-ticket sales? Or is it nothing at all and the bidding will come in, as it usually does, at the last minute? In any case, here are some of the items, starting with one we’ve never actually seen in person: Lovey Powell, Lovelady, Transition 1. This looks to be an original pressing with the original booklet. The record is listed in VG++ condition and the cover is M-. Not a record you see very often. This one has a start price of $247.50 and there are more than two days left on the auction. Do you expect it to sell? I do.
Here’s a nice one that I don’t recall seeing in the past: The Essen Jazz Festival All Stars, Debut 131. This record features Coleman Hawkins, Bud Powell, Oscar Pettiford and Kenny Clarke. I’ve always known this by the Fantasy issue in the U.S., which, if I recall, was colored vinyl in the original pressing. This looks to be the original Dutch Debut pressing, which was in stereo? Not familiar with it, although it is somewhat surprising that stereo would be the original release in 1960. Anyway, I like this cover a lot better than the U.S. cover. This copy is listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover and has a start price of $400 with nearly six days left on the auction.
Here’s some more jazz vinyl we’ve been watching on eBay, starting with John Coltrane, Giant Steps, Atlantic 1311. This was an original black label pressing. It was listed in Ex condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. With three days left in the auction the action was so light that I thought, perhaps, I would even have a chance for this at a price that would fit my sensibilities. Fat chance. It wound up selling for $822.
I’ve bee noticing that this one seems to fetch a bit higher prices than some of the other Dexter Gordon Blue Notes and I can’t figure out why: Dexter Gordon, One Flight Up, Blue Note 84176. This was an original stereo pressing listed in M- condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. It sold for $360, which is up there for a stereo copy.
On the other hand, this one sold for less than expected:
I was piling a bunch of very nice records into my Watch List folder and noticed that many were from the same seller, including Art Taylor, Taylor’s Wailers, Prestige 7117. This is an original New York yellow label pressing that looks to be in at least VG++ condition for both the record and the cover, and perhaps even better. The auction closes in three days and the bidding is close to $500. Interesting coincidence: Just a couple of days before noticing this listing I put this record on the turntable and gave it a close listen. I don’t think I’d ever listened to it and I was expecting one of those Prestige jam sessions. It’s not. It’s a well arranged, carefully conceived album with tremendous playing all around. The main group has Donald Byrd, Charlie Rouse, Jackie McLean, Ray Bryant and Wendell Marshall, in addition to AT. I have no idea why Prestige threw in another track by a separate group with John Coltrane, Red Garland and Paul Chambers, but of course it’s wonderful that they did. Coltrane is in nice form, but it’s the rest of the album that is also quite impressive. I highly recommend giving it a listen for those of you lucky enough to own a copy.
Let’s close the loop on some of the rare jazz vinyl we’ve been watching here at Jazz Collector, starting with Miles Davis, Someday My Prince Will Come, Columbia, 1656. You may recall this was the record with the inner seal and signed by Miles, Hank Mobley, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb and JJ. Johnson. When we first looked at this record there was one day left in the auction and the bidding was in the $300 range. The record wound up selling for a whopping $2,091.75.
Here are a few from the recent Jazz Record Center auction, starting with Red Rodney, 1957, Signal 1206. This was an original pressing listed in M- for the cover and probably VG++ for the record. We were commenting that there was no action in the auction but, of course, there was quite a bit at the end. The record wound up selling for $1,324.50. Thelonious Monk, Monk, Columbia 2291. This would not normally appear on a list of collectible records, but this was a promo copy with the white labels. The record was in M- condition and the cover was VG++. It sold for $114.37. From the same auction there were also . . .
I’m watching the current auction from the Jazz Record Center, which closes in two days, and I am left to wonder: Where are the bidders? Perhaps they will show up at the end, as the often do. But, after seeing so much action on other auctions, I’d expect to see more on this one, considering the sterling reputation of the seller. We’ll see what happens. Some of the records I’m watching from this list:
Bennie Green, Back on the Scene, Blue Note 1587. This is an original pressing in what looks to be pristine condition for both the record and the cover. The start price is $300 and so far there are no bidders. I recently purchased a copy of this record in my Baltimore purchase, so I don’t need it, but I’d be happy to get a copy in this condition for anything less than $500, which may seem possible.
Art Taylor, AT’s Delight, Blue Note 4047. This is also an original deep groove pressing in what looks to be M- condition for the record and the cover. The start price is $250 and there are no bidders as of now. Huh? This is a great record. I happen to own a copy signed by Art Taylor, which is quite precious to me.