From the Archives: A $38,000 Bill Evans Letter: A $129,000 Trane Manuscript

Here at Jazz Collector, we usually focus on jazz records, mostly what’s bought and sold on eBay. There are lots of reasons for that but, fundamentally, the reason is that we believe eBay sets the market’s prices. What’s more it’s a public market, so everyone can see it and monitor it and decide if he or she wants to participate. And finally, it’s a true worldwide market. Check out The Great eBay Debate for other opinions. But there are, we recognize, other places for jazz collectibles, and other objects d’jazz than vinyl. We were reminded of this as we were going through our archives and came across this article from 2005 referencing a huge sale of jazz collectibles by the auction house Guernsey’s. I’ll repost the whole item below, but note just a couple of items: The Bill Evans letter to John Coltrane that sold for more than $38,000 and the original manuscript and text for Trane’s A Love Supreme, which sold for more than $129,000.   Read more

Some New Items For the Price Guide

Sorry I haven’t posted since yesterday morning. I’ll do a couple tonight to catch up. Meanwhile, I’ve been updating the Price Guide with some new entries. Here are some of the items I’m putting in, no links, just the items and their prices. Keep an eye on the site for a view of upcoming eBay items as well as a review of what happened over the weekend.

Dave Bailey, Reaching Out, Jazztime 003. This was an original pressing in VG+/VG+ condition. Price: $348

Bill Evans, Sunday at the Village Vanguard, Riverside 9376. This was an original stereo pressing with the black label in M-/VG++ condition. Price: $296 Read more

Song For My Father

A Jazz Memoir By Al Perlman

Jazz was always in my life. It was my father’s great love. I grew up in a tiny first-floor garden apartment in Bayside, Queens, five of us with one bathroom, a small kitchen, two bedrooms, two closets, a living room and another family living in equally cramped quarters directly above us. There wasn’t much space and my mother made it even smaller by banning us from the living room. This was our “show” room to be kept in pristine condition and used only when we had guests: We weren’t permitted to sit in it or talk in it or eat in it or do anything in it. My mother kept plastic on the furniture and took it off only when there was company. The one exception was when my father was home and wanted to listen to jazz. That’s where he had his great big Fisher console with the hi-fi and radio.  Read more

Interesting Stuff on eBay

Just as an update: I’m not posting regularly for the site yet. I’m a couple of weeks away from resuming selling on eBay and then doing regular posts. For those of you who have found — or re-found — the site, please continue to be patient. Once I’m fully up and running, I’ll be posting every day about interesting jazz collectibles, and I’ll also be selling records here off the site. I’m also hoping to resume my price guides, and get the old ones posted from 2004 and 2005.In the meantime, here are a few interesting items I’ve been watching: Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. This one has a $5,500 Buy-It-Now price, which is the highest we’ve ever seen.  Read more

The Gift Of Hindsight

One of the pleasures of having an extensive jazz collection is that it gives you the opportunity to go back and review the history of jazz in real time, as it was happening. This is particularly the case when you look at old issues of Downbeat or Metronome, or review old liner notes, an art form that began approaching extinction with the advent of the compact disc format. In any case, allow me to share some interesting stuff from my archives.

           

Downbeat, January 18, 1962

Review: John Coltrane, Africa/Brass, Impulse 6

 

This record was a departure for Coltrane: The first time he ever played with a brass section. It is now regarded as a classic, rightfully so, particularly the title cut, which makes up the entire first side of the album. At the time, however, the Downbeat reviewer, Martin Williams, didn’t see it that way.  He gave it only two stars, out of a possible five. Here’s a sample from the review:

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Is That Bill Evans With Tony Scott?

Today we answer a couple of questions from readers and keep our ongoing eye on eBay.

 Q. It always drives me crazy when records don’t list all the musicians. I was recently listening to a copy of The Touch of Tony Scott on the RCA label. The pianist sounded like Bill Evans, but I wasn’t sure. Can you please tell me who is on this album?

A. Good ears. The pianist is Bill Evans, very early in his career. You can hear him very effectively on “Round Midnight.” The album was recorded by three different bands on three dates in 1956. Read more

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