This will be fun. Last night I had another one of those very pleasant listening sessions up in The Berkshires, fueled by a few beers, a few vapes and the knowledge that I could play my music as loud and late as I pleased with no neighbors or anyone else to complain. I was watching politics on television as I do so often these days, taking particular delight in the latest polls showing that the blowhard, maniac, crazy man at the top of the Republic ticket is in steep decline and, IMHO, may not even make it to election day without having some kind of collapse/mental breakdown, if, indeed, we could even tell the difference between a nervous breakdown and the behavior he exhibits every single day on the campaign trail. After a couple of hours of this I had enough and decided to enjoy some music. Read more
So, back in the Bronx, I had a pile of about 50 records. Of the records in that pile there were probably about 10 that I really wanted. But I sensed that the woman wanted to get rid of records and taking more seemed like the right approach. So I made an offer that I thought was fair, considering the condition of the records and the reality that many of the records in the pile were relatively worthless. The offer came out of my mouth and the words were still just hanging in the air when I could see the woman physically recoil as if she had just swallowed a platter full of insects. She repeated the number I had just said and gasped: “The Jackie McLean record alone is worth more than that!” Which, to be fair, would have been true if the Jackie McLean record was in excellent condition. But it wasn’t. Then she started going through a list that she had compiled with values for some of the key records. But there was clearly a disconnect. All of the values she had compiled were for records in M- condition. The records in the pile were not in M- condition. None of them.
OK, I have another story. This one starts, as usual, with an e-mail. The first e-mail came back in April 2015. I replied, but nothing ever came of it. Then, just a few weeks ago, there was another e-mail from the same person, totally of the blue. This was the text, verbatim:
“Top jazz artist’s
Cotrane , gerald wilson ,st you’d, ray brown, jimmy smith, felonious monk, Eddie Harris , carmen macrae, jazz laboratorylaboratory, gene Simmons, Dexter gordon , stan gets ext.
Give me good price I’ll sell.
‘Miles Davis,chico hamilton about 80 or more.”
I wrote back, asking for more detail and perhaps some pictures. The first photo came back and it didn’t show much at all. No valuable Coltrane, Stan Gets, or Felonious Monk in the picture. Instead there were a lot of records by Gloria Lynne. I wrote back asking for more details and pictures of the Coltrane or Dexter Gordon or Miles Davis. A few more pictures came back. This was the first one:
Obviously, my correspondent had done a little homework between the first few emails and this one. So, of course it is Jackie McLean, The New Tradition on Ad Lib, and yes my interest was piqued. Who would have thought, one of the rarest of the rare jazz LPs among a collection previously highlighted by titles such as Gloria Lynne Intimate Moments and Miss Lorraine Ellison Heart And Soul?
“Honey, how much money do we have in our bank account? I want to buy some jazz records.” That was what I asked my wife, the darling Mrs. JC-A, two weeks ago.
There was a rumor circulating around town that there was a pretty nice collection of records up for sale by a private seller. Seems he had spoken to all the record stores in the area. A few of them had been out to his house to inspect the collection, but no one was willing to either commit to what he was looking to get for the records or had turned him off. Imagine that. A record store employee with an attitude. A friend of a friend who worked at a local record store finally squeezed a phone number for the seller out of his boss at the store, when they also decided to pass. Over a thousand records in the collection, but no way for a record store to quickly get in and out of the transaction was the explanation. Atlanta is a mediocre jazz record town, with rock and southern blues (think the Allman Brothers) being the local taste. People like you and me are certainly the exception.
You will now be treated to a treatise covering more than you ever wanted to know about Blue Note 45s. So from now on, if you do happen to run across any interesting Blue Note 45s, you can do a search at Jazz Collector for this article and the shared knowledge of the community will be available for as long as I pay the bills to keep the site up and running. Here’s how I came by this newfound knowledge, which I wasn’t seeking, but which I will now share for others who may also not be seeking it. It started, as these things often do, with an e-mail inquiry, as follows:
Thanks to Lennib for spotting this one: Thelonious Monk Plays, Prestige 189. This was an original 10-inch pressing, listed among the very nice 10-inch records we mentioned the other day. This one was also very nice, probably in M- condition for both the record and the cover. Even in this condition, the price was quite a surprise, selling for $1,136.11. That has to be the highest price we’ve seen for a 10-inch Prestige and, frankly, there’s no explanation we can come up with, other than the likely reality that two people really, really wanted this record and the bid the bidding up. From what we can see, the other records in this batch sold for prices that you would typically expect, given the titles and condition, including:
I happened to notice some nice 10-inch jazz vinyl on eBay this morning, so let’s start today’s post with The Amazing Bud Powell Volume 2, Blue Note 5041. This is an original 10-inch pressing that looks to be in M- condition, although the seller is not a record person and didn’t actually attempt to grade it. It looks quite lovely in the pictures, and that is definitely one of my favorite Blue Note covers. The bidding is now in the range of $235 with more than two days left and I would expect this LP to sell for quite a bit more. The seller has several other nice 10-inch LPs for sale, including Horace Silver Quintet, Blue Note 5062. This is also an original pressing, and the description is similar to the Powell record, no actual grading, but an implication that this one is also in M- condition for the record and the cover. The current price is around $125.
While we’re on the subject of 10-inch Blue Notes, there is also:
Oh, those Blue Notes. Look at this one: Horace Silver, Blowin’ the Blues Away, Blue Note 4017. This was an original pressing with the West 63rd Street address, deep grooves, ear, etc. It was listed in M- condition for the record and M- for the cover. It sold for $355 with only four bidders. This is a great album, one of Silver’s very best, but I’ve never viewed it as a top-shelf collectible only because it seemed to be more available than many of the other Blue Notes. Perhaps I had an assumption that because Silver was one of Blue Note’s most popular artists they would have printed more copies of his records. Plus, this one had what would prove to be a jazz classic in Sister Sadie. I realize I have not been diligent in updating the Jazz Collector Price Guide, but still the highest price we had recorded for this record was just about $200. Does this new high-water mark surprise me? Not at all. Hey, it’s near mint, it’s a great album, it’s an original Blue Note. Nothing would surprise me. As they say in the commercials: “Priceless.”
I had my eye on this Blue Note beauty, but wouldn’t pull the trigger:
I was lying in bed at about 3:30 in the morning unable to sleep so I put some nice ballad music on my iTunes and the song “Detour Ahead” came on from the Sarah Vaughan album After Hours At the London House and I thought to myself, gee, that is one of my favorite live albums of all time. It’s great music and there’s those outtakes on “Thanks for the Memory” and the whole concept was quite unusual, setting up a live recording date at a club in the wee small hours of the morning and inviting other musicians who had finished up their gigs to make up a large portion of the audience. And then, still unable to sleep, my mind started racing through its database of jazz records to come up with my favorite live recordings and the next thing I know it’s 4:30 in the morning and I’m still not asleep. But at least I have an interesting post for Jazz Collector, and that is my list of favorite live jazz albums. I decided to take the Sarah record off the list and just concentrate on instrumental records. Perhaps I’ll do the vocals at a later date. Meanwhile, I offer for your perusal:
A couple of quick things before I get down to a real post about real jazz vinyl.
My son sent me this article 18 Signs You Are Addicted to Collecting Vinyl. You’ll enjoy. Everyone here pretty much knows that he’s an addict, so it’s not a question of which of these applies to you, it’s a question of which ones apply the most to you. I counted about half for me, including all the ones about home decor.
For those of you in Manhattan next Monday (not me, unfortunately), there will be a memorial service for Horace Silver at 7 p.m. downtown on the Lower East Side at the St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church. I’m assuming that, because it is being publicized, it will be open to the public. Maybe I’ll change my plans and try to get there.
Here’s one to break your heart. It certainly broke mine. I was having dinner with a friend last night and he said he recently knew of a family wherein someone passed away who had a collection of about 20,000 records. The family didn’t make much of an effort to sell the records or find a home for them. The tried a couple of libraries, but didn’t even call any record stores. My friend forgot to tell them about me. The records ended up in a dumpster. Seriously.