Chasing Trane Tonight; Chasing Vinyl Forever

For those of you in the U.S., the documentary Chasing Trane will be on television at 10 p.m. tonight as part of the Independent Lens series on PBS. Here’s a video clip they posted on the site. It’s hard to believe that it was already a year ago that I had my mini breakdown as a result of the Presidential election and wrote the essay about how Chasing Trane helped me to cope. I wish I could say that my fears were unfounded but, unfortunately, they weren’t. They may take away the pillars of our democracy and our society, but they can’t take away our music. Or our heroes. Watch it. I will, even though I’ve seen it twice already.

Back to eBay. The other day I mentioned the seller Keca222 and that $4,049.99 copy of the 12-inch Kenny Dorham Afro-Cuban on Blue Note. The seller also had this one: Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. This was a pressing that did not have the New York 23 on one side, which, to some collectors, diminishes its value, although I’ve never seen a clear explanation why that is the case. But, as we know, we collectors can be a bit strange in our predilections, don’t you think? Anyway, this was in VG+ condition for the record and probably EX or Ex+ for the cover. There was the dreaded phrase “feelable scratches,” yet it still sold for $3,650, which is quite a hefty some for this record in that condition, New York 23 or not.

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Tracking Trey Blue Notes

curtis fuller on blue noteThe Jazz Record Center has an auction closing tomorrow and, as is usually the case, there are some interesting records worth watching, including Curtis Fuller, The Opener, Blue Note 1567. This is an original pressing that looks to be in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The bidding is now in the $520 range. In the past I would have said that the Jazz Record Center auctions get top dollar, which makes watching them valuable in tracking the market, but I don’t think that is the case any longer. I think not taking Pay Pal eliminates a portion of the buyers, but it probably eliminates some of the risker potential buyers as well.

This one is from the same auction and the action, so far, is surprisingly subdued: Cannonball Adderley, Somethin’ Else, Blue Note 1595. This is an original pressing that looks to be in M- condition for both the record and the cover. With the auction closing tomorrow, there is only one bid at $200. We’ve seen this record sell for more than $1,000 several times in the Jazz Collector Price Guide, so we’ll see what happens with this copy.

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Recording Record Record Prices

beverlybeverlySpent some time casually perusing eBay for jazz vinyl the other day and here were some of the items I found.

Beverly Kenney Sings For Johnny Smith, Roost 2206. This was an original pressing with the blue label and deep grooves. The record was listed in mint condition and the cover was VG++. There were 18 bids and the record sold for $660. I’m sure there are Beverly Kenney records that have sold for a higher price, but that’s the highest that we’ve ever seen in the Jazz Collector Price Guide.

The same seller had several other interesting items as well, including: Steve Lacy, Evidence with Don Cherry, New Jazz 8271. This was an original purple label pressing listed in near mint condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. This one sold for $687, setting another record for the Jazz Collector Price Guide. And here’s another:

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Records That Are Not Quite Records

wallington new jazzLet’s catch up on a few more jazz records from our watch list, starting with: George Wallington, New York Scene, New Jazz 8207. This was an original pressing with the deep grooves and the purple label. The record and cover both looked to be in VG++ condition. The price was $698, which we though was the highest we’ve ever seen for this record until we looked at the Jazz Collector Price Guide and realized that we’ve seen this one sell for as much as $865. I literally bought a copy of this record for a quarter many years ago, when one of the young workers at Mr. Cheapo in Mineola mistakenly threw it into the bargain bin, for which I have been forever grateful.

That copy of Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’ that we were watching would up selling for $3,507, also not a record, but a pretty hefty price indeed.

I just sold a copy of this record to a dealer, and I would have expected it to get a higher price than it did here:

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Weighing in on Mobley, Catching Up on Newk

mobleyInteresting comments on the previous post. My first exposure to Hank Mobley was as a sideman on some of the records that my dad owned, most prominently Donald Byrd’s A New Perspective and Miles Davis Someday My Prince Will Come. He always struck me as a solid player, but in the early days of discovering jazz it was the more passionate players and the innovators that got my attention: Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon and Stan Getz on tenor and Charlie Parker and Cannonball Adderley on alto. I always relegated Mobley to the second tier, which is certainly no insult when compared to the players I just mentioned. When I became more of a “collector” I was surprised to see the Mobley records so highly valued. So I have turned to him again, often, to reassess, but I always come back to my original assessment. If I want to listen to genius I put on Coltrane or Rollins. Otherwise, Mobley will do just fine. And, as a collector, it’s really nice to look at those original Mobley Blue Notes, Prestiges and Savoys on my shelves and occasionally put them on the turntables. They rarely overwhelm, but they never disappoint.

Meanwhile, while all that discussion has been taking place here at Jazz Collector, there have been auctions going on at eBay, including: Read more

Nice Records, No Bids (So Far)

Lester YoungI’m watching the latest auction from the Jazz Record Center and there are some nice items, but not a lot of action. Wondering if a non-Pay-Pal-policy has any impact on the bidding? Here are a few of the items:

We were talking last week about perhaps less of an interest in some of the earlier pre-bop artists and some of the more mainstream labels, such as Norgran. This one is up for bid: Lester Young, The President, Norgran 1005. This is an original yellow label pressing that looks to be in M- condition for the record and at least VG++ or M- for the cover. The start price is $250 and, as yet, there are no bids with about two days left.

We were also talking about white label Riversides, such as Kenny Dorham, Jazz Contrasts, Riverside 239. This is an original white label pressing in what looks to be M- condition for the record and the cover. The start price is $200 and there are no bids.

I always think this one should sell for more:

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Catching Up With The Jazz Collector Price Guide

dolphyI am taking advantage of the holiday time to update the Jazz Collector Price Guide, which could use some new records. So for the next couple of days, at least, I’ll be following up on records I mentioned earlier, or some I never mentioned at all and somehow missed the first time around. Here goes:

Boy did I have my eyes on this one: Sonny Rollins and Thelonious Monk, Prestige 190. This was an original 10-inch pressing in what looked to be VG++ condition for the record and probably VG for the cover. When I was pondering this there were a few hours to go and the price was just in the $110 range. It wound up selling for $430.

Eric Dolphy, Out to Lunch, Blue Note 84163. This was an original stereo pressing in just VG+ condition for the record and the cover, but it was packaged very nicely and we anticipated it would get a nice bid. It did, topping out at $303.

This was a strange one: Jackie McLean, The New Tradition, Ad-Lib 6601. This was an original pressing in VG+ condition for both the record and the cover. When we first wrote about it, we noted that there was a buy-it-now price of $2,000. We figured someone would grab it up at that price. No one did. However, the bidding ended up at $1,975. Seems to me if you were willing to bid as much as $1,975 for the record, just buy it for $2,000 and save yourself the stress and aggravation.


Four Blue Notes For the $1,000 Bin

Goin' Up -- That's for sure

                    Goin’ Up — That’s for sure

Let’s look at some rare records that we may have missed on eBay:

Louis Smith, Smithville, Blue Note 1594. This was an original pressing in M- condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. It sold for $1,250. That’s not quite the highest price we’ve ever recorded for this record in the Jazz Collector Price Guide, but it’s definitely up there.

This one got a lot of mentions in the comments, but I wanted to point to it specifically in a post so anyone doing a search can easily find it: Freddie Hubbard, Goin’ Up, Blue Note 4056. This was an original pressing that seemed to be in VG+ or better condition for the record and M- for the cover. It sold for, ahem, $1,259. Whenever I’ve thought of this record I’ve thought of it as Goin’ Up, Up, Up based on the front cover, but that’s just a design element, isn’t it? Took me a while to figure that out.

John Coltrane, Blue Train, Blue Note 1577. This was an original pressing in VG+ condition for both the record and the cover. Despite the condition, it still sold for $1,113.

Not sure how this one slipped by us from a couple of months ago: Read more

Chet, Miles, Zoot, Sonny Clark

Back to eBay with a few more recent jazz vinyl auctions, starting with: Chet Baker, Chet, Riverside 299. This looks to be an original pressing in VG+ condition. It sold for $337, which is the highest price we’ve ever recorded for this record in the Jazz Collector Price Guide (although, admittedly, this is not one that have have often followed). Why such a high price tag for this one? It’s got to be the presence of Bill Evans on piano, right?

Sonny Clark Trio, Blue Note 1579. This is an original West 63rd pressing listed in VG+ condition with some minor scratches and EXC for the cover, which seems to be equivalent to VG++ based on the seller’s description. It sold for $760. It used to be records had to be in near mint condition, or close to near mint, to fetch those kinds of collectible prices, but no more. There is a huge demand for any of these high-end collectibles in any condition, and certainly in any condition that will give you a good listening experience.

How about another Blue Note:

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When an Original is Not an Original

I was watching a few jazz vinyl auctions as they closed the other day with some degree of interest because of what I considered to be the clear misuse of the word “original.” Here’s an example: Lee Morgan, Lee-Way, Blue Note 4034. This was labeled as an “original mono pressing from 1964.” What does original mean in this case? It is clearly not a first pressing, since the address on the label is New York USA. The seller is a veteran eBayer and I’ve bought from him a few times and I’ve always had good experiences. So he knows the difference between a real original and a pseudo original. Was a buyer duped in this transaction? Well, there were pictures of the label and the New York USA labels were clearly stated, so if someone thought this was an original first pressing, he was being quite careless and/or was ignorant. It’s hard to tell from the price. The record sold for $136.50, but the back was stained and in VG- condition. My bet is if the listing did not use the word “original” then a second (or third, or fourth) pressing of Lee-Way with a stained back cover would not have sold for more than $100. So the seller probably made a few more bucks and the buyer got a later pressing with a stained cover.

Here’s another one that’s hard to figure:

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