Guest Column: A Score For the Ages

We haven’t had a guest column in a while, but here’s a good one from a reader who asks that we refer to him simply as Scott. Enjoy.

It started with a broken turntable. The new turntable my wife bought me at the HiFi shop some three years ago sat unused, not properly set up, broken. I know, I know. Just too busy.  High stress military career, moving, a combat tour in Iraq, and two teenage boys got in the way of my budding interest in vinyl. The day finally came and the turntable was fixed.  Off I went to the estate sales as usual. Not to find vinyl, but to search for tube HiFi gear or vintage speakers.

This particular sale — just last week — was in a 1930s Tudor of perhaps 3,500 square feet.  The owners had obviously lived there since the ‘50s. A sweep of the house revealed no tube equipment, no speakers, and nothing much else of interest. I did note several stacks of records against the wall of one of the bedrooms upstairs. I now had a turntable so I went to look.  I sat on the floor next to another fellow and asked him what was good. He talked about the Riverside label and we chatted. He picked out several and cut his stack to ten records, paid, and left. The stacks were almost all ‘50s jazz with hip covers.  I selected ten, paid the lady the two bucks a record, and went home and played one.

The first record I put on was Helen Merrill (yeah that one). I loved it. I put on another. This one a Blue Note. Wow. Cool. Remember, I didn’t know a Blue Note from a blue bird, but I do know what I like. I went back and bought another 18 just because I liked them including 11 first-issue deep-groove, Blue Notes including BNs 1509, 1518, 1537, 1578, 1537, 1540, 1513, 1545, 1560, 1544, 1560, 1562. Remember, I have no idea what these LPs are selling for. Read more

A New Batch of Jazz Vinyl For The New Year

Happy New Year to everyone. Here are a few more items going into the Jazz Collector Price Guide. No links on these.

Jimmy Raney Quartet, New Jazz 1101. I like this one because of the maroon and white label, which you rarely see. There were just a few 10-inch New Jazz LPs, so they are pretty cool, and pretty rare. This one was probably in VG or VG+ condition for the record and the vinyl. It sold for $157.50.

Now a bunch of Blue Notes:

Lee Morgan, Lee-Way, Blue Note 4034. This was in M- condition for both the record and the cover. It sold for $600.

Lou Donaldson, Wailing With Lou, Blue Note 1545. This was an original West 63rd pressing in M- condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. It sold for $688.

Lee Morgan, Candy, Blue Note 1590. Also an original pressing, of course, this one in VG+ condition for the record and the cover. It sold for $1,343.

Dexter Gordon, One Flight Up, Blue Note 4176. This one was in M- condition for the record and VG for the cover. It sold for $200.

Hank Mobley, Soul Station, Blue Note 4031. Record was M- and cover was M-. Price was $1,465.

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No Holiday For Watching Jazz Vinyl

It may be the holiday season around much of the world, but eBay never takes a vacation. Neither, apparently, does Jazz Collector. Here is some interesting jazz vinyl we’ve been watching on eBay. We’ll start with the $1,000 been. This one is still for sale: Hank Mobley, Hank, Blue Note 1560. This is an original pressing that’s listed in near mint condition for both the record and the cover. The price is already more than $1,100 and there are still two days to go.  This is also a regular to the $1,000 bin: Kenny Dorham, Quiet Kenny, New Jazz 8225. This was an original pressing, deep grooves, purple label, and it was listed in VG++ condition for both the record and the cover. It sold for $1,415. Merry Christmas for someone. John Jenkins with Kenny Burrell, Blue Note 1573. This was an original pressing that was either M- or very close to M-, based on the seller’s description. It sold for $1,156.99.

Here are a few interesting items closing in the next day or so:

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Blue Note Jazz Vinyl For the $1,700 Bin

OK, so when did this become a $1,700 record: Donald Byrd, Byrd in Flight, Blue Note 4048? This was an original pressing and it was in M- condition. It was also a review copy. Who would have suspected it would get a top bid of $1,712? I certainly didn’t. Our previous high price for this record in the Jazz Collector Price Guide was more in the range of $300.

From the same seller came a batch of other nice collectibles, also at top prices, including: Rocky Boyd, Ease It, Jazz Time 001. This was an original pressing. The record looked to be M- and the cover was probably VG++. It sold for $668. I owned this record at one time but don’t recall that I ever listened to it. I wound up trading it for something not nearly as collectible. I know this record benefits from the presence of Kenny Dorham, for both musicality and collectibility. How is the record and what can we learn about Rocky Boyd?

Also:

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Jazz Vinyl Today: A Bevy of Blue Notes

Lots of Blue Notes on today’s watch list, starting with: Cliff Jordan, Cliff Craft, Blue Note 1582. This was an original pressing that was listed in VG++ condition for both the record and the cover. It sold for $1,370. We’ve seen this one sell for more than $1,300 in the Jazz Collector Price Guide, but this is quite a hefty price nonetheless.

Kenny Drew Undercurrent, Blue Note 4059. This one had the West 63rd Street address and, from the looks of the pictures, it had deep grooves on both sides, certainly on Side 2. That would make it original either way, no? This was described as being in VG condition, and the cover certainly looked no better than VG. It sold for $427.

Gigi Gryce/Clifford Brown Sextet, Blue Note 5048. This was an original 10-inch LP that was defined as being in “very fine” condition, which, the seller implies, is actually M- condition. The pictures certainly looked very fine indeed, if not M-.  It sold for $372. 10.

If it’s a Blue Note, and it’s one of the coveted artists, the record or cover does not have to be in great condition to fetch a high price. Case in point:

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On The Hunt: Sonny Clark, Jutta, Prez

Let’s catch up on some more jazz records we’ve been watching on eBay, including these from the Jazz Record Center auction this week.

Sonny Clark Trio, Blue Note 1579. This was an original West 63rd pressing that looked to be in at least VG++ condition for both the record and the cover. It sold for $1,525. We’ve seen Sonny’s Crib and Cool Struttin’ consistently break the $2,000 and even the $3,000 barrier, but this is the highest price we’ve recorded for this record in the Jazz Collector Price Guide.   

Jutta Hipp With Zoot Sims, Blue Note 1530. This was an original Lexington Avenue pressing that looked to be in beautiful M- condition for the record and probably VG++ for the cover. The price was $2,678.

Lester Young Collates Number Two, Clef 124. This was an original 10-inch pressing with the nice cover by David Stone Martin. It looked to be in M- condition for the record

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Updating the $2,000 Jazz Vinyl Bin

I’ve been checking out some of the recent higher-priced jazz vinyl auctions on eBay and came across some interesting items, including this one, which is completely new to me: Jazz Quintet 60, Metronome 15124. This is an original 1962 Danish pressing featuring Bent Axen and Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen (he must have been a teenager) along with Bjarne Rostvold, Allan Botschinsky and Niels Husum. Don’t know anything about the record, other than it must be highly collectible. This copy was in M- condition for the vinyl and VG++ for the cover and sold for $2,392 with nearly 350 page views. The seller was SweeDeeDee, who had a bunch of nice items on eBay last week.

Here’s a beauty from my friends at Infinity Records on Long Island: Sonny Clark, Dial S For Sonny, Blue Note 1570. This was an original pressing with the West 63rd address, deep grooves, etc., and it was listed in M- condition for the vinyl and what looked to be VG+ for the cover. It sold for $2,100.

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Jazz Vinyl Update: Jackie, Mobley, Burrell, Warhol

Here are some recent jazz vinyl sales that we somehow missed. This one is among the rarest of the rare and collectors seem to covet it regardless of condition: Jackie McLean, The New Tradition, Ad Lib 6601. This one was in VG condition for the vinyl and VG- for the cover. It sold for $688.

Hank Mobley, Mobley’s Message, Prestige 7061. This was an original pressing with the New York address. The record was in VG++ condition and the cover was VG++ as well. The price was $665. I remember this as one of the few collectibles for which I paid top-dollar at Dayton’s back in the early 1980s. In those days, top dollar for this was about $80, and psychologically, that was a tough hump to get over for me, but I spent it. Then, I wound up selling it a few years later for about $200 and my copy now is a Japanese pressing.

I would have thought this next one would have fetched a lot more money, but the listing was a little confusing and the condition of the cover wasn’t described:

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Jazz Vinyl Update: An Argo, A Blue Note, a Verve

Here’s some more jazz vinyl we’ve been watching recently, just to catch up on stuff:

Paul Gonsalves, Cookin’, Argo 626. This was an original pressing with the black labels and the deep grooves. It looked to be in M- or VG++ condition for the record and similar condition for the cover. The seller didn’t actually apply grades, which I think would affect — negatively — the sale price. This one fetched $264, which is the highest price we’ve recorded for this in the Jazz Collector Price Guide, so perhaps  it’s better to not list a condition.

Thad Jones, Detroit-New York Junction, Blue Note 1513. This was an original Lexington Avenue pressing. Love to see those original Lexes, especially when they are in my collection (which this one, unfortunately, is not).  The record was in VG++ condition and the cover was VG+. The price was $767.

This one was a leftover from the recent bobjdukic sale:

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Jazz Vinyl on eBay: Some Blue Notes & A Nice Norgran

I logged onto eBay last night, found a number of interesting records to watch and, with great pride, was able to go to sleep without slipping into the temptation of placing any snipe bids. Progress, right? Anyway, here is some of the jazz vinyl we were watching that closed yesterday:

John Jenkins, welcome to the $1,000 bin: John Jenkins and Kenny Burrell, Blue Note 1573. This was an original deep groove West 63rd Street pressing and it was in M- condition for the record and VG for the cover. It was a reputable seller, there were 11 bids and more than 450 page views and the price was $1,136.55. Not bad in a soft market if, indeed, this can be called a soft market.

Actually, perhaps in retrospect I should have put in a snipe for this one: Sonny Red, Out of the Blue, Blue Note 4034. This was an original pressing in VG+ condition for both the record and the cover. Quite a fair price, depending, of course, on what VG+ means to the buyer and seller. As we’ve learned long ago, VG+ is in the eye of the beholder. I had this record once upon a time but traded it away in a lopsided trade that favored the other guy. Not sure what I was thinking at the time, but I’m more knowledgeable now. So this is one that got away. Getting it back for $283 or so, which is what this one sold for, would be quite a coup in my eyes.

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