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:
You may recall several weeks ago I wrote a post for The Lovely Mrs. JC. It wasn’t entirely altruistic: She was seeking help from the Jazz Collector community in acquiring a birthday gift for me, preferably an original Blue Note that would fill a gap in my collection (A Blue Note Birthday). Helping her was, of course, helping myself. Well, it is a milestone birthday and the day has arrived and, as you can see from the accompanying picture, my birthday wish has been fulfilled, quite nicely I must say. I also promised I would tell you the story that went with the gift, so here it is, or at least as much as I can ascertain from The Lovely Mrs. JC. I will say that after my plea to the Jazz Collector community there was hardly a groundswell of enthusiasm. The Lovely Mrs. JC received one email. About a week after the initial post I asked her how it was going and she said not so well, so I put up another subtle reminder or two on Jazz Collector. Perhaps I was too subtle, for nothing came in. I gave her an updated wish list with a couple more records and she told me she would follow up with the one person who responded and we decided to leave it at that and I was not to ask about it anymore, lest I run the risk of ruining any suprise. She didn’t
Just got an email from the Jazz Record Center that they have a new auction up this week, so let’s take a look and see what’s there:
This one has a start price of $2,000, and it’s already gotten a bid, so we should expect quite a high price: Lee Morgan, Candy, Blue Note 1590. This is an original pressing in what is described as “near-new” condition, perhaps played once. The cover looks to be equally pristine.
Here’s another we wouldn’t mind putting on our own shelves: Elmo Hope, Meditations, Prestige 7010. This is an original New York yellow-label pressing, also in “near new” condition for the record and M- for the cover. The start price is $400 and there are no bidders yet, but there will be.
Bill Evans, Portrait in Jazz, Riverside 315. This is an original deep groove pressing with the small reel logos on the label, as opposed to the larger reels, which I had forgotten was a distinguishing characteristic of Riverside. Someday, perhaps in 2013, I will go through all of the vast research we have accumulated here at Jazz Collector and put together a more definitive guide to what makes an original pressing on various labels. I think the information is here on the site, it just needs to be mined. Anyway, this one is in near new condition and has a start price of $200.
Tommy Flanagan, The Cats, New Jazz 8217. This was an original pressing in M- condition for the record and cover. It was also a review copy. It sold for $535. I’ve had this record for a while. I traded it for it years ago: I had a broken leg at the time and was stuck in my friend’s basement with all of his records, Blue Notes, Prestiges, the whole works. I was very good and just looked. In my collection I have this one with my Flanagans, although the temptation is to put it with the Coltranes. I’m often reorganizing, so maybe I’ll move it around some day.
This is one of my favorite jazz collectibles, although it’s not jazz vinyl: To Bird With Love, by Francis Paudras. This is a book from 1981, about the most loving tribute to Bird you could find this side of Irving Kalus’ Ornithology. As noted by Fred in his listing, which you should take a look at, the book was printed once with no more than 1,000 copies, probably 500. I bought this when it first came out, from Fred, and I’ve treasured it ever since. It now has a prominent shelf on my new shelves in The Berkshires. This one sold for $887.79.
The Miles Davis Columbia records with Coltrane, and even the next generation, are becoming more collectible it seems. The music is certainly uniformly great. Here are a few from the Jazz Record Center auction:
Let’s catch up on the results of the latest jazz vinyl auction from the Jazz Record Center. I follow their auctions closely because, to me, they are the most reputable of all dealers and, therefore, I see their auctions as fully reflective of market realities, no hype.
Zoot Sims, Down Home, Bethlehem 6051. This was an original red-label pressing in M- condition for both the record and the cover. It sold for $510. I recently picked up my first copy of this record and listened to it the other day. Quite nice: Great Zoot and nice to hear early Dave McKenna. The copy I purchased is in M- condition for the vinyl and VG+ for the cover. Very pleased.
Sonny Rollins, The Sound of Sonny, Riverside 241. This was an original white label pressing in what looked to be M- condition for both the record and the cover. The price was $426. This one went for a little more than usual: Sonny Rollins, Sonny Boy, Prestige 7207. The record looked to be M- and the cover was probably VG++, with a couple of minor blemishes. It sold for $170.39.
Grachan Moncur III, Evolution, Blue Note 4153. This was an original New York USA pressing in M- condition for both the record and the cover. It sold for $688.90. Wow.
Lee Konitz, Tranquility, Verve 8281. This was an original pressing with the trumpeter logo. It was in M- condition for the vinyl and probably VG++ for the cover. It sold for $111.87.
We always like to watch the auctions from the Jazz Record Center because they are a nice gauge of the overall market. Here are a few items from their latest auction, starting with: Sonny Rollins, The Sound of Sonny, Riverside 241. This is an original pressing with the white labels. It is listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The start price is $200 and so far there are no bidders, but we’d expect that to change. We’ve seen copies of this record sell for more than $500 in the Jazz Collector Price Guide.
Bud Powell’s Moods, Norgran 1064. This is an original yellow label pressing. The record and the cover both look to be in M- condition. It has a cover design by David Stone Martin and has a start price of $100. We’d also expect this one to sell, right?
The bidding has already started on this one: Dizzy Reece, Star Bright, Blue Note 4023. This is an original pressing that also looks to be in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The auction closes in about five days and the bidding is now in the $260 range.
When I slipped off the face of the Jazz Collector earth last week there was a pending auction I was watching from the Jazz Record Center. So, just to complete my updating process, here are some of the jazz records from that auction:
Man, some of the Eric Dolphy records are going for big bucks. The latest example: Eric Dolphy in Europe Volume 1, Prestige 7304. This was an original pressing with the yellow label — near the end of the cycle for yellow-label Prestiges. The cover was in the original shrink wrap and both record and cover were in M- condition. this one sold for $565.55.
Bill Evans, Interplay, Riverside 9445. This was an original stereo pressing with the black labels. The record and cover were in M- condition. The price was $191.38.
Here were a couple of Candids: Charles Mingus, Mingus, Candid 8021. This was an original pressing with the deep grooves and it was in great condition, M- all the. It also had a promo stamp. Nice cover, right? Also features Eric Dolphy and Booker Ervin. You’d think it would be worth more than $115.50 but, alas, that was the sale price. Charles Mingus (et al), Newport Rebels, Candid 8022. This too was an original deep groove mono pressing in M- condition. It sold for $113.50.
Time to update the $1,000 bin and there is quite a lot to update, not counting some of the ones we’ve watched recently, such as the Hank Mobley 1568 and others from the recent Jazz Record Center auction. Here goes:
Paul Gonsalves, Boom-Jackie-Boom-Chick, Vocalion 587. This was an original British pressing that looks to be in M- condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. It sold for $1,593.88.
Lee Morgan, Candy, Blue Note 1590. This was an original pressing with the West 63rd Street address and it was in VG++ condition for the record and the cover. It sold for $1,578.99.
This was a surprise to sell for such a high price tag: Clifford Brown Memorial Album, Blue Note 1526. This was an original Lexington Avenue pressing with the framed cover. It was in M- condition for the record and probably VG++ for the cover. It sold for $1,567.
Jackie McLean, The New Tradition, Ad Lib 6601. This was an original pressing. The cover was VG+, but the record was in VG or worse condition, based on the seller’s description. It sold for $1,376.11.
Finally, here’s one we meant to include from the Jazz Record Center auction because it was actually in the $3,000 bin:
Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. This was an original pressing of one of the rarest and most valuable of all jazz records and it was sold by the most reputable of all jazz sellers, the Jazz Record Center in New York. The record was in M- condition and the cover looked like VG++. We’ve seen this record sell for more than $5,000 in the past on the Jazz Collector Price Guide. Not this time. This one sold for a mere $3,362.
Presenting Ernie Henry, Riverside 222. This was also from the Jazz Record Center and it was an original white label pressing that looked to be in quite lovely condition, M- for both the record and the cover. This one sold for $510. Great cover, isn’t it? Perfection, really, with the great picture and his eyes closed and the scripted typeface with the finger pointing to Ernie. Love it. Great record too.
This seller had a few interesting records from the Prestige New Jazz label, including:
Clifford Brown Quartet, Blue Note 5047. This was an original 10-inch Lexington Avenue pressing. The record was in M- condition and the cover looked like it was probably VG++. The price was $900.12. That’s the highest price we’ve ever recorded for this album in the Jazz Collector Price Guide.
Speaking of new highs, this was one from the recent Jazz Record Center auction: Grachan Moncur III, Some Other Stuff, Blue Note 4177. This was in M- condition and sold for $775.43. As we’re seeing pretty consistently, these later original Blue Notes are really increasing in value. I had sold a copy of this record for around $500 a couple of years ago and that was, by far, the highest price we’d seen up to that point.
Sonny Clark Trio, Time 70010. This was an original pressing rated VG++ for the record and VG+ for the cover, even though the headline stated it was M-. Pretty interesting/deceptive move by the seller. It sold for $699.99.
Look at the price on this original Riverside:
It was interesting watching the recent auctions of autographed vinyl and ephemera from the Jazz Record Center. With autographed items there’s always going to be a question of authenticity but there’s no reason to believe these items weren’t genuine. There are autographs and then there are autographs — I remember a couple of years ago there was an auction of a letter from Bill Evans to John Coltrane that sold for $38,000. There was nothing in this grouping that came close to matching that in either uniqueness or value, but there was some nice prices nonetheless, including:
John Coltrane and Milt Jackson, Bags and Trane, Atlantic 1368. This one, which me mentioned the other day, was signed by Coltrane, Jackson and Hank Jones. It sold for $758. Others: Miles Davis, Early Miles, Prestige 7168. This record is an early reissue, with a yellow label. This also has autographs By Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins. It sold for $377. 89. This is not a record we track often in the Jazz Collector Price Guide because it is not an original but, suffice to say, it would not normally sell for that amount sans autographs. One more: Duke Ellington, Such Sweet Thunder, Columbia 1033. This was an original pressing signed by Ellington. It sold for $191.38. Under normal circumstances, no autograph, this is really like a $10 or $20 record.
How much would you like a John Coltrane autograph? I know I would. This is from the Jazz Record Center: John Coltrane, Bags and Trane, Atlantic 1368. This is listed as an original mono pressing with the red and purple labels — although, for the live of me, I still can’t get the original Atlantics straight once they are past the black labels — but the key to this record is that it is signed by Coltrane, Milt Jackson and Hank Jones. The record and cover appear to be in about VG++ condition. The price is around $750 with more than two days to go. From the same auction is a Jazz at the Philharmonic program from 1956 with a bunch of cool autographs, including Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Connie Kay, Milt Jackson, Roy Eldridge and Flip Phillips. There’s one bidder for this one, so far, and the price is $100.
Tags: Atlantic Records, Dizzy Gillespie Autograph, Hank Jones, Hank Jones Autograph, Jazz At the Philharmonic, Jazz Record Center, John Coltrane, John Coltrane Autograph, Jutta Hipp, Milt Jackson, Milt Jackson Autograph, Roy Eldridge Autograph, Stan Getz Autograph
Thelonious Monk, Brilliant Corners, Riverside 226. This was an original pressing with the white labels. It was listed in VG+ condition for the vinyl and VG++ for the cover and I recall the seller as being very reputable from previous dealings, as buyer and seller. As I was packing my records to move, I noticed that my copy of Brilliant Corners was a blue-label pressing and it was in maybe VG+ condition. I put this one on my watch list to potentially bid on it, not just as potential fodder for Jazz Collector. I think I would have gone to at least $180 for an original pressing. This one sold for $100, so I missed out.
I also had my eye on this for my own collection, but I knew the price would go way beyond my comfort zone — and it did: Lee Morgan Sextet, Blue Note 1541. This was an original Lexington Avenue pressing and the vinyl was in M- condition. The cover was VG+. It sold for $1,475. One of these days I’ll find a reasonable copy for the right price. Right?
It’s always interesting to watch the Jazz Record Center auctions on eBay and the latest is closing today. Here are a few of the items:
John Jenkins and Kenny Burrell, Blue Note 1573. This is an original pressing that looks to be in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The start price on this was $1,000 and there is a bid on it, so it will be sold and will enter the virtual $1,000 bin.
John Coltrane, Giant Steps, Atlantic 1311. Here’s a more clear explanation of this than we’ve heard before. Jazz Record Center refers to this as the “pinwheels” label, although we’ve most often seen it described as “bulls-eye.” It is described as an “original deep-groove second press,” which kind of makes sense. It’s still valued among collectors, even though it is not a first press. This one looks to be in M- condition for the record and the cover and is already at more than $170. Speaking of original Coltranes on Atlantic: John Coltrane and Milt Jackson, Bags and Trane, Atlantic 1368. This is an original mono pressing with the red and purple labels, although I’m still not 100 percent sure how to distinguish it as a first pressing. This one is in M- condition and so far there are no takers at $50.
With apologies to the author for my tardiness, here is an excellent guest column looking once again at Fred Cohen’s guide to Blue Note records. A version of this was previously published by the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors and Bill was gracious enough to do a new version for us here at Jazz Collector. I’m sure this will provoke much food for thought.
Vinyl Coverings, by Bill Schweitzer
The Blue Note Original Record Guide
Some mention of Blue Note Records appears in almost every column I’ve written for the IAJRC,. It is the single most discussed, collectible, and expensive LP label in jazz. There are Web sites and books dedicated to the music, packaging variations, photography and history. The nature of an “original” issue, with seemingly unending anomalies, has been debated in minute detail. Not without cause. An “original” can fetch astronomical prices on Ebay and elsewhere. So, if you’rebuying or selling, it’s important to know what is or isn’t a true “original.” Help has arrived.
Fred Cohen, long time IAJRC member, has just published “Blue Note Records: A Guide For Identifying Original Pressings”, a Jazz Record Center Publication. At $45 it’s available at Jazz Record Center, 236 west 26 Street, #804, NY, NY 10001, or on the Web at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s been a long time coming and worth the wait. The objective of the book is to be a guide for determining original pre-Liberty issue Blue Notes (to BST 84252). With much acknowledged help, Fred has succeeded admirably. For 90 percent of the catalog, we now have a definitive model of what is an original issue. This is a great tool for sellers and buyers alike. However, it may also bring tears to the eyes of some folks who paid big bucks for a record only to find
Our friends at the Jazz Record Center have a new auction going this week and it’s always fun to watch their items to get a good gauge on the market. So far, it looks like a little bit of slow going. Here are some of the items:
Art Blakey, The Jazz Messengers at the Cafe Bohemia, Volume 1, Blue Note 1507. This is an original Lexington AVenue pressing with the deep grooves, frame cover, flat rim. It looks to be in M- condition for the record and probably around VG+ for the cover. The start price on this is $100 and as of now there are no bids at all. No bids on this one yet either: Clifford Brown Quartet, Blue Note 5047. This is an original 10-inch pressing that looks to be in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The start price is $250. This one, no surprise, is getting some action: Tommy Flanagan Overseas, Prestige 7134. This is an original pressing that looks to be in M- condition for the record and at least VG+ for the cover, but more likely VG++ to M-, depending upon how you look at things. This one is already more than $1,000 and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t make the $2,000 bin, but I won’t be shocked, since this seems like a bit of a soft time in the market.
Here are a few from the Jazz Record Center auction: Kenny Dorham, Quiet Kenny, New Jazz 8225. This one was in beautiful condition, M- all the way around. It sold for $2,380.99. Sonny Clark, Dial S For Sonny, Blue Note 1570. This was another beauty that was M- for the record and probably VG++ for the cover, depending upon how you view things such as small splits and slight wear. It sold for $2,039. Kenny Dorham, Afro-Cuban, Blue Note 1535. This was in M- condition for the record and somewhat less for the cover. The price was $1,613.88. And the big one: Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. This was an original pressing in M- condition for the record and between VG++ and M- for the cover, depending upon how you grade such things. The price was $3,618.
Here’s a $1,000 record that was not sold by the Jazz Record Center:
We could be looking at some record prices for jazz vinyl this week. The Jazz Record Center has a significant auction of some very high-end collectibles in beautiful condition. With two days to go several of these are more than $1,000 and $2,000 and at least one will certainly surpass $3,000 and perhaps $4,000. Here are a few to watch:
Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. This is one of the rarest of the rare, and it already owns the top price in the Jazz Collector Price Guide. This copy is in beautiful condition, M- for the record and the cover. The current price is $2,981.
Curtis Fuller, The Opener, Blue Note 1567. Here’s another one that looks to be in beautiful condition, with a little bit of issues with the cover. This one is priced at $1,575 as of this writing.
Hank Mobley Quintet, Blue Note 1550. This is another original pressing. The condition looks great, perhaps not M-, however. This one is currently at $2,036.
Feb 15, 2011 Guest Columns
We seem to be inspiring our readers these days. We have Nick’s Tales of the Hunt in some of the comments, and now Dan Forté, who wrote a guest column last week on Ed Beach, is back with a new column on buying records in New York when vinyl was king. This one brings back a lot of nice memories for me. Here’s Dan:
All Sales Are Vinyl – On the Hunt for Jazz LPs During the 1970s in NYC, by Dan Forté
Before the invention of the CD player in 1982 and prior to the major jazz record labels beginning their exhaustive reissue programs in earnest, there was little else one could do but search the dusty bins of the friendly, neighborhood record stores for those coveted out-of-print jazz LPs to add to their collection. For jazz vinyl lovers in New York City on the prowl for “cut-outs” of out-of-print (hereafter referred to simply as OOP) releases during the early 1970s (way before Fred Cohen’s Jazz Record Center and eBay), there was a wide range of record emporiums sure to strike a responsive chord in the memory banks of those old enough – and fortunate enough – to remember them. Here are a few:
Feb 5, 2011 Blue Note
Thanks to everyone for the kind birthday wishes. For all of you hoping to experience the pursuit of a rare jazz record vicariously through my adventure yesterday . . . I have to disappoint, unfortunately. After a lovely lunch with with the young JCs — who treated, by the way — the lovely Mrs. JC and I headed to the Jazz Record Center with great hope and enthusiasm. We got there, I said a quick hello to Fred and then started perusing the bins. In the background I could hear Fred and Mrs. JC engaged in lively conversation. I worried briefly that she might be making a deal to sell my entire collection, but it was only a fleeting concern. I started with the new arrivals and was a bit disappointed when there was nothing there of interest to me. There was a nice original Bud Powell on Norgran, but I already own a copy. An Art Farmer on New Jazz, but it was a reissue. There were a couple of other decent records, but nothing that would really add to my collection. I then went around the store, bin after bin, in search of that one record that would commemorate the day. I went through the Mobleys, Morgans, McLeans . . . and Getz . . . Dexter . . . Blakey . . . Bird . . . Fats . . . maybe a nice 10-incher on Savoy, or even a Bird 78 on Dial? Alas, I didn’t find anything. But I had one last hope.
Feb 4, 2011 Jazz Memoirs
Last week I was driving along the Cross Island Parkway in Queens with the lovely Mrs. JC when she turned to me seriously and said that it was time to discuss what I wanted for my birthday, which happens to be today. I couldn’t think of anything and, in her always infinite wisdom, she asked what I loved to do. “I love to buy records.” What else? Of course, she said, that’s what we’ll do. So today the lovely Mrs. JC and I are heading into Manhattan to have lunch with our two junior JCs and then we are going downtown to the Jazz Record Center on 26th Street where I have carte blanche to purchase any record(s) of my choosing (plus the new Blue Note Guide). I must say that through the years I have never been much of a customer
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Tags: Jazz Record Center
The latest auction from the Jazz Record Center is closing today, with some interesting items, such as: The Wes Montgomery Trio, Riverside 310. This is an original pressing in near mint condition for both the record and the cover. We haven’t seen this record sell for high prices very often, but this one will: It is already close to $175. Sonny Clark, Leapin’ and Lopin’, Blue Note 4091. This is an original pressing with the New York USA labels. It is in M- condition and is priced at more than $300 with a few hours to go. Did you see the Sonny Clark articles referred to by Mike in the Reader Forum? They are terrific. Go to the Reader Forum for the links. Here’s one more: Dexter Gordon, One Flight Up, Blue Note 4176. This is also an original pressing in beautiful condition. It is currently in the $180 price range.
The folks at Jazz Record Center have a new eBay auction up now. It’s always interesting to watch their stuff because their strong brand name ensures top market value. Here are a few of the records we’ll be watching from this auction:
Art Pepper, Modern Art, Intro 606. This is an original deep groove pressing that is in M- condition for both the record and the cover. It has a start price of $750 and already has a bidder, so you can expect that this one may be headed for the $1,000 bin.
Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers, Blue Note 1518. This is a West 63rd Street pressing, whereas the original first pressing would have been Lexington Avenue. I’m curious about this second press Blue Notes, which many of our readers think of as originals, because their prices have gone up quite a bit recently. I just bought a West 63rd copy of the first Miles Davis Blue Note, which I’ll be selling at some point, either on eBay or from my basement. This one is in “near-new” condition and already has a bidder at $100.
I’ve always liked this record and I do, fortunately, have an original pressing: Lou Donaldson, Swing and Soul, Blue Note 1566. This one is also in very nice M- condition and has a bidder at a $350 start price.
Mike Falcon has promised a review of the new Fred Cohen book, and here it is:
Blue Note Records A Guide to Indentifying Original Pressings
A Review By Mike Falcon
For as long as I have been collecting Blue Notes there has been a large chorus asking for a complete guide to navigate the complexities of what constitutes a first pressing. And now they have it. Frederick Cohen has given us “Blue Note Records, A Guide to Identifying Original Pressings” an authoritative manual on the Blue Note discography. This includes the EPs, 10” LPs, and all of the pre-Liberty LPs in both Mono and Stereo.
I first went to the Jazz Record Center in 2002. I had never seen a record store like it. Everywhere I looked was something interesting and new to me. I spent a long while thumbing through records looking at the photos and memorabilia on the wall, and thinking that if I ever win the Lotto I’ll be back here first. I’ve never won the lotto but I’ve been back a few times, always with less money than I would have liked. I had spoken to Fred a few times and was always impressed by how informative he was. I would think, “This guy should write a book”. Well he has.
“Blue Note Records, A Guide to Identifying Original Pressings” is a nicely bound 6 ½” x 9 ½” inch black book with the Blue Train label with red arrows pointing to the various identifying features on the cover. It’s written more like a compendium or research paper and is not in the narrative form. It starts with an introduction, preface, and acknowledgements, before getting to the list of illustrations and glossary. The glossary and illustrations are necessary to understand what you are reading when sorting through the pressing guide. The illustrations show what is meant by all of the famous Blue Note esotery. This includes examples of the famous
Sep 2, 2010 Autographs
We’ve written off and on here at Jazz Collector about autographs. Our favorite was the letter from Bill Evans to John Coltrane that was auctioned for $38,000 five years ago. If you want to check that out, click here. We were reminded of this when we received an email announcing the latest auction from the Jazz Record Center and we saw that they are selling a John Coltrane autograph. This one is not so enticing as the Evans letter, but it is a Coltrane autograph and there can’t be too many of those, can there? Anyway, it has a start price of $100 and there is already one bidder. This is one that I think will entice jazz collectors everywhere: A nice, small Coltrane autograph, easy to frame, easy to hang up on a wall, a very nice item to show your friends and family. Hmmmm, perhaps I’m talking myself into something here.