Geez, did you see the final price on that Here Comes Louis Smith record we were watching the other day? It was an original pressing in VG++ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. We predicted it might make it to the $1,000 bin, but didn’t expect it to get into the $2,000 bin, which it did at $2,027. That would make it the highest price we’ve seen for this record, according to Popsike, which, interestingly, already has it posted on their site. So, with a VG+ cover this copy received a price that was more than $500 higher than the previous top price. Not bad.
Meanwhile, I was watching this record and it didn’t sell at all: John Coltrane (et al), Tenor Conclave, Prestige 7074. This was an original New York yellow label pressing, listed in VG+ condition for the record and VG for the cover. The start price was about $400 and there were no bidders.
Let’s look at a few from Prestige and related labels today, starting with Hank Mobley, Mobley’s Message, Prestige 7061. This was an original New York yellow label pressing listed as being in “pristine” condition from a reliable seller. The final price was $715.99, which strikes me as quite a bargain for this record in this condition. Or at least as much as any record for $715 can be a bargain. With this personnel — Mobley, McLean, Byrd, Barry Harris, Doug Watkins and Art Taylor — what would this record go for if it was on the Blue Note Label. I think we’d probably be looking in our metaphorical $2,000 bin.
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.
We’ll start with a rare Blue-Note-free day here at Jazz Collector: Jack Sheldon, The Quartet and the Quintet, Jazz-West 6. This is an original pressing listed in M- condition for the record, although it is probably closer to VG++, and probably VG+ or VG++ for the cover. This is a 1956 record that features Zoot Sims. The price is in the $200 range with about three days to go. I did a quick Google search and am happy to report that Jack Sheldon is still alive. 🙂 I remember him not only as a terrific player but also as a pretty good comedian, playing sidekick on the Merv Griffin show when I was growing up. You wonder about an artist like this in terms of both their legacy and the long-term value of their records in the collectors’ market. Read more
Here’s a few items from the Jazz Collector in box, starting with a note from our friend CeeDee, who is commenting that “it looks like the cost of some Liberty pressing Blue Notes are approaching the price of the originals,” with a bunch of links, including Kenny Burrell, Blue Lights, Blue Note 1597. Not only is this a Liberty pressing, the cover, with the Andy Warhol illustration, is only on VG condition. This one sold for $255, which is quite a change in the market over the past few years. The other big change in the market is the tremendous spike in prices of the United Artists Blue Notes, which were 1980s reissues for the Japanese market. Unfortunately, I sold a lot of my Liberty and United Artists pressings a few years ago on eBay, generally for $10 or $20 apiece, which was the going rate at the time. Fortunately, however, the reason I sold those pressings was because I was able to obtain copies of the originals and these were just duplicates.
I’m back with a completely random batch of records that are currently for sale on eBay, starting with one of my favorite LPs, Jackie McLean, McLean’s Scene, New Jazz 8212. This is an original purple label deep groove pressing listed in VG+ condition for both the record and the cover. The bidding is in the $160 range with four days left. When I think of my favorite alto players, there’s Bird, of course, then Cannonball, then a small group of a few more who were able to create a distinct sound despite the overwhelming presence and influence of Bird. This relatively short list includes Jackie, Paul Desmond, Phil Woods and just a couple of others such as Ernie Henry, who died so young. Then there are Johnny Hodges, who came before Bird and was certainly distinct and marvelous, and Sonny Stitt, who sounded perhaps the most like Bird but could play his ass off and is almost always a joy to put on the turntable, for me at least. Anyway, just some alto musings off the top of my head on a bright Wednesday morning, inspired by McLean’s Scene.
Here are a few more listings sent to me by readers, starting with Walter Davis Jr., Davis Cup, Blue Note 4018. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing from our friends at Euclid Records. The record and cover were both listed in VG++ condition and the final price was $1,254.54. From the same seller was: Johnny Griffin, Volume 2, Blue Note 1559. This was also an original West 63rd Street pressing. The record was VG+ and the cover was only VG, yet it still sold for $1,166, which echoes the point I made the other day about condition being less relevant, as collectors seem to have evolved from wanting to listen to the record to wanting to own the record.
Another reader sent me a question about this record:
I was off eBay for a few days and missed a few big-ticket items, starting with Cliff Jordan and Jon Gilmore, Blowing in From Chicago, Blue Note 1549. This was an original pressing with the New York 23 logo. The record was listed in M- condition and the cover was VG+ with some water stains on the back. The final price was $2,200, the first time to my recollection that this record has ended up in the $2,000 bin. I still don’t own an original pressing of this record and it seems pretty obvious (to me at least) that I won’t be buying one on eBay. This one falls into the same category: Hank Mobley and Lee Morgan, Peckin’ Time, Blue Note 1574. This was an original pressing listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The final price was $2,750, not too bad for a seller with only 98% positive feedback.
Some of you may recall that I had a bad reaction to the election in November and had a bit of a breakdown, totally justified as subsequent events would have it. One thing that helped me through the worst of it was going to the Doc NYC festival and seeing a new John Coltrane documentary called “Chasing Trane.” It was a beautiful and inspirational film that helped me heal and even sent me on a more spiritual path, which surprised the hell out of me. Here’s the original essay I posted on Nov. 25: “Chasing Trane: A Review, An Appreciation, A Spiritual Awakening.”
The essay found its way to the writer and director of “Chasing Trane,” John Scheinfeld, who sent me a lovely follow-up note telling me that he had shared the piece with many people, including Bill Clinton. He even used the word: “Bravo.” I was quite thrilled. Now “Chasing Trane” is set to make it’s theatrical release: It opens this Friday at the IFC Center in New York and the following week in Los Angeles, followed by a broader release across the country. I can’t wait to see it again and I’m strongly encouraging all of you to see it as soon as you get the chance.
In anticipation of the rollout, the film’s publicists reached out to see if I would be interested in doing an interview with Scheinfeld. Of course. So we did call a couple of weeks ago. It was supposed to be 20 minutes but it lasted 40. Scheinfeld was eloquent and passionate and it was exciting for me to learn about the creative process that went into making this wonderful tribute to one of my heroes. A summary of our conversation follows. All direct quotes are Scheinfeld’s. Read more
I got up early on this beautiful Sunday morning, and got The Lovely Mrs. JC up early as well, to go out for a nice walk and breakfast and an 11 a.m. showing of the Lee Morgan documentary, “I Called Him Morgan” at the Film Society at Lincoln Center. So we had our stroll and our meal and were in the theater by 11 sharp and we sat through about 10 minutes of previews and were settled in nicely and the film started and it was out of focus. I mean, really out of focus. So I went to management and told them and, yada yada yada, we didn’t see the movie. They said it might be ready for the 3 p.m. screening, but they could not make any promises. We hung out for a bit and had a nice conversation with three other disappointed jazz lovers, and then took the stroll back home. I don’t think we are going back today: Instead, I may try to sneak off from work tomorrow morning. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, I’ll have some updates for you this week on the John Coltrane documentary Chasing Trane. Stay tuned.