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.
An Interview with John Scheinfeld, Writer and Director of Chasing Trane, The New John Coltrane Documentary
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.
I plan on deleting the previous post this weekend, so if you want to comment on it speak now or forever hold your peace. Meanwhile, back to the real world, starting with one of the all time classics: John Coltrane, A Love Supreme, Impulse A-77. This is an original mono pressing that looks to be in perhaps M- condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. It sold for $435. I own both a mono and stereo pressing of A Love Supreme and I’ve never actually sat down and compared the two. Typically, I prefer mono pressings. For those of you out there who care about these things, which version do you find preferable?
Here’s a copy of Coltrane’s first album as a leader: Coltrane/Prestige 7105. This was an original New York yellow label pressing that looked to be in VG+ condition for the record and the cover. It sold for $540.
We will being today’s post with two of our favorite records, starting with Donald Byrd, A New Perspective, Blue Note 84124. As you can see from the “8” at the beginning of the catalogue number, this is a stereo pressing. It is an original, with the New York USA label, the ears, Van Gelder, etc. This is being offered by the seller anilin1000 from Germany, who has been selling off his collection due to age — his own and not the records. This one is listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The bidding is in the $150 range, which is somewhat surprising, since the stereo pressings don’t usually sell for that much. I see one stereo pressing on Popsike for about $125, and one for a bit higher that was autographed. Hey, it’s a great record so I don’t begrudge anyone willing to pay top dollar for it. I often play “Cristo Redentor” for people who don’t really know jazz, and without exception (so far) it always gets a very strong positive reaction, probably more so than any other jazz record I can think of.
This is another favorite that just came onto eBay:
The other day I was listening to Giant Steps, yet again, and this time I pulled out the album and re-read the liner notes. I was amazed at the prescience and knowledge of the writer. Here are the first two paragraphs:
“Along with sonny Rollins, John Coltrane has become the most influential and controversial tenor saxophonist inn modern jazz. He is becoming, in fact, more controversial and possibly more influential than Rollins. While it’s true that to musicians especially, Coltrane’s fiercely adventurous harmonic imagination is the most absorbing aspect of his developing style, the more basic point is that for many non-musician listeners, Coltrane at his best has an unusually striking emotional impact. There is such intensity in his playing that the string of adjectives employed by French Critic Gerard Bremond in a Jazz-Hot article on Coltrane seemed hardly at all exaggerated. Bremond called his playing ‘exuberant, furious, impassioned, thundering.’
“There is also, however, an extraordinary amount of sentimentality in Coltrane’s work. Part of the fury in much of his playing is the fury of the search, the obsession Coltrane has to play all he can hear or would like to hear — often all at once — and yet at the same time make his music, as he puts it, ‘more presentable.’ He said recently, ‘I’m worried that sometimes what I’m doing sounds like just academic exercises and I’m trying more and more to make it sound prettier.’ It seems to me he already succeeds often in accomplishing both his aims, as sections of this album demonstrate.”
I looked down at the bottom to see which Jazz journalist had written this piece back in 1959 and, to no surprise at all, it was the great Nat Hentoff. When I woke up this morning, there was news in The New York Times that Nat Hentoff had died at age 91.