Toronto. That’s where the records were located. In Canada.
So a few thoughts went through my head. First, how long does it take to drive to Toronto from New York City? From my recollection, it was about 10 hours. I checked on Google. Only eight hours. Not bad, but not great. Then, what’s it like crossing the border hauling hundreds of records. Granted, this was only 200 records, but what would happen? Would I be stopped? Would I have to pay some kind of tax? Would the border guard be a closet jazz collector anxious to confiscate my one and only treasured copy of Cool Struttin’?
The idea of Toronto didn’t thrill me, but I wasn’t at the stage yet where I had to worry about that. I still hardly knew anything about the records. That issue was cleared up just a week later in the next e-mail. The owner had taken my advice and purchased Fred Cohen’s Blue Note book. He had taken the time to go over each of the records and provide me with a full list. He had gone through the Jazz Collector Price Guide to come to an approximate value for each record.
Toronto. That’s where the records were located. In Canada.
So yesterday I was in my apartment in New York and I had 45 minutes to kill and I decided to put on a classic Blue Note record I hadn’t listened to in a while, if ever. I went through the collection and stopped at Johnny Griffin, A Blowing Session, Blue Note 1559, and I put the record on the turntable and it is quite an interesting record, with early Coltrane and lots of up-tempo material, particularly The Way You Look Tonight. And one other interesting thing is the presence of Art Blakey in the rhythm section, who has an ability to make every session sound like one of his own, with that perpetually driving beat and heavy accents. And I’m listening to the record, and I’m looking at the cover, and I’m reading the liner notes and I’m thinking to myself: Where and when did I get this record? And therein lies a story.
Here’s something I would love to hear and own: Bill Evans Acetate, US Army Dance Band Jazz 1951. This seems to be a legitimate recording of Bill Evans in 1951. The problem for me is that the start price is $1,000 and that seems too high unless I planned to do something with it, like transfer it to digital and make it available for broader consumption. I would be willing to do that, but not at that price. It makes me think that we should form some sort of non-profit Jazz Collector collective to acquire some of these rare items to share and preserve them. If you recall, there was also a very rare J.R. Monterose recording of him as a teenager that we had an opportunity to acquire, as well as a recent Dizzy Gillespie concert and I’m sure many others.
This seller has some interesting items, including Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’, Blue Note 1588. This looks to be an original pressing listed in VG+ condition for the record and probably VG+ for the cover. The bidding is in the $450 range and there are still two days to go on the auction. We’ve seen this record sell for more than $3,000 on many occasions in the Jazz Collector Price Guide. One of the things I find interesting about this auction is
Here are updates on some of the jazz records we’ve been watching on eBay, starting with Piano Interpretations by Bud Powell, Norgran 1077. I was watching this because I’m getting the sense that Norgrans are being devalued a bit, but then I realized this was not an original pressing. Oh well. Watching it anyway. This one has the black label, whereas an original would have the yellow label. This one looked to be in VG++ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. It sold for $79. It does have quite a lovely David Stone Martin cover.
Kenny Dorham and the Jazz Prophets Volume 1, ABC Paramount 122. Is it really necessary to label this is Volume 1, since there was never a Volume 2, 3, 4 or any other number? This one looked to be in VG+ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. It sold for $364.
Sonny Clark Trio, Blue Note 1579. This is the one
Here are some of the jazz records we are watching on eBay as we enter a new week at Jazz Collector, starting with Bill Evans, New Jazz Conceptions, Riverside 223. This is an original pressing with the first cover and the white labels. The seller has his own grading system. Based on what he says, I would guess that the vinyl is in VG++ condition and the cover is VG or VG+ with cutout holes through the center of the cover and the label. Not an attractive feature, as we all know. This one closes later today and the bidding is in the $340 range. We may have discussed this already here, but does anyone out there know why Riverside changed the cover so early on this one, as well as on the Thelonious Monk Plays Ellington album? Both went from covers with very cool pictures to less appealing (IMHO) illustrations.
Art Blakey Quintet, A Night At Birdland Volume 1, Blue Note 5037. This is an original 10-inch pressing listed in excellent condition for the record and the cover. The buyer says “search your life you won’t find a nicer copy.” Fortunately, I just have to search my shelves for one. I also Read more
Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’, Blue Note 1588. I’m not sure what pressing this is. There are so many Blue Note permutations to consider. This one has deep grooves and ears and RVG and the West 63rd address. One side has no Inc. and no R, the other side has the Inc. and the R. What does that make it? Probably not a first-pressing original, going by the bidding so far. This on is in Ex condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. There are three days left on the auction and bidding is in the $250 range.
This seller has some nice records, including Hank Mobley Sextet, Blue Note 1560. This has the deep grooves and the West 63rd address, which would seem to make it an original pressing. The record is in VG- condition and the cover is VG. Bidding is in the $400 range and the auction closes in three days. VG- condition, to repeat. Not making any judgments. Just pointing it out for future edification.
Here’s a pretty pair:
As promised, here is the original DownBeat review of Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568, perhaps the most valuable and treasured of all the Jazz Collector collectibles. This is from Oct. 30, 1958 and the reviewer is John A. Tynan:
“Hank Mobley — Blue Note 1568: Might Moe and Joe; Falling in Love With Love; Bags Groove; Double Exposure; News.
“Personnel: Mobley, tenor; Curtis Porter, alto, tenor; Bill Hardman, trumpet; Sonny Clark, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Art Taylor, drums
“Rating — Three and a half stars
“One of the nicer things about Al Lion and associates at Blue Note is that they don’t hesitate to present new talent they consider worthwhile. On this set is presented 29-year-0old Philadelphia saxman Curtis Porter, who is equal to the company. Although it is Mobley’s date, the leader allows generous space for the wailing of his fellow reedman, which makes for a high degree of hard blowing.
I happened to be perusing old DownBeats yesterday when I casually opened up the issue of Oct. 30, 1958. The “jazz record reviews” listed on the cover were for Harry Belafonte, Terry Gibbs, Benny Goodman, Earl Hines, Shorty Rogers and Bob Scobey. Nothing too interesting, and I almost passed up on reading the reviews. So I was a bit surprised to see that this issue contained reviews of two of the rarest and most highly treasured records in the entire Jazz Collector pantheon: Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’, Blue Note 1588 and Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568.
Let’s start with Cool Struttin’. The reviewer, Don Gold, gave it two and a half stars out of a possible five stars. To put it in perspective, Cool Struttin’ had a lower rating than these records, also reviewed in this issue: Steve Allen All Stars Featuring Terry Gibbs; Danny Alvin and His Kings of Dixieland Play Basin Street: Belafonte Sings the Blues; Paul Horn Plenty of Horn, and Moe Koffman, The “Shepherd” Swings Again. This is what the reviewer had to say about Cool Struttin’:
Lou Donaldson, Lou Takes Off, Blue Note 1591. This was an original pressing listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover. It sold for $1,499.99. If you ever needed evidence on the increasing value of Blue Note originals, here it is. It has the presence of Sonny Clark on piano, which always seems to raise the value of the records (for good reason, IMHO), but this is quite a hefty price for a Lou Donaldson LP. Very happy to have acquired a mint copy recently. The gift of Baltimore keeps coming for me.
Sonny Clark is on this one as well and, again, the price is somewhat reflective: Curtis Fuller, Bone & Bari, Blue Note 1572. This was an original pressing, probably in VG++ condition for both the record and the cover. This one sold for $1,624.99.
Here’s another Blue Note from the same era, although no Sonny Clark:
Back to the insanity. There were a lot of comments on this record on the previous post, but let’s just put it in here for the record, slight pun intended: Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. This was the one that had the New York 23 on one side, satisfying the most precise collectors of original pressings. There was definitely debate over the condition, but it seemed like the cover was at least VG++ and the vinyl was probably VG++, although not everyone would agree with that. Where everyone would agree, I presume, is that this one fetched quite a high price: $5,223.45. That’s not the highest price we’ve ever seen for this, or any other record, but it’s right up there in the Jazz Collector Price Guide.
As staggering as I find the Mobley, this one, to me, is even more telling of the state of jazz collecting in this era of eBay: Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’, Blue Note 1588. As I noted previously, Read more