More From the Jazz Collector Mailbox

Griffin copyAllow me to take you away from your favorite subject for a moment and catch up on some items in the Jazz Collector inbox. First are a couple from our reliable friend CeeDee, who always has something interesting to offer. This one is Johnny Griffin, Lady Heavy Bottom’s Waltz, German Vogue 17164. I’ll admit I’ve never seen or heard of this one, but I do imagine that the title song would be interesting. It’s a recording from 1968. This one was in M- condition for the record and the cover and it sold for $240.37. CeeDee also sent this one: Jazz by Sun Ra, Volume 1, Transition 10. This was an original pressing with the booklet. The record and the cover both looked to be in about VG++ condition. The price was $660, which CeeDee considered to be something of a bargain. I wouldn’t really know myself because I’ve never been a collector of Sun Ra records and actually only own one or two. I guess I’m missing something. I also had many opportunities to see Sun Ra, but never did.

My friend Dan passed along this article from The Daily Beast: How Verve Records Got Gutted. It tells the story of how the Verve label is now under the control of the hip hop division of a major label. I find it hard to get worked up about such things. Hasn’t this kind of stuff been going on for awhile? Plus, I don’t think they’re bringing Ella and Louis in for any more record dates. Tell me what I’m missing here?

This one is a lot more interesting to me: A film clip of Bill Evans from 1980, just a few weeks before he died.

36 comments

  • That Griffin is really good. There’s a contemporaneous Youngblood UK pressing under the title “Foot Patting” as well.

  • Gregory The Fish

    i think the real issue with the verve deal, if i may be blunt, is stuffy old white men who don’t know their music history going “oh no! muh jazz is now touching that filthy rap trash!” i mean, why would the author mention the hip-hop part of it at all, other than to act like a classist asshole?

    verve hasn’t been itself in any meaningful sense for 40 years, and unless the author made that ridiculous tombstone graphic before the development of the PC, he’s at least several decades too late to the party.

    what a whiner.

    snobbery of that sort really, really, grates at me.

  • Gregory The Fish

    oh, and amidst all my self-righteous grumping around, i almost forgot:

    i don’t know what sun ra you’ve heard, al, but he has something for everyone. my favorites are “jazz in silhouette” (a little more grounded but still pliant and unique), and “the futuristic sounds of sun ra” which starts to get pretty whacky at times.

  • Amazing record Johnny Griffin, Lady Heavy Bottom’s Waltz.

  • PS. And all the Clarke&Boland and Shihab european recordings: Seads, Music for the small hours, Companionship…

  • Beautiful artwork on that German Vogue copy of Johnny Griffin’s Lady Heavy Bottom’s Waltz. Never seen it before myself…

  • You may have to reconsider your stand on this, Gregory. Ted Gioia is an accomplished writer on jazz – his book on West Coast Jazz in particular is excellent – who seems to me to be taking more of an angle of saying that Verve has just been virtually dissolved into a label putting out money making hits. He contrasts that by pointing out just how strong a leader and visonary Norman Granz was as a producer. Verve was a GIANT in jazz records – perhaps it has the biggest historical clout in terms of names that most people would know, i.e. Armstrong, Ella, etc. – so taking that into account, it just seems he is considering that trajectory, in his words, “from Billy Holiday to Donny Osmond” and downward.

    Perhaps Gioia is too worked up about Verve’s death, but you seem to be a little too worked up about his article! 🙂 Still, if he elicited a reaction from the reader, I guess he did his job.

  • Gregory The Fish

    phil, perhaps you’re right about my reaction, and i am unfamiliabut i think the bigger problem is that he is writing as though verve just died. it didn’t. it’s been dead for decades. what’s the last great verve album for you?

    meanwhile, he ignores the multitude of great contemporary jazz out there (matana roberts, for example), as though only jazz from the 50s is worth his time. the exception is diana krall, which does not much help his credibility in my eyes.

    if i wrote a super edgy and pissy story about the challenger explosion today, it was be just as old, just as uninteresting, just as pointless, just as whiny, and just as insulting to the great achievements that have come since.

    additionally, if money-making hits are something you think verve wasn’t interested in under granz, well, you might know more than i do, but i still seriously question that assertion.

  • Gregory The Fish

    whoops, internet hiccup. should say “i am unfamiliaR WITH HIM AT LARGE, but…”

  • Universal tried to sell me Verve for years. I wouldn’t buy it because:

    1. They own less than 30% of the publishing

    2. Less than one-half of the masters are in usable condition

    3. The balance of the masters have been re-mastered by nitwits and the originals have been destroyed to save storage space

    4. Their cataloging system and database are some of the worst I’ve ever seen

    5. Materials are scattered over several non-climate controlled buildings

    6. Many titles have been permanently licensed to other companies for exclusive release

    7. And finally, everything that is worth listening to has been re-released so many times Verve can not catalog them all

    No money to be made here!

  • Jeez, Terry… What a nightmare to read. Destroying masters to save storage space… Can’t believe that someone in his right mind would actually do something like that. But I guess that money’s worth more than a catalogue of a well known label…

    On a lighter note: the Johnny Griffin, ‘Lady Heavy Bottom’s Waltz’ has been reissued on CD in Italy and the sound of their remaster is absolutely stellar. Truly magnificent fidelity and highly recommended.

  • Mattyman,

    Same thing happened to Capitol at their NJ warehouse in the early 70’s. New kid had to make room, so he ‘deleted’ all of the reels that had already been released (mostly in mono). That is why early Beach Boys and most Kingston Trio albums are not available in true stereo.

  • @Terry: I just can’t believe it. Gives a good idea of how ‘dedicated’ people like that are, working in the music business. But given the fact that you can cough up two examples in 24 hours so easily, I fear that it’s more common than I think…

    Leads to the question, of course, how come you know all this? Did/do you work in the music industry?

  • Sold my first record 12/26/63 when I was 12. Now own labels, manufacturing, distribution, publishing companies, studios and concert production including video taping.

  • To me, the biggest “problem” with Verve – that it is no longer “Verve,” but rather just one of many tenuously-related labels under one conglomerate roof – is in no way unique to Verve. It’s commonplace for all (or nearly all, but I can’t think of any exceptions off the top of my head) of the old jazz, R&B, and blues labels to be merely one of many acquired labels in a large company’s catalog. As a result, it’s difficult to get a grasp of the output of “Verve” when it’s really the artist or sub-genre that is being marketed as a CD or download. For example, many of the old “Verve Jazz Masters” CDs contained tracks from other labels (the Cannonball Adderley release comes to mind, which was all Emarcy). Thus, the sense of “Verve” has been lost, but that has been going on for a long time – recall that the Blue Note 2-fers from the ’70s contained tracks from other labels that had earlier been bought by Liberty or United Artists. So, Verve had been “gutted” long before 2015, just had all the old labels.

  • Terry, just curious… Are you the genius behind Eagle Rock Entertainment ? (In either event, great to have your input !)

  • DL,

    No, not me, although I started about 3 years before they did. We do film/video concerts if the group wants it (and can afford it!) and we will edit/produce the material, duplicate and distribute it.

  • Thanks for the response Terry. Live recordings are definitely one of the “sweetest plums” in the music business ! You’re definitely living the dream nevertheless. 😉

  • …It’s no secret here in the Jazz Collective that I am a huge advocate of live music, and live albums.

  • Mike, clearly states reissue in the description.
    Agree it’s presented like an original, but i think they are upfront with the listing details

  • One cool thing about this particular reissue is that they used the “New York 23” label for side two. Nice touch!

  • Perish the thought,but:
    What will prevent someone with an original cover from trying to combine the two for a fast buck?(Actually,a LOT of bucks!)

  • ceedee: As we know, the absence of deep grooves will be the telltale sign that it is not a first pressing. Bob D. might get the big bucks though. 🙂

  • @Terry: well, it shows you’re a busy bee in the music ‘biz’ 😉

    How ’bout you write a guest story here on Jazzcollector? I’m sure you have a story or two to share with us. Personally I’m curious to know if there are more nightmare tales to tell about catalogues changing hands, ending up in shambles like Verve and Capitol…

  • @1568 RI : insane price up to now !! Why ? From when is this RI according to the cover ? I estimate it might be from the late 80´s or during the 90´s ??
    Has anyone ever seen an earler RI from BN ? I not. My RI is a Toshiba from 84. Are there earlier RI´s from King up from 78 to 83 ?

  • What in all things holy(grail)is happening with the price of this reissue of 1568: http://www.ebay.com/itm/231509974867?rmvSB=true

    Up to US $610…is this a joke?

  • You can get my Tochiba 1568 Mono RI from `84 for the same price. No problem …

  • pure comedy on that 2000s Capitol reissue of 1568.

  • This is a link to the reissue: http://classicrecords.com/item.cfm?item=BN%201568%2DMONO%2D200G but they did get the date wrong, this was released in 2002 (with a review linked from 2005). PS – The Japanese King pressing sounds better, hence I sold my copy of this one.

  • PPS – If you click the BUY NOW button you can still purchase this reissue new and sealed for $39.99

  • Hey Ceedee, I won one of your auctions today (Fats Sadi). I don’t usually buy from random Ebay sellers but you got the Jazz Collector seal of approval which is all I need. Look forward to hearing the record. Thanks again.

  • Uh,Doug? That was someone else who had the Sadi. I haven’t listed lps for a while. But enjoy the music anyway(lol)!

  • Yes, and please don’t think of a “Jazz Collector seal of approval.” All I do is watch the auctions and report about them. I can’t vouch for any seller or any particular auction.

  • Interesting. This article begins with “First are a couple from our reliable friend CeeDee…”. Oh well.

  • But now I realize that you meant Ceedee sent it notification of the auction. Again, oh well.

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