Open Sesame Blue Note Records

Freddie Hubbard’s “Open Sesame” on Blue Note.

This is one of those unbelievably rare jazz records. Freddie’s first album as a leader and his first on Blue Note. 1960. The players accompanying him and his trumpet are the best-of-the-best. Tina Brooks on Tenor Sax, who also wrote two of the six compositions on the album. McCoy Tyner on piano, who would soon become part of Coltrane’s outfit. Sam Jones on Bass and Clifford Jarvis on Drums. Here everyone brings their A-game and the energy of young talent on the session is palpable to the ear from the very first note.

Adding to its rarity is the fact that Blue Note did not repress the record as often as it did other titles in its catalogue: https://www.discogs.com/master/view/177623 This original has all the indicators of the first mono: 47 West 63rd. address, deep groove on both sides, RVG stamp, “ear” mark. The cover is split but since it’s laminated, the image has held up nicely. It plays a weak VG with some crackle and a few ticks but no distortion. Sounds even better after an ultrasonic cleaning. Might sound better yet on a true mono cartridge.

The fact that it has held up so nicely is a testament to the quality Blue Note put in to both their covers and pressings. This thing looks rough but sounds astonishingly rich, as if you’re in the studio with them. Some say it’s because of the “deep groove,” but this is a misconception often supported by collectors / fanatics. The sound quality of Blue Note persisted well into the 80s. Van Gelder, the recording engineer for all the early sessions, continued on to remaster the various pressing as technology changed. For more on the Deep Groove check out: https://londonjazzcollector.wordpress.com/record-labels-guide/labelography-2/blue-note-deep-groove/

White Label Promo Charles Mingus

White Label Promo of Charles Mingus “Ah Um”

What is it that attracts collectors to the White Label Promo? The promo is even earlier than the coveted first press. An advanced, demonstration copy sent out in anticipation of the record’s release. To create some buzz or drum up a few nice reviews. Some say they sound better. Pressed with extra care so the record sounds its best when it hits the air waves or the reviewer’s hi-fi. Maybe it’s the label itself? Something different from the normal pressing. Some labels have cooler promo variations than others. Columbia’s red and white variation is particularly striking.

This copy came from a large collection we bought a few years back. We thought we had unpacked all the records from the buy but apparently there was one box we missed, which happened to be comprised entirely of Monk and Mingus – the “M” section of the collection. Turns out there were two copies of Ah Um: one first press, one promo. Both Six-Eye labels. Both unplayed. Crazy to think that these were so well preserved after close to 60 years.

Recorded in 1959, this Mingus title is one of the most popular jazz records in our shop, next to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. Not a surprise given that this record was also ahead of its time, merging hard bop and big band in a unique way. And just like that other jazz classic, this has experienced different presses, even absurd ones like a 4 LP single sided, 45 rpm press. A necessary addition to any jazz collection on any format.

Otis Redding Hip Pocket

Hip Pocket Records Presents Otis Redding.

This is the first time we’ve had this format in our shop. A two-track 4 inch flexi disc inside a printed paper sleeve. Philco, a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company, released these little hip pocket records between 1967 and 1969. They advertised them as the first truly portable record. Since you could easily slide it in your hip pocket.

The catalogue consists mainly of pop tunes, given that it was a sort of novelty item. There are, however, a few soul gems. These retailed for 69 cents. At the time, prices of 45s were probably a lot cheaper and you could surely get a lot more plays out of those. Still pretty cool nonetheless.

Photo of Miles Davis c.1977

Happy Birthday, Miles Davis!

This last week, a gentleman brought in a box of jazz records to sell and kindly gifted us this photo of Miles to hang in the shop. We thought what better way to share it with everyone than on the anniversary of his birthday, May 26th. Happy birthday, Mr. Davis! 93 candles on the cake! Back of the photo is dated 1977; possibly a show he did here in San Francisco. https://originalsvinyl.com/we-buy-records/

jazz records lee morgan blue note

IF#2: Lee Morgan – The Sidewider

We’ve seen plenty of Taiwanese bootlegs of rock records, but rarely jazz titles. Lee Morgan’s “Sidewinder.” This album was Blue Note’s biggest selling record. One of the tracks was covered for use in a car commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r73X2NxyGk. So it’s no wonder it made bootleg status, after a few changes to the cover scheme and a removal of the Blue Note catalog number. The run out groove actually has the Van Gelder stamp. It remained from the wax imprints of the originals to reproduce the bootleg. The sound quality here is pretty good overall.