Pictures updated April 17, 2020
Track Selection: Lee Konitz “Sunflower”
Don Ferrara (tp) Lee Konitz (as) Sal Mosca (p) Peter Ind (b) Shadow Wilson (d) recorded NYC, May 12, 1957
It’s a great sound, these late fifties pressings really hit the spot. Konitz’s alto flows magically in perpetual motion, surrounded by his regular “School of Tristano” players – Ind, Mosca, and Ferrara, and newcomer Shadow Wilson on drums. The track listing includes an alternate version of “Karys Trance” as found on his “Inside Hifi” album, and a flying tribute to Charlie Parker with “Billies Bounce”.
Verve did cheap covers. The production-values are not a patch on Blue Note’s laminated covers, and the kitsch frame around the photo, a play on the word “cool”, must set a new low in graphic design. But retro-style, posed enigmatic smile, holding the alto (so you know its jazz) – another iconic Konitz album.
For once, not a UK first release, but the real thing US original, in Panoramic True Hi Fidelity – translation: “wide dynamic range”.
It is something unusual for an original US Verve deep groove pressing from 1957 to come to the LondonJazzCollectors turntable. Having never heard an original Verve before, bidding was a matter of faith.
Ebay-tactics is all part of collecting jazz. Unfortunately, you can’t avoid it, so it pays to understand it. This was a desirable item. Perhaps not one for the big game hunters, but niche jazz vinyl music collectors. However it looked like traders had taken the main positions. Among the other six bidders was one with a fifteen bid a day habit, and most had 500-1,000 bids in the last month. For some reason an image of whales sifting plankton comes to mind. Numbers merchants. Or may be that’s how they while away their time in the office. Probably for the good, as traders only want bargain-prices, which leaves room for end-collectors to get a look in.
The seller of course included the “RARE” word in the listing. (I am sure there are ebay traders whose only saved search is for the word “rare”). In this case it was true – less than a dozen entries on Popsike in the last seven years, all for the mono deep groove original. I guess one or two copies a year at auction qualifies as “rare”.