John Coltrane Standard Coltrane (1958)

Track Selection: Invitation (Kaper, Webster) 10:20

Warning: there is a gentle click for a short time a little way into this ten minute track, but it passes soon enough. At least you can be sure you are listening to vinyl.


Wilbur Harden (flh, tp) John Coltrane (ts) Red Garland (p) Paul Chambers (b) Jimmy Cobb (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, July 11, 1958


The dreamy ballad “Invitation” demonstrates the lyrical side of Coltrane. He isn’t burning through three octaves of notes per second, asking to be pulled over and a speeding ticket slapped on his tenor. Wilbur Harden adds contrasting texture on flugelhorn.

Vinyl: Esquire 32  – 179 UK release of Prestige 7243

The record title is slightly perplexing, and underwhelming. “Standard Coltrane:” Is it a good or bad thing being standard?. Standard compared with what – the Non-standard Coltrane? All very confusing what the point is, especially at a time when artists were awarding themselves self-promoting first names extensions – like The Incredible Jimmy Smith and The Remarkable Carmell Jones. The Indefatigable LondonJazzCollector, even. So “Hi, I’m The Standard John Coltrane” has something of a downbeat ring to it. All interesting Coltrane from the later part of his earlier recordings.

What’s the record like? Reviewer: Oh you know, standard Coltrane.

Machine stamp VAN GELDER indicative of The Master at work.

 I think we have seen this this “crossed Z” before. Runes! Quick, get a psychic reading.

Collectors Corner

This record wasn’t in the greatest shape, and priced rather optimistically at Excellent grade , which it certainly wasn’t. A certain amount of negotiation yielded a discount, after a few dismissive exchanges, done in Sergio Leone-style Fistful of Records style. Dry mouth, eyes narrow, beads of sweat stand out on forehead. “You see all the marks on this record, gringo? Your mother is the son of a dog. I don’t want this record. This record is no good. I spit on your record” .  Dealer looks shifty, uncomfortable. Lip trembling, nervous laugh. Only joking about the price, I give you discount, big discount. . The price begins to drop.  Then there comes a point at which you feel, well, at that price, I can endure a few defects.

We settled somewhere around 20% of the original asking price. And after all, it’s only standard Coltrane.

12 thoughts on “John Coltrane Standard Coltrane (1958)

  1. Wow I picked up this exact record in an OXFAM (notorious overpricers!!) for £5.99 today which must be a bargain. The cover is probably slightly better than your example and the vinyl has a few marks on it but it plays well after a couple of cleans on the RCM.

    Mind you I am dead jealous of your Horace Parlan I have never even seen a reissue of this artist in any store let alone an original.

    • Oxfam? They are slipping up! I A few of these charities sell the valuable stuff on eBay. I have even bought a few. Obviously, someone didn’t know the value of what they had got. You did very well.
      Jealousy is OK, A day doesnt pass without a twinge. We get over it.

  2. p.s. and I never risk over $100 on a seller with any negative feedback. I dont care what they are selling. Its just not worth the risk.

    • If there is any negative feedback I always read i first. They sellers replies are most enlightening. More often than not it’s some dopey kid been trying it on to get a discount or a buyer with unrealistic expectations. But I agree – under-promise, over-deliver keeps everyone happy.

  3. I usually ask for a refund for a faulty item if I send it back. If the seller declines I file a PayPal claim and then leave -ve at the end. If the return shipping fee is more than the cost of the LP (often happens). I just leave -ve and move on. The good sellers usually offer a choice of partial refund (and keep the item) or full refund (and send it back).

    Sellers really do need to be extra conservative in grading LPs – at the end of the day they have to give an honest description as its all money wasted down the line on shipping, etc. otherwise.

  4. The only thing I’d like to know is: how do you bargain with the sellers on eBay? Whenever I snipe, then most of the times it all happens when I’m in a far away corner of Dreamland. If it turns out the next day that I won, then I’m supposed to pay, aren’t I? Or is that the moment where you contact the seller to say that you’re the winner of the record but that you’d like to bargain instead of paying the amount sniped? Or are we talking about face to face bargaining in a record store, fair etc?

    • This one was face to face shop – the price ticket was £100. I admit its not so easy to negotiate by email.I have done it three of four times, where you have a difference of opinion on condtion after you have received your purchase and paid. What has worked for me is to establish you are willing to send it back (at your own expense) and the seller is willing to give you a refund. Then you can move on to an exchange of views on what would entice you to keep it, as the seller doesn’t really want it back.

      I paid £60 for a record in an auction and it had some undeclared clicky clicky scratches on one side. I figured it was worth maybe £20 to me – we settled on that. What doesn’t work is to just ask for a price reduction outright.If I were the seller I would just call your bluff and offer to take it back. Most sellers are pragmatic.

      Only once have I hit a brick wall, and he got the feedback he deserved.

    • Perhaps I am misunderstanding you, but if you contact a seller after an auction has ended and attempt to negotiate the price downward before paying, you will find yourself in pretty hot water with eBay in short order.

      The scenario we are discussing here is how to handle situations where a seller has misrepresented the condition of a record. In this case, an honest seller will at the very least offer to let you return the record and cover any return costs.

      Some sellers will also discuss the option of letting the buyer keep the record but adjusting the selling price downward in keeping with the degrading condition of the record (the scenario LJC is describing).

      Occasionally, sellers will not refund the cost of returning a mis-graded record in which case I, personally, will not do business with them in the future.

      What is frustrating is when a seller overtly misrepresents a record either through incompetence or dishonesty. Here are some snapshots of a pressing of Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers (BLP 1518) I recently purchased:

      If you buy a lot of records you will immediately recognize this kind of damage which results from a particle of grit in the liner scraping against the LP as it is jostled around over the years. These kinds heavy squiggly scratches result in scraping noises as the needle tracks through them. In this case of this record for about 3 minutes on side A and 6 minutes on side B. Anyone who grades records would immediately recognize this serious damage by sight and know that it will have a serious impact on playback.

      Here is the description the seller provided in the auction listing:

      “Vinyl has been tested and sounds wonderful. We did not hear any noise, pops, clicks or skips. The vinyl has very light scuffs and a couple of hairline scratches. No affect to the play, as it sounds great.
      Vinyl grade:EX+”

      • You have no doubt seen the similar state of a Tubby Hayes LP I bought

        The seller had actually posted up very detailed photos for the auction that “proved” it was perfect when it left him,and I believe him when he says it was, but his packing was reckless and it ended up with the same ” tangle of spaghetti” scratch marks I put down to a rogue office staple in contact with the vinyl in transit.

        He refunded everything including the postage, but I lost a very rare record I had won at a great price, never to be repeated.

  5. I have definitely had quite a few dealings with sellers that have very active imaginations with regards to record condition. Perhaps they are grading their records in the dark, or maybe the grade reflects the condition they would like the record to be in.

    The ‘sliding grading scale’ also seems to be very popular with certain sellers as well: the older, rarer and more valuable a title is, the more forgiving the grading becomes. Another favorite is the seller who believes that any record which plays without skipping rates ‘VG+’. In my experience, VG+ seems to fall somewhere between ‘a few inaudible superficial marks which prevent it from being NM’ and ‘Oops! I left it outside in the driveway’.

    Then there’s my all time favorite: the record which arrives sandwiched in between two pieces of card stock taped together with scotch tape, cracked into several record-lets.

    This happened to me a few months back with a first pressing of Hampton Hawes Trio (Contemporary C3505). There’s nothing quite as disheartening as seeing a record that survived nearly untouched for 65 years broken to pieces.

    Oh well, c’est la disque.

    With regards to standard Coltrane, I had a similar experience with ‘Settin’ the Pace’, another 60’s Prestige issue composed of outtakes from earlier sessions. Not bad, but clearly second rate material.

    The ever-frugal Bob Weinstock. I always find it ironic that Weinstock endeavored to save money on tape in the 50s by recording over any unused takes. I suspect he must have been kicking himself for that by the time he put out the last of these ‘new’ Coltrane releases in the 60s.

    • My favourite is “Strong” VG. Basically its trashed but the seller doesn’t want you to know that! I always leave -ve feedback for over graded LPs. Happens far too often unfortunately.

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