Last Updated: January 22, 2021
Personal communications to: londonjazzcollector (at) outlook (dot) com
WELCOME TO LONDONJAZZCOLLECTOR, NOT LIKE MOST OTHER SITES
This is a vinyl jazz-lover’s education and opinion sharing site which I started back in 2011. Every week or so a new post features a vintage modern jazz record from the Fifties and Sixties, including one or two tracks from the original vinyl ripped to MP3 most recently at 320 kbps to illustrate the music written about. Most record photos enlarge to full screen up to 1920 x 1280 px including vinyl etchings. The liner notes are easy to read full screen in in crisp sharp text. It’s all high resolution so not very phone-friendly, sorry.
If you love modern jazz on vinyl, grab some floor space and make yourself at home, you are in good company. Over four million page views worldwide to date, 1,500 page views a day, and interesting comment discussions, often from people who know more than me. If you can add anything, weigh in, current and past posts always open.
What LJC is not
LJC is a unique information resource for jazz vinyl record collectors and sellers. It is not a record trading or file sharing site. I delete posts from people looking to sell records: that is what Ebay and Discogs is for. I do not personally buy records from unsolicited offers. I am not spending my time here to help sellers avoid selling fees.
I do not earn any revenue from this site – the ads here are placed by WordPress, and as a WordPress-hosted site I am not permitted to place adverts, even for good causes. I don’t want contributions. I do not promote up and coming artists. I do not offer downloads or support piracy. I do not give platform to any political viewpoint, there are plenty of other sites where people can sound off, though I do believe passionately, that Black Vinyl Matters.
LJC blog, website, and forum
In addition to blog posts, you will find permanent pages of information about modern jazz, vintage vinyl, the evolution of record labels, hi fi improvement, eBay bidding tips, and plain whimsy – click on the headings under the top banner picture. Its not just a blog, it’s a website.
All previous posts for a particular artist or record label are found by clicking on the topic list in the sidebar (over 900 posts to date), There is a complete list of artists with a post right hand sidebar, alphabetical order, in brackets after the name is the number of records posted for that artist. Click on the name to retrieve all their posts or enter their name or record title in the search box top right of the banner.
You get mostly original writing here, and mostly intelligent comments. Please see Comments Policy before posting. Personally, I find comments here a useful return on my effort. I already know what I think, so other people’s comments expand my knowledge and viewpoint. Have your say, all comments welcome, but keep it civil.
Who is LJC? Here are some of the hipster “alter-egos” who appear occasionally in my blog, with a little help from Photoshop. None of them are me. My true identity is a private matter, I like to keep it that way. I am always happy to engage personal correspondence off-blog, email address top of page, special interest in clearing up vinyl mysteries, helping people out.
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Pictured right, my avatar, the character “Louis Balfour“, host of TV spoof “Jazz Cub” running sketch played by comic actor John Thompson. Great!”. It’s not me. I have no social media presence: no Facebook page, no Twitter account, no Linked-In profile, and no Instagram account, no Spotify Podcast, no YouTube Channel. Just a WordPress hosted site, that makes them money, not me. It is entirely possible that I am a figment of my own imagination.
After decades of wearing a suit and tie, I found myself retired, with time on my hands and no interest in the usual retirement “time-wasters”: golf, cruises, or a second career in consultancy. I am simply a life long music lover and amateur writer, no connection to my former work-life, which was interesting, but which on reflection, was an even greater waste of time.
Possessed of a “liberal” arts education, followed by a lifetime working in both private industry and the public sector, mainly in Health Care. I am not a doctor but I know exactly what they do, how often, why, at what cost, and with what results. Possesed of a life-long passion for music and good hi-fi, a love of photography and computer technology; part-time philosopher (no previous convictions), writer, humourist and observer of the human condition: blogging seems a natural next step. You get all that in just one blog: LondonJazzCollector, abbreviated to LJC.
Briefly in 2016 I started another WordPress blog following my interest in wine, Age Improves With Wine, especially the holy grail of French white wines of the Northern Rhone, and the more affordable territory of White Burgundy. Unfortunately this proved exhausting, many other people write about wine, some for a living. Recently I have revived it with new content, we will see if that lasts.
Asked occasionally “What do you do?” I describe myself as full time self-unemployed. I am retired, which allows me lots of freedom to do as I wish. My interest in jazz and vinyl is just the last decade, unlike some, whose collect, on and knowledge has been built up over a lifetime. Making up for lost time, this blog features the fruits of “panning for gold” in London’s remaining record stores, bidding on eBay, shopping on-line, and inspiration from other jazz collectors.
Starting with an interest mainly in original Blue Note, the holy grail in audiophile and musical performance, you will also find here original Prestige, Impulse!, Contemporary, Riverside and other labels, some West Coast, a bit of Free, and European including a smidgin of British Jazz and UK release of US recordings. A few Japanese pressings are including, and being in the UK, inevitably some UK releases of US recordings. All records here are from my personal vinyl collection. When not much is coming in, I look on my shelves for something of interest to write about. Failing that, I make something up.
You can expect the big boys of Bop and Modern Jazz but also some lesser players you may not be au fait with (we often do a little French in passing). Many bloggers of the DJ tendancy already cover funk, soul, dance, psych, so you will not find much of that here, and you won’t find the attribute “new” has much traction here either. Of all the music produced in the last fifty years, how likely is it that something is worthy of attention just because it is “new” ? Everything was new once.
A little more on what this blog is about…
Why “Modern Jazz”? Think of it as “fine wine-tasting for the ears“: an infinite variety of sensuous tastes with no unpleasant after-effects that I know of. The Fifties and Sixties were an intensely creative period in all the arts, no less in Jazz, with the period 1956-66 the golden era. After the mid- Sixties, Modern Jazz fragmented, and many of its finest exponents became what the medical profession refer to as “dead” , moved to Europe, or worse still, Hollywood, invested in a new wardrobe, or just followed the money, and who can blame them.
Why vinyl? A (vintage) vinyl record stores analogue-recorded music in an analogue medium. Good modern vinyl equipment , including fanatical attention to power conditioning and quality of interconnects, can retrieve that analogue information and reproduce it much as it would have sounded when performed. At its best, the resulting sound offers a fresh, immersive and exciting musicians-in-the-room experience superior to any digital source at any price, however modern.
Why vintage vinyl? Not all vinyl pressings are equally good – some are very bad, especially most reissues produced in the mid-Seventies and Eighties, and many modern so-called “audiophile” releases are little better. Over the years, digital equipment replaced analogue throughout the recording process, which, taken with production economies, resulted in many vinyl records of mediocre listening quality, including many made today. Many modern reissues are merely CD transferred to vinyl.
I guess around the ’80s, engineers asserted that the human ear can not hear frequencies higher than 12,000 khz (as a tone measured in an audiometry sound booth) – and wanted to supress “tape-hiss”, and so rolled off high-end frequencies, ruining the tonal and dynamic range. They later started fattening up the bass to sound fuller on poor replay equipment. With a few exceptions, original period vinyl captures music as close as possible in quality to the natural original performance.
Any special kind of Hi Fi required? Yes, I am afraid so. Unlike “old vinyl”, unfortunately, with rare exceptions, “classic old hi-fi” does not cut it. If it’s of any interest my set up is here, (last updated December 2018) or see the “For Audiophiles” page in the blog header.
Hey LJC, I don’t have “golden ears”. Any point in this hi-fi stuff?
No-one has golden ears. Everyone can detect quality audio if they ever get the opportunity to hear some. The problem is that your ears are wired via the mouth to the brain. Hi Fi is a world of expensive equipment, strong and differing opinions, some of it salesmanship, some of it guesswork, some of it just plain wrong, and often just a minority forged out of hard-won ruthlessly-honest comparative experience.
The brain’s main purpose is helping you survive, so it will give lots of well-intentioned advice: expectation bias, confirmation bias, expert opinion, all that group-think stuff to protect your fragile self-esteem. With a little practice you can learn to recognise and ignore its’ whinny little voice. Attend instead to your feelings and your emotional reaction to the music. Does it engage you, draw you in? Or does it leave you uninvolved, wondering what to play next?
In no time at all really, you will be able to say with confidence “I prefer this, it sounds better to me than that”, or no it doesn’t, or I can’t hear any difference. You will arrive at your own judgement, and not hang on other people’s opinions, certainly not mine. When you reach this point, you are in charge, and it gets a little easier. To pick up on this theme graduate to the Zen and the Art of Active Listening page.
My takeaway from a decade of upgrading hi-fi is that the main components are the least important part of your system (provided you chose reasonably good ones in the first place, of course). From the off, your equipment is almost certainly capable of sounding better than it does initially. To hear how good requires improvement in the purity of power supply, extreme earthing, quality interconnects vastly too expensive to give away with the component (especially, RFI-rejecting weaves,Sawyers disc pods, silver cable, rhodium contact interfaces), support infrastructure racking, and the ultrasonic cleaning of vinyl.
Those who scoff are usually an equipment snobs who has never tested any of these other things, because they know they make no difference. Arrogance and Ignorance are a match made in heaven, they depend on each other for survival.
There is only one authority, and I’m afraid it’s you. Bummer.
A few last questions…
Are you now or have you ever been a DJ? Nope
Do you like to go clubbing or hanging out at gigs, looking cool? Nope
So would you describe yourself as a “square” then? More sort of round. Well, oval, really…
That’s it. Feel free to make comments (see comments policy), offer corrections, give advice, and make other recommendations from your own experience. It’s all good.
Note regarding Intellectual property and copyright.
”Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for fair use for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal “
Owners of intellectual property are quite rightly closing down piracy and theft of their work: Madonna needs still more money, she’s a Material Girl. At 60, she needs a pension.
Music and pictures posted here are for personal education and research, not for commercial gain, nor for the gratitude of file-sharers. There are no whole albums here, the vinyl is long since deleted and accessible only through online auctions and second hand stores. The “track selection” is one or at most two tracks as 160 or 320 kbps MP3 files ripped from original vinyl and streamed, not hi fi quality, no downloads. No-one loses revenue from anything posted here, and I make no revenue from it. I notice when I post about a record, the available copies on Discogs sell out very quickly.
The small adverts on this blog are placed by WordPress to help keep blogging a free service. Files are not hosted on third party file sharing sites. You can be confident everything you click on here is spam and virus free, will still be here tomorrow, requires no toolbar add-in, and sorry lads, no teen dating introductions in your area.
I do not endorse copyright theft, though almost all of the recordings here are over 50 years old the musicians are long dead, or soon will be (1963 is the technical legal watershed) . If you think you are a copyright holder of any sounds or images here, please contact me directly at the email address below. If you think you may be one of the long dead musicians, get professional help, or leave a sign: a medium will get back to you soon as possible.
The content of this web-blog is for personal, non-commercial use only. In the event that there is a problem with copyrighted material, the copyright infringement is unintentional and non-commercial. Material will be removed upon request by the copyright owner.
All original writing and pictures on this blog are my copyright. You are free to use them in any educational or personal context, without alteration, though not in any commercial activity without my express prior permission. Original material uploaded to other sites should be credited to this source. I take pride in my work, I don’t like finding it online under other people’s names, which does occasionally happen.
Note to buyers and sellers of jazz vinyl
If you are looking to dispose of a collection of jazz records, please note I am not a dealer or buyer, however I have been able to give some helpful advice on a couple of occasions recently, point people in the right direction, put them in touch with people who can help. I often get requests from relatives to identify if grandpa’s collection is actually valuable or not. I am not a dealer scavenger. No guarantees but I try to answer all emails personally and promptly, and honestly.
As an aside, hardly a week goes by without someone asking me where to find vintage vinyl jazz treasures in London. You might as well ask me at which second-hand stall can you find a Van Gogh, which is the riverbed where you can find gold nuggets, or where exactly do I dig for diamonds? Good stuff is rare. You trawl, like whales sift drifting plankton. Every now and then, you get lucky. More often than not, you make do with something interesting, or maybe nothing at all.
Note to fellow record collectors
I am always happy to take questions, help identify provenance, make good a gap in my subject coverage, any missed point of detail, and for you to share any anomalies or interesting finds. It’s what collectors do.
Personal communications to:
LondonJazzCollector ( at ) outlook (dot) com
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