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 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. All record photos enlarge to full screen up to 1800 px. 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 three million page views worldwide to date.
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 do not earn any advertising revenue ( the ads here are placed by Wordpress, who in return provide me free website technical support ), nor can I accept adverts, even for good causes. 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, 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, 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, its a website.
All previous posts for a particular artist or record label are found by clicking on the topic list in the sidebar (over 800 posts to date), or use the search box by 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.
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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 Facebook page, no Twitter account, nor a Linked-In profile. 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 “timewasters”: golf, cruises, or a second career in consultancy. Some people confuse what you do with who you are. I am simply a music lover and writer: no connection whatsoever to my work CV.
Possessed of a “liberal” arts education, a lifetime working in both private industry and the public sector, 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.
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 (Condrieu = Blue Note). Unfortunately this proved too exhausting to maintain. Many other people write about wine, many also for a living, so I gave up, but with some good content remaining, I recommend it.
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 few years, 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 Sixties, Modern Jazz fragmented, and many of its finest exponents became what doctors refer to as “dead” or followed the money, and who can blame them.
Why vinyl? A (vintage) vinyl record stores analogue-recorded music in an analogue medium. Good modern equipment 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. With a few exceptions, only 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, or see the “For Audiophiles” page in the blog header. Its constantly being upgraded.
Hey LJC, I don’t have “golden ears”. Any point in this hi-fi stuff?
No-one has golden ears, all can detect quality audio if they ever get the opportunity to hear some. The problem is what your ears are wired 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 some forged out of hard-won ruthlessly-honest comparative experience. Many are still looking for advice…
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 borrow from other people’s opinions. 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 components are the least important part of your system, provided you chose good ones in the first place. What makes the biggest improvement is purity of power supply and extreme earthing, the quality of component interconnects (especially, RFI-rejecting weaves incorporating Sawyers disc pods and rhodium plated plugs), support infrastructure racking, and the ultrasonic cleaning of vinyl. Anyone who says otherwise is usually an equipment snob who has never tested any of these other things, because they know they make no difference. Actually they do, based on actual experience.
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.
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.
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. 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 agreement. 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. No guarantees. I try to answer all emails personally and promptly.
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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