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Just Getting Started: Best Places to Buy Vinyl

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So for the first time I'm starting to build up my vinyl collection. I just thought that as I dive in I would pick people's brains about the best places to hunt for vinyl. I'm mainly looking for free jazz/avant garde stuff, especially stuff that is impossible or hard to find on CD.

I've been looking through some online stores like Dusty Groove and Forced Exposure, and keeping tabs on EBay, although the final prices fetched in the recent auction of free jazz stuff seemed exorbitant to me.

Is it worth it to check out garage sales and the like? Are there other online sources I should be keeping tabs on? Any help is much appreciated.

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Tom Kohn at The Bop Shop may good a good place to start. Tom not only owns the store, but as a fan and promoter of that type of music, he has a very astute knowledge of the music as well.

Tell him I sent you.

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Dusty Groove grades VERY conservatively, you will not be disappointed by anything you buy from them.

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"Is it worth it to check out garage sales and the like? Are there other online sources I should be keeping tabs on? Any help is much appreciated. "

You would need some weird-ass garages to find what you want.

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"Is it worth it to check out garage sales and the like? Are there other online sources I should be keeping tabs on? Any help is much appreciated. "

You would need some weird-ass garages to find what you want.

:D I figured as much. I think I need to live around weirder people.

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Yeah more likely to find 10 nana mouskori records at garage sales...and local record stores are pretty much dead in my opinion in so far as finding good used jazz titles. EBay pretty much destroyed the good old days of walking into a record store and finding some good/inexpensive used free jazz records.

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I've been using Dusty Groove for a lot of my vinyl. One reason is that I trust the consistency of their ratings. . . when received LPs are as described.

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EBay pretty much destroyed the good old days of walking into a record store and finding some good/inexpensive used free jazz records.

Yeah, but it still happens sometimes, especially if the store owner is not that into jazz. I've told this story before, but a friend who knows I'm a Steve Lacy freak called me from a suburban Atlanta record store a couple of years ago, saying there was a Lacy LP with a green cover there. I was so sure that it was nothing special that it took me a week to visit the store. It turned out to be The Kiss on Lunatic, a rare one from Japan. Ten bucks, mint condition, beautifully recorded, and stunning music. I've had a few other finds like that in recent years, but I agree that they've become more infrequent.

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Since you're in the NY area, a visit to the Princeton Record Exchange could be a rewarding experience even if they don't specialize in freeform jazz. Their bins are always full of wonders (many at quite reasonable prices)

http://www.prex.com/sell-jazz-cds.html

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EBay pretty much destroyed the good old days of walking into a record store and finding some good/inexpensive used free jazz records.

Yeah, but it still happens sometimes, especially if the store owner is not that into jazz. I've told this story before, but a friend who knows I'm a Steve Lacy freak called me from a suburban Atlanta record store a couple of years ago, saying there was a Lacy LP with a green cover there. I was so sure that it was nothing special that it took me a week to visit the store. It turned out to be The Kiss on Lunatic, a rare one from Japan. Ten bucks, mint condition, beautifully recorded, and stunning music. I've had a few other finds like that in recent years, but I agree that they've become more infrequent.

Great find. I still don't have that one. I'd be willing to pay at least $11! :rhappy:

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There's one on eBay for $300...

In my experience, DG can't be beat, but discogs comes a close second. In the end, though, OOP avant jazz vinyl is what it is and totally depends on the record(s) you want. Amazon & eBay can surprise but you have to be diligent. I've missed out on not one but TWO copies of Jimmy Lyons - Push/Pull priced at $30 Buy-it-Now on eBay. Though contrary to results from mass sell offs there, auctions are usually MUCH more sane than BIN listings for more run of the mill stuff (Hat, Black Saint, Freedom, Nessa, et al)

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One thing that would be beneficial to me would just be to know what free jazz stuff is out there on vinyl that has never seen a legitimate release on CD. I've been in the CD world so long that it is occasionally surprising to me what is out there. I'm familiar with some of the labels that were never brought to CD, like Horo and Fontana (notwithstanding the "Movie Gold" selection at DMG), but just looking through EBay and other places the last couple weeks, I'm surprised by how much I've never heard of, like the above-mentioned Lacy.

Also, how far is too far to go out of your way for a record store visit? I need to hear some crazy stories. I need you guys to be my enablers.

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One thing that would be beneficial to me would just be to know what free jazz stuff is out there on vinyl that has never seen a legitimate release on CD. I've been in the CD world so long that it is occasionally surprising to me what is out there. I'm familiar with some of the labels that were never brought to CD, like Horo and Fontana (notwithstanding the "Movie Gold" selection at DMG), but just looking through EBay and other places the last couple weeks, I'm surprised by how much I've never heard of, like the above-mentioned Lacy.

Also, how far is too far to go out of your way for a record store visit? I need to hear some crazy stories. I need you guys to be my enablers.

Discogs can be a useful resource to check vinyl v. CD releases. Not always accurate but a guide. As for distances, I have a friend who shops in New York (ncluding DMG) but lives outside London, UK - far enough?

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One thing that would be beneficial to me would just be to know what free jazz stuff is out there on vinyl that has never seen a legitimate release on CD. I've been in the CD world so long that it is occasionally surprising to me what is out there. I'm familiar with some of the labels that were never brought to CD, like Horo and Fontana (notwithstanding the "Movie Gold" selection at DMG), but just looking through EBay and other places the last couple weeks, I'm surprised by how much I've never heard of, like the above-mentioned Lacy.

A lot of private press/micro-label stuff is not on CD.

As for labels, very little if any of the following vinyl catalogs made it to CD:

Kharma

Palm/Vendémiaire

Philly Jazz

IACP

Sun

FMP

Incus

ALM

Alan Bates/Fontana/Philips/Polydor/Intercord (excepting some Freedom titles on DA Music/Black Lion)

Red Record

Muza

Poljazz

Jazz Groove

Revelation

Amigo

Calig-Verlag

Bead

Strata-East

MPS

Parachute

Offbeat

Wergo Jazz

Also, India Navigation CD titles are surprisingly hard to come by and they left a lot out of their reissue program.

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Two of my favorite labels that fall into this category are Hat Hut and Moers. Now, the former obviously has a huge presence on CD, but a great deal of the early releases have never appeared on CD: Phillip Wilson, Baikida Carroll, some Joe McPhee, Alan Silva, Jerome Cooper, ROVA, Irene Schweizer, Jimmy Lyons, Daunik Lazro, Davd S Ware, George Sams, Raymond Boni, some Steve Lacy, and on and on.

As for Moers, they reissued a few things on CD which are very hard to find. But LPs include work by John Carter, Fred Anderson, Anthony Braxton, Barry Altschul, Phillip Wilson, Leo Smith (Orchestra & Trio), Roscoe Mitchell, John Surman, Evan Parker-Paul Lytton, Music Revelation Ensemble, Joseph Bowie, Ray Anderson, Ethnic Heritage Ensemble and others.

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You're about 3 hours out of NYC, right? IMHO, that's a long trip, but if YOU don't think so, that's what counts...

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That's $200 too much...

Yeah don't pay more then $100 for this("the kiss" by Steve Lacy)...it's a good record for sure but in my opinion there are better solo Lacy records out there. I used to have a mint copy with insert/obi but sold mine for $250...would have kept it but can't refuse that sort of crazy money! And I don't really regret it nor miss it...I'd certainly buy it again though if I saw it for $10 :)

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Two of my favorite labels that fall into this category are Hat Hut and Moers. Now, the former obviously has a huge presence on CD, but a great deal of the early releases have never appeared on CD: Phillip Wilson, Baikida Carroll, some Joe McPhee, Alan Silva, Jerome Cooper, ROVA, Irene Schweizer, Jimmy Lyons, Daunik Lazro, Davd S Ware, George Sams, Raymond Boni, some Steve Lacy, and on and on.

As for Moers, they reissued a few things on CD which are very hard to find. But LPs include work by John Carter, Fred Anderson, Anthony Braxton, Barry Altschul, Phillip Wilson, Leo Smith (Orchestra & Trio), Roscoe Mitchell, John Surman, Evan Parker-Paul Lytton, Music Revelation Ensemble, Joseph Bowie, Ray Anderson, Ethnic Heritage Ensemble and others.

Right, thanks for the reminder on Moers/Ring. I have some but not a ton of titles on that label. And yr right that early Hat Hut hasn't been mined too deeply - I honestly can't keep straight what they've reissued and what they haven't!

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Great (and useful) list Clifford. I second the Moers suggestion, some fine stuff indeed. I'd also add Circle (Cologne) for Philip Wilson, Sam Rivers, David Murray, James Newton .......

There's also a surprising and sometimes interesting selection of ECMs that never made it to CD (except in some cases very expensive Japanese releases) - Paul Bley's Ballads is a particular favourite. Tom Van Der Geld, Holland/Bailey, Rivers' Contrasts and others. And mention of ECM reminds me of the Japo releases that haven't seen a CD life

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Good call, lots of impressive ECM titles from the 70s.

Poor Phillip Wilson. What a damn shame so much of his work is so deeply OOP. CvsD said they were reissuing the Hat Hut LP so I hope they keep their word.

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I have a about a dozen Red Records CDs.

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Turns out I'll be able to make a trip to the Princeton Record Exchange next weekend, looking forward to it.

I was wondering if anybody could speak to the sound quality of the original Horo releases, especially the Sun Ras. I picked up some CD boots of these a few years ago that I assume were needle drops and wasn't impressed. Anybody who can comment on the original pressings, or for that matter, some of the repressings that are out there (some on the Klimt label), I'd very much appreciate it.

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The only Horos I've heard are the two Ran Blake and the sound is not too hot, which is unsurprising given the flimsiness of the vinyl. I've never heard great things.

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