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More rare jazz gems for fewer greenbacks

With patience and luck, it’s a breeze to find overlooked jazz LPs for a song.

About a year ago I authored an article for Goldmine — the theme was that you don’t have to go broke collecting rare jazz LPs.

Sure, there are some collectors who can afford to pay big bucks for Blue Notes and cartons of cash for Contemporarys. But, if you are not one of those lucky few who can, do not despair.

I get a special thrill out of finding a record that is both enjoyable and more or less unknown. The pages of my two price guides contain many penciled-in entries — records that don’t exist, at least according to the price guides. Because they are not listed in the guides, collectors tend to overlook them when they show up in thrift stores and yard sales. It is true that you have to do a little searching through some vinyl foolishness to find some serious wax, but isn’t that part of the fun of being a record collector?

This article is a continuation of my previous one. Listed and described below are a few of the many unknowns I have managed to rescue from yard sales, thrift stores and used vinyl emporiums. Most found their way into my collection for a dollar or so.

Big Beat on the Organ

Jon Thomas

Wing 12258

Personnel: Jon Thomas — organ, unknown sax, unknown drums, unknown bass.

I had just purchased three LPs for a dollar, and I was about to leave the thrift store when I decided to invest another 34 cents on this record. I’m glad I did. Fans of jazz organist Jimmy Smith will like these 10 tracks, but the mysterious sax player, with his warm, fat sound, often steals the limelight. This is especially true on “Diane,” “Hard Head” and “Memories of You.” Is this the famous “Jug” Ammons, who also had an LP on Wing?

Big Saxophone in Rock & Roll Style

Teddy & the Tornadoes

Shelley X-12

unknown sax, unknown piano, unknown drums, unknown guitar, unknown bass.

The title notwithstanding, someone forgot to tell this outfit they were supposed to play straight rock and roll. This is definitely a jazz LP. “Moonlight Becomes You,” “Blue Moon” and “Moonlight and Roses” are standouts on this 14-track set that originated from the same Shelley label that gave birth to a few doo-wop gems in the early ’60s. I’m guessing this LP was also made in the early ’60s, based on the musical style. Anyone know the identity of these fine jazz musicians?

El Tigre

Barney Kessel & Harold Land

Charlie Parker 832

Barney Kessel, guitar; Harold Land, tenor sax; Jimmy Rowles, piano; Pete Condoli, trumpet; Red Mitchell, bass; Larry Bunker, vibes; Mel Lewis, drums.

There is no mystery surrounding the identities of the seven players listed here. All are justifiably famous in jazz circles. The mystery is why this LP, featuring an all-star lineup and produced by a well-known jazz label about 1963, has seemingly escaped the attention of those who author jazz price guides. Condoli is bodacious on “Body and Soul,” Rowles shows his pianistic prowess on “Cheeta’s for Two,” and Land plays lovely enough to charm any snake on “The Cobra.” This is a consistently fine LP throughout.

Sax Spectacular Volume Two

Bob Fleming

HiFi Masterpiece 11036

Bob Fleming, sax; unknown piano; unknown bass; unknown drums.

Fleming plays a mean sax in an echo chamber and the pianist is better than adequate on such classic tunes as “I’m in the Mood for Love,” “Stella by Starlight” and “All the Way.” There are no liner notes, but the back cover informs us that