Every year on the third Saturday of April, the world (or the musically-obsessed part of it) celebrates the superiority of the master record or vinyl with Record Store Day. Last year I was able to spend a few cold and sunny hours in TITLE, a record shop in the culturally vibrant inner city suburb of Surry Hills. This year the torrents of rain and my working commitments kept me away. Fortunately, the JB HI-FI store (a vast yet commercial chain) in the centre I work in was offering sales on its small collection of vinyls.
Under the pretense of collecting the mail for my shop I stopped in the busy store and frantically swept through their 50/60s and Jazz sections for good deals, not an easy task in 10 minutes. Amongst a gamut of The Beatles standards, obscure live Queen records, expensive Bowie albums and contemporary artists, I searched for hot and cold jazz artists combining obscurity and genius.
Of the selections (lamentably lacking any Sonny Rollins whatsoever), I came across Miles Davis’ Miles in Amsterdam (1957), The Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall (1959), and Ray Charles’ Genius + Soul = Jazz (1961) with arrangements by Quincy Jones and Ralph Burns. All up it added to $40– the amount for a single Bob Dylan album, while I threw in the Rolling Stones’ Doom and Gloom single for $5. Davis’ Amsterdam Concert is one of the lesser-known recordings of the musician, one he played not with his usual quintet, but with the same line-up he used for the Ascenseur pour l’échafaud soundtrack. Barney Wilen features on tenor sax.
The haul was not as great as last years’ in which I found obscure and rare albums from Ellington and Art Pepper. But perhaps the further north you go in Sydney, the less likely you are to find those kinds of gems. In any case these fresh albums (marketed intriguingly as ‘pure virgin vinyl’), I felt were a good deal. Until next year!