Columbia masterworks Lps....

Looking for suggestions...DUke ellington? CLassical? Are these easy to find used?
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As a rule, the Jazz is very good in sound and legendary artistry.

As a rule, buy classical Columbia for the *artistry* not for excellent sound--they should be ashamed about the latter. Even the two TAS listed issues: Walter's Beethoven 6th and Brahms 4th, cause me to scratch my head.

The earlier recordings, called "6 eye" can sound OK, minimal miking, tubed sound, esp. the NYPO/Bernsteins. They got OK sound with the Walter and Stravinsky/ Columbia Symphony, generally-speaking; the people involved in recording Szell and Ormandy should have a special place in Hell reserved-- the recordings are dry and harsh. OTOH, there are two Szell's to look out for: his Strauss Don Quixote and Wagner excerpts from the Ring. Shockingly good sound. Many swear by Szell's artistry in any case. (Szell is on Columbia's cheap Epic label--look for the gold label.

During the '60's Columbia's "two eye" period, the sound generally got worse, (though two eye reissues of earlier 6 eyes are fine), though I wouldn't want to be without Bernstein's Copland from this period.

There are some late Columbia's from the '70's that aren't bad: Tilson Thomas' Orff Carmina Burana IMHO the best, and some of the English Philharmonia performances, including Puccini's Suor Angelica and Copland's own 3rd Symphony.

Early mono Classical isn't bad at all, and some is very valuable, depending upon the artists, including Szigeti, the violinist.

If you live in the US, Columbias are everywhere. I wouldn't spend more than $2 for any of them. It might be better to acquaint yourself with Classical standards by exploring the London/(Decca) label, which has fantastic sound, and then explore alternate performances on other labels.

I hope this all makes sense, I'm late for work!
Jdaniel just referred to the London/Decca labels. Go for the London Stereo Treasury lps for classical. It's still a mystery to me why classical collectors shun them. Not only is their sound generally very good, but they are offered at cheap prices. One big caution, however: check the labels on these records. Make sure they are red, orange or orange-red and they say made in England and the Decca Record Co, Ltd. There were later re-issues made in the U.S. with tri-color red, yellow and blue labels whose sound quality is not the same. Avoid them. Good luck.
I forgot to mention that some of the labels of the U.S. made London Stereo Treasuries are also just a light yellow color with black lettering. Avoid them too.