LP Label help.

I am in the process of building a Jazz collection. I have been looking around various shops in the Bay Area to see what is available. My question is, is there a particular label or re-issue that I should look for or stay away from? For example, Miles Davis (Kind of Blue) is at the local shop for $11 on a Columbia 180 gram re-rissue. It is also on ebay on Classic Records for $89. Can anyone point me to a source for information of provide me with general guidelines. I am willing to pay a premium for better LP's, but without paying $100 per, what should I look for. Thanks for any help.
Welcome to the confusing world of LP collecting. The back issues of "The Tracking Angle" magazine had a lot of info on this but it is out of business. The 180 gram Impulse reissues are generally very good and the Classic reissues are also very good, http://www.classicrecs.com/. The Miles Davis you mention is sold out but they have other titles. I have purchased a lot used Galaxy titles in the bay area for around $5 that are well recorded. I think it was Street Light records. The San Jose (I believe on Bascom) store had a good selection last time I was in last year. The SF store was dissapointing. Go to the Analog Shop in San Jose, they have a very good selection of reissues and used records, and the owner is very knowledgeable. Not the cheapest, but the prices are fair and the guidance you get will be worth the premium. I forget the owner's name but he could probably give you some advice on your quest. Please share it with us. Happy hunting.
Go! Grip the 180 gram Kind of Blue fast!!!!!!!
Analog Productions, Classic Records, DCC, Mosaic are all re-issues, generally 180 gram, and excellent. If you find the title you want on any of these, it is unlikely you will every be disappointed in the sound quality. Impulse is a jazz label that has been doing 180g vinyl reissues, but I have not been very impressed with these (although I've read several reviews that say these are great--it's just not been my experience).
Edle, You can frequently pick up the 180g KOB pressing on Ebay for <$20. So I'm not sure if a $9 savings is anything to jump in the car for.

The best pressing of KOB that I know of is the 4LP one-sided 45RPM set from Classic. The second runner up is the 2LP 33/45RPM set from Classic which I just got for $80. Both of these are OOP but there is one of the latter up for auction on ebay right now.
Bobkirs, Original pressings of Blue Note Jazz LPs are scarce and hideously expensive when available. The digitally remastered Blue Note LPs were a shadow of the analog originals, sonically. Fortunately though, an equally heavyweight label(musically & sonically)surfaced with a reissue series that was spectacular. The company is FANTASY records. The labels include the the most "serious" jazz had to offer. i.e. PRESTIGE, RIVERSIDE, CONTEMPORARY, PABLO,MILESTONE, GALAXY, and more. The LPs were titled OJC (original jazz classics) and are widely available used. The CD counterparts are very good as well. Hope this helps a little........Frank
hi there
even the lower priced Columbia re-issue on vinyl is an excellent sounding record. The truth is that with fabulous soundstaging records like Kind of Blue, Waltz for Debbie, etc., you will get fabulous sonics from any clean pressing. However, if you don't mind spending the $$$, the high priced spread is usually like upgrading to a better cartridge or cable upgrade. However, you could buy all classic Miles Davis vinyl on the inexpensive Columbia pressings for the price of one EBay purchase

have fun

Man, you guys have nailed the LP's to look for. The only others that immediately come to mind are Verve, Concord and ECM. The Verve are typically mainstream Jazz such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday. Even though many of these were recorded in mono or early stereo, they are lively, focused and intimate in their presentation. Pressings in good condition are almost certain to please, as these artists are impossible not to love.

The ECM label is comprised of modern artists like Keith Jarrett, Ralph Towner, Carla Bley, Oregon, and Steve Tibbetts. I very much like the ECM lineup, but would advise proceeding slowly if you are not familiar with this music. Some of the artists and performances are far from traditional mainstream jazz, and people tend to be either on one side or the other in accepting them.

The Concord LP's are not only finely crafted recordings with minimal mixing and equalization, they have a distinct sound. Once you have listened to a few Concord records, you will come to recognize their character. In addition to this fine format, some of the featured artists include Ray Brown, Rosemary Clooney, Jim Hall, Marian McPartland, Herb Ellis, Harry "Sweets" Edison and Joe Pass. These artists perform not only traditional jazz, but some surprising new sounds as well. There is always excellent location work on the live albums, especially the Concord Jazz Festival releases.

The reissue Fantasy products already mentioned, ( Pablo, Contemporary, Galaxy, etc.) are almost without exception, beautifully recorded sessions, featuring some of the most important Jazz artists of our time. There was a time a few years ago when this CA. based operation was struggling. During one summer, I remember them offering to the general public, new sealed LP's, 3 for $10.00. Every artist and label in their catalogue was available at this price, so a good number were sold. I found sealed copies as recently as a month ago, so I would certainly keep an eye out for these.

The Mosiac box sets mentioned were also of exceptional quality. Unfortunately, almost all that were ever produced are out of print. Worse, I see a trend were new releases are offered only on CD. The LP sets that were produced were typically limited to only 5000 hand numbered box sets. Some sold so quickly I lost my chance to buy some of the artists that I wanted. I did manage to aquire 28 of these box sets, and from that experience I will add that for Miles Davis, except for the "Plugged Nickel Sessions," you will do just as well with the Classic Records Reissues. As for the 45 RPM Classic reissues of Miles Davis, "Spain," just arrived at my home last week. If you are a Miles fan, you should purchase this title before there is a shortage.

Best wishes in putting your library together, I hope you find some of the joy in this music that my collection has provided me.
Albert is correct about a lot of Mosaic titles being out of print. They are still in business though and a lot of titles are still available at http://www.mosaicrecords.com including some of the Miles Davis sets.
Thanks for all the help!! I am printing off this thread to have in my back pocket as I flip through used record shops. My turntable arrives tomorrow so I can't wait to start cueing these up. Thanks again for the info.
Based on many years of LP collecting (going back to the late 1950's), there were many labels that had fine jazz recordings -- and most of them have already been mentioned. A pair of Italian labels also produced some superb jazz recordings starting in the mid-1980's: the "Black Saint" and "Soul Note" labels. Both labels are owned by Giovanni Bonandrini, and the jazz recordings on his labels were consistently among the most adventurous and best recorded. One of my favorite jazz artists is David Murray, and Bonandrini released some half-dozen terrific recordings by Murray's octet and quartet. If you find either Black Saint or Soul Note LP's, grab them!
Albert; Just wanted to agree with the ECM records comment. This label , while not "hardcore jazz", has produced stellar sonics and pristine surfaces since their inception in the early 70s (I think). Artists like Ralph Towner (Solstice!!WOW!!) and Steve Tibbetts (Northern Song!!)as well as Chick Corea (ARC, Trio Music, Trio Music Live)&, Kieth Jarrett have been wonderful and innovative to hear.
The German ECM pressings were a couple of notches better than the already excellent US copies.
I can imagine your going nuts over the sound through your Sound Labs. I had a chance to hear Tibbetts' "Northern Song" LP when first issued on Roger West's original Sound Lab Model R-1 and came away with the conclusion that this designer had the ability to advance the state of the art in speakers. Then , found out he worked with the ledgendary Arthur Janszen back in the KLH 9 days and I knew he had the pedegree to create a Quad beater. Never heard anything of his since.. Thanks for listening.......Frank
Frap, I am pleased to know that someone else is a fan of this material. As for "Northern Song," It is one of my favorites. The best copy I have of it ( I have three copies) is the release from the Munchen 60 GmbH address, in 1982, and is a promo.

I was so impressed the first time I found Steve Tibbetts material, that I wrote him and ask about his first LP titled "Steve Tibbetts." He actually wrote me back, on a postcard with a T Rex (dinosaur) on the front, apologizing that it was out of print. This confirmed that it existed, although I had never seen it. It was pressed by Frammis Records in Minneapolis, MN. and never released again. I never gave up looking, and now have two copies of it.

One last piece of obscure trivia, the album released on ECM titled "Yr" was previously released material. The original was also recorded by Frammis in MN. Unknown to most, Ralph Karsten, that owns Atmasphere was heavily involved in the recording. ( Neat trivia stuff, huh? )

ECM used a copy of the original tape, and had to remove a violin track for some reason ( heard they could not obtain rights ). The original pressing kills the ECM, which is wonderful in itself. If you can find the original Frammis LP, there are two versions, one with day sky and one with night sky. The cover art is all hand drawn artwork, and features a strange sphinx/horse creature standing near a biological looking space ship. I prefer the night sky version, but take what you can get.

Anyway, sorry if it is too much info, I am just as obsessed with the software as the gear. If you ever see the original, and like Yr, snag it ( Frammis 1522-25 ).
Thanks for the tip Albert, I will talk to my friends at Princeton to see if they have seen this first LP. If I am lucky enough to hear it, I'll report back.
Also, not to be missed, if you don't already have it is DAVID DARLING, CYCLES on ECM around the same time period. This label had a sound all its own, washed in wonderful reverb that in its own way enhanced the music.....maybe even more so than a natural studio A type environment. It was their house sound. Maybe the precurser to New Age music, but this was no sonic wallpaper like the stuff today on Narada etc....Nice to reminice about these little known items.....Frank