Just before the end of the year, I was fortunate to purchase an amazing collection of classic Jazz memorabilia and autographs, some of which I’d originally sold years ago–and never thought I’d see again. This post shows off some of the most interesting and unusual items, many of which are for sale at Recordmecca. But beyond the commercial aspect, I thought readers might enjoy seeing some truly rare and amazing artifacts from an era long passed.
To the left is a large poster advertising two November 1962 shows in Stockholm, Sweden by the “classic” John Coltrane Quartet–with Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner and Jimmy Garrison. These shows were later issued on CD as “The Complete Stockholm Concerts.” Coltrane posters are extremely rare, and we can find no other surviving example of this bold beauty.
John Coltrane is probably my favorite jazz artist and the next item is truly extraordinary–Coltrane’s own Grammy Nomination plaque awarded to him in 1965 for “Best Original Jazz Composition: A Love Supreme.” Coltrane was nominated for only two Grammy’s during his lifetime, this one and “Best Jazz Performance: Small Group Or Soloist” the same year. He didn’t win either, so this award–owned by Coltrane himself, is as close as he got. The fact that it’s for his most important work, “A Love Supreme,” and that it was consigned by Coltrane’s family to the legendary 2005 Guernsey’s Jazz Auction make this as desirable a piece of Coltrane memorabilia as you’re ever likely to see. From the same auction, we also here have Coltrane’s own Downbeat Reader’s Poll Award for 1966 (First Place: Tenor Saxophone.)
Next are some great jazz handbills–first, a truly rare handbill for two performance by Charlie “Bird” Parker at the Open Door, a club in New York’s Greenwich Village where jazz writer and Brooklyn College teacher Bob Reisner held a weekend jazz club. These shows took place in early January, 1955–only two months before Parker’s death, at age 35. Charlie Parker memorabilia is impossibly rare, and this handbill, while simple, says it all–”The Greatest In Modern Jazz.” And along the same lines, another Open Door handbill, this one from 1954 for Thelonious Monk and His All Stars. What a scene that must have been. And finally, a 1966 handbill for the “Titans of the Tenor !” show at New York’s Philharmonic Hall, featuring John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Coleman Hawkins and Zoot Sims on the same bill.
And now some autographs. First, a framed Charlie Parker “cut” (a small piece of paper with a signature,) framed with a famous William Gottlieb photograph of Bird (also signed.) As you might imagine, an authentic Bird autograph is the rarest and most sought after signature in jazz.
And here are the very rare autographs of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane, both signed on photographs (making them all the more desirable,) and a later signed Miles Davis postcard. All highly collectible, and rare (at least authentic ones are.)