Baltimore Jazz Conference, April 22, 2023
BJA celebrated National Record Store Day with the Vinyl Roadshow of the 2023 Baltimore Jazz Conference. This session featured Jackie Oldham, BJA member and music enthusiast; Doc Manning, former radio host and DJ on WEAA; and Rudy Wagoner, owner of Mr. Vinyl Records.
During this session-turned-conversation, we learned about two worlds of record collecting: high-end vinyl, and record store vinyl. Wagoner and Manning elaborated on the art of jazz vinyl collecting. Jazz vinyl collecting is very popular in England and Asia; “Jazz is popular internationally, and there is a market for it,” says Wagoner. Blue Note Record Label vinyls are one of the most popular and valuable jazz vinyls to collect, especially those produced before 1966. One vinyl can be worth $5,000 to $10,000 because so few of them were made. Many jazz vinyls are rare because at the time, you had to be “hip” to know the jazz artists releasing records at the time. For example, John Coltrane was not popular in the early 1950s, as he was just beginning to play with Miles Davis and was not as well known as he would soon be in the early 1960s.
Another takeaway was to take care of old, used vinyl! Keep them in plastic coverings if possible. To try and fix skipping on vinyl, first clean the vinyl with a clean, old t-shirt and water. Then, clean the grooves on the vinyl with a toothpick. Unfortunately, many old vinyl collections tend to be thrown out, or hidden in someone’s basement, where there is no knowledge of how valuable a collection can be. Make sure to check the vinyls stowed away in your homes, as your collections could be valuable treasures!
–by Brynn Rhodes
Brynn Rhodes is a BJA board member and jazz enthusiast