Andy Warhol’s Jazz Album Covers Vol.1

This did not come out of santa’s big ol’ bag of toys, but the second volume did. But as always, first things first. I was looking at my purchase history at discogs and i actually got this more than a year and a half ago. And i got it for one reason and one reason only, and that reason was Trombone by Three. If i had to pick my absolute favourite cover of them all it would be a tight race between Trombone by Three and The Nation’s Nightmare, but i think the latter would come up on top. Naturally an original copy of this is both crazy rare and CRAAAAZY expensive, the last recorded sale i could find is from june of last year and clocking in at almost $900, so that ain’t going to happen any time soon. Sadly the copy that’s in the box is just slightly better than what the result of gluing a printed image to the cardboard of an LP mailer would be, but more on that later…

Just a short background, and this will be short because for once i’m not interested enough to do a proper and thorough investigation kind of thing. Why? Well, bascially because the records are crap. The actual box is quite nice but the content is disappointing, to say the least. Anyways, both of these boxes were released at the end of 2011 on a label from Italy called Doxy Records and each volume comes in an edition of 500 numbered copies, my copy is number 230. But how was all this even possible? Well, as said i don’t really feel like going to the bottom of it all but it must have something to do with a european loophole when it comes to the copyright terms and the rules about public domain. One of my favourite bands of all time is The Beatles and i remember reading some articles (like this one in Rolling Stone Magazine) a while ago about Love Me Do entering the public domain at the start of 2013, there was also some fuzz about a couple of small labels releasing reissues of the song. As i understand it the copyright term enjoyed by sound recordings in the european union used to be 50 years but has now been changed to 70 years. It’s probably still 50 years in some counties since these things can take quite some time to implement in the different countries. But anyways, that would somewhat explain the recordings since all the albums in the boxes are +50 years old. But the artwork? This i don’t understand and hopefully someone from the WCCC or someone else can explain it better in a comment or something. Andy Warhol has not been dead for 70 years, did he sign away his copyright to the labels he did the work for, and if so, does that copyright then follow the music in some strange way? I don’t know how these things work, and frankly i don’t care THAT much either.

Anyways, what’s inside the box besides the reason i got it are copies of Monk, Count Basie and Kenny Burrell – Vol. 2. Granted, original copies of all of these are very hard to find but i’m pretty sure i already had reissues of them all when i got the box. As i recall it i payed about $35 for the box which at the time i thought was a pretty good deal for what was basically a reissue of Trombone by Three, and as far as i know the only ever reissue using Warhol’s cover design. The box was brand new and sealed when i got it and for some reason i kept it that way until just recently. I was looking for something to get myself for christmas and the second volume holds a copy of Blue Lights which is another cover that’s both rare and expensive. I wheeled and dealed with a couple of sellers at discogs but then eventually found an even cheaper copy on Amazon, so i decided to go with that one. Anyways, after i had ordered that one i emailed a little bit with Richard Forrest and Guy Minnebach about the Blue Lights album and the different versions and so on. I was also told by Guy that the records were basically crap. I rarely doubt these friends of mine but still thought – how bad could it be? And i’m not usually picky about these things. Well, i’ve now broken the seal and checked them out. And it’s pretty bad. All covers have a really cheap feel to them, pale and boring prints without any gloss whatsoever. Some details have also been removed like the “16 RPM” on Trombone by Three and the “Blue Note 1543” on Kenny Burrell Vol. 2 which has resulted in a weird looking eye. When it comes to the records i haven’t played any of them so i can’t say for sure what they sound like. But it’s probably a pretty safe bet that the master is just CD files that have been cut to vinyl. There is one positive thing about this though, and that’s the box itself. It’s nice and glossy and basically has the design of the never released Progressive Piano on the cover. According to Guy Minnebach this was basically the only reason to get them and after seeing what’s inside i can’t do anything but agree with him. Unfortunately my order for the second volume was already placed, payed and shipped by the time i knew this so that was a bit of a bummer. But oh well, at least i now have both the boxes and a crap looking version of Blue Lights, too bad it cost me more than twice what this first box did. But more on that in a later post…

This almost turned into some kind of product review, but so be it. I think this is the first time i’ve been truly disappointed with anything i’ve gotten for my collection. If you are not in a situation like i was desperately craving a copy of one or more of the really hard to find covers i would not recommend anyone getting these boxes. And if so, make sure you get a good deal. There are usally a couple of copies on ebay but at those prices, forget about it. There are also copies of both on discogs but for god’s sake, haggle, haggle and haggle before placing an order. Oh, and some “shady” sellers also sell these separately now. For example a copy of Trombone by Three was sold on ebay for $50 not that long ago, a terrible deal. And to be honest i have also been this kind of moron buyer. The first copy of Count Basie that i bought was from one of these boxes, i blame ignorance at the time and in retrospect this is NOT a deal to be proud of. But lucky me, at least i now have two of those! In all probability this will also be the closest i will ever get to a copy of Trombone by Three, so maybe it’s not so bad after all…

JazzAlbumCoversVol1_1 JazzAlbumCoversVol1_2TromboneByThree


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