Some LP's in the high-end jazz vinyl collector world are considered "the rarest of the rare". For example BLP 1568, Jackie McLean on Ad Lib, Cool Struttin' BLP 1588, Jutta Hipp w. Zoot Sims on BLP 1530, Overseas by Tommy Flanagan on PRLP 7134 and so on. But one that is often not mentioned among the really rare ones are "City Lights" by Lee Morgan on BLP 1575, with a NY23 label on one side. Yes, that's right. A NY23 label has to be present to be considered a true 1st pressing. At least according to the owner of Jazz Record Center in NYC, Fred Cohen's book, titled "Blue Note Records - a guide for identifying original pressings". In that book it also says that a copy of BLP 1577, John Coltrane's "Blue Train" should also have a one side NY23 to be a true 1st pressing. As well, the BLP 1568 should have a NY23 label on side 2.
This means that, either you follow the directions of this book, to sort out what is a 1st pressing, or you go by some other notion, that they used labels randomly at the pressing plant and that a BLP 1575 copy with both sides W63 could be a true 1st also. That they were pressed in the same run.
I tend to be conservative and take no risks, and therefore consider the versions with the NY23 to be the true 1st pressings. Either way, it's probably more difficult to find BLP 1575, BLP 1577 or BLP 1568 with a NY23 label, and therefore makes those copies rarer. And therefore more expensive. So, my copy of "City Lights" have a NY23 label on one side. It's in M-/M- condition. Absolutely beautiful in every way. Almost impossible to find this nice with a NY23 I believe. How many copies of 1575 have you seen with a NY23 label in top condition? Not many I suspect.
I truly believe that a great copy of this record or "Blue Train" with NY23 is just as rare as a 1568 with NY23. You never see a 1575 with a NY23 label in top condition. Ever. At least not me, and I always keep a look out for rare records. So that said, I'm extremely proud and happy, to be the owner of an amazing true 1st pressing of this superb album.
Lee Morgan on trumpet, together with Curtis Fuller on trombone, George Coleman on tenor and alto sax, Ray Bryant on piano, Paul Chambers (of course) on double bass and Art Taylor on the drums. This is a fine session with some nice tunes. I particulary love the ballad "You're Mine You" and Benny Golson's "Tempo de Waltz". Lee Morgan's trumpet playing is outstanding as usual. Great sounding LP. A great Morgan which should be on the shelf in every jazz lovers' home.
Stay tuned for more superb jazz rarities.