The (Secret) Best Deal on Jazz Vinyl Today

The sublime 1970s Milestone Two-fers. Plus: Joe Henderson's early records on Milestone, alternately hard bop and dreamy.

Feb 11, 2022

A few months ago, just for fun, I decided to make a few videos about music I love—especially record-collecting. As usual, I picked a subject almost nobody would be interested in. This one, though, is useful for the beginning jazz record buyer.

In the early 1970s, Milestone Records wound up with the catalogs of Riverside, Prestige, New Jazz and other, smaller classic jazz labels of the 50s and early 60s. They issued compilations, which were mostly 2LP sets of two different (and usually complete) albums by the same artist. Often these sets were arranged thematically: Wes Montgomery, for example, had sets of ballads and sets comprising collaborations with other bands, etc. Since this was the early 70s, the mastering was done from the original analog tapes. And, since it was prior to the oil embargo, the weight of the vinyl was relatively heavy. All of these sound great.

HERE IS A DISCOGS SEARCH for Milestone Records > Vinyl > Compilation > Near Mint > Ships from the United States.

Here’s how the search results look. Just about anything that’s marked “2xLP” is worth buying, and there are 328 of these sets available to purchase as of this post. You can’t go wrong with any of these. Happy hunting.

On the Turntable

Joe Henderson didn’t have any older records to be reissued on Milestone in the early 70s. His recorded output for Blue Note in the 60s was legendary, of course—both as a leader and sideman. But he signed to Milestone at the end of that decade and continued making advanced and beautiful hard bop music, at least for a time. The record I’m first holding up in the video, Henderson’s Foresight, collected music from The Kicker, Tetragon, and Power to the People (1967-1969). All of these are stone classics.

The title track to The Kicker is prime hard bop Henderson.

On Power to the People, he’s joined by Herbie Hancock on Fender Rhodes. It’s also the career high point of Ron Carter; his bass was never recorded better than on these records. “Black Narcissus” and “Opus 1.5” are two of Henderson’s most lovely ballads.