Saturday, November 12, 2011

Core Collection – A Picture

When I first became interested in jazz, I picked up the Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings and decided that acquiring the entire core collection – 187 (in that edition, the eighth) “must have” historic jazz recordings – would be the best way to learn about jazz. So I went through the book and made a spreadsheet and then set about finding all the recordings. Some of my efforts over the years have already been documented in this blog. In March of this year, I was able to track down and purchase three very hard to find, pretty expensive CD’s and announced to Mrs. S that I had completed my collection. The next step was to photograph it.

Several times, I stutter-started the project (much like my piano restoration effort), usually giving up due to lack of space, lack of time, or general resistance to the huge effort it would take to lay out that many CD’s so that they would be more or less visible in one photograph. But after the tornadoes rolled through Alabama last April, I’ve sort of been on a mission of getting rid of “stuff”. “Stuff” is nice, don’t get me wrong, but if a tornado blows it all away, you won’t have any “stuff” and you won’t have much of a way of getting it back. So, I thought it prudent to lighten my load. And now that I’m much more mature and knowledgeable about jazz music and my likes and dislikes, I decided that I should sell off the CD’s that I’m never going to listen to. Before that, however, I needed to make a concerted effort to take a picture of the collection as evidence that, at one point in my life, I did in fact have possession of the entire core collection, all at one time. Here’s what it looks like in chronological order:

Me and the core collection: CD's are in chronological order
This was actually the second layout I did, and it’s good that I did, because the first layout was missing three CD’s. This was due to working from a bad list and oversight on my part, but the chronological list was complete and accurate. So, with the initial layout and this one, I was invested for about two hours of my time. Even though I was sweating bullets for all the bending and moving around without stepping on CDs, Mrs. S still talked me into rearranging them once more, to get the original shot that I set out to take: an alphabetical shot with me in the middle of them. So, here’s what it looks like in alphabetical order in five blocks of 36 CD’s, with some sets pulled out so as to not block the view.

Me and the core collection: Alphabetical order
Let me put that picture in perspective now: three years of collecting, three hours of arranging, one photo. This is, I believe, also the first time all the CD’s of the core collection have been photographed together. That is “photographed together” and not “PhotoShopped together”.

Although I am tempted to keep this collection together, simply because of the achievement, but also because I might fancy updating it with the selections from Penguin’s current edition, I believe I have proved all I could hope to prove by assembling this collection, once, and so now, for many of the reasons I mentioned above, I’m comfortable just liquidating this and getting rid of what I don’t want to listen to and trading them for some that maybe I do.

If you fancy you want to have your own core collection, you need to go to and ebay right now and buy up the CD’s I’m selling there. Some of them are really hard to find.

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