Category Archives: A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 5/22/17

Florence + The Machine Manager and Drummer Open London Record Store Café: Florence + The Machine manager Mairead Nash and her husband Christopher Hayden, the drummer for the band, have created Lion Coffee + Records in the London suburb of Hackney. Lion Coffee + Records is a coffee shop, venue and vinyl specialist store. The couple named the after their 3-year old son Arlo Lion. Mairead not only manages Florence + The Machine but is also the owner of Luv Luv Records. Each Thursday night the place has the Luv Luv Luv Presents showcases for new artists while established bands play the Live At Lion sessions on Saturdays.

Hunger for vinyl means a chronic shortage of pressing machines, Only two firms still make the lacquer discs used in mastering: Although vinyl is still only a tiny fraction of the global music market, big orders from record labels have swamped the few pressing plants left and caused delays in production. GZ Media has kept on top of orders by building, from 2014 on, updated versions of its older pressing machines. Others are also ramping up. More than a dozen new pressing plants have cropped up across North America, Europe and beyond in the past couple of years. A chronic shortage of machines is the chief headache. Reports of people racing across the world to get their hands on an old machine have become common.

Check out this DIY cardboard record player: With the biggest range of options since vinyl’s heyday (even bargain supermarket Aldi is getting involved), choosing which turntable is right for you can be hard work. Do you go for levitating one? Or perhaps even a little vehicle that runs rings around your records to play them wherever you go? But sometimes, you just want the bare basics. A small, portable new player that strips away all the unnecessary functions that you’ll probably ever need. Step forward, Spinbox – a new Kickstarter which is an absolute treat for vinyl heads and budget-shoppers everywhere. The idea behind it is simple. The company provide you with all the bare necessities to build your own record player and leave you to it.

The Big Interview: Ian Peel Introduces Long Live Vinyl: Now on Issue 3 already, and monthly as of April (Record Store Day month!), Long Live Vinyl is the world’s biggest and best vinyl magazine. We might actually be the world’s only purely vinyl magazine, actually. But, either way, for anyone that loves vinyl experience, this is their natural home. The magazine is one of the jewels in the crown of Anthem Publishing’s increasingly dominant role in the high street music sector which also takes in Country Music, Music-Tech, Vintage Rock and of course Classic Pop.

An ode to the joy and madness of the B-side: A B-side is, in one sense, a by-product. A quirk of the format on which it features. Its passage into the world is a precise inversion of the A-side’s journey here. An A-side is a song whose appeal is so great that it’s deemed worth an expense of hundreds, perhaps thousands of pounds, involving studios, pressing plants and artwork. All of this happens because someone wrote a song so good that it was deemed worthy of having an artefact manufactured that would house it exclusively. And once all of that is done, the next thing that requires attention is the B-side. The B-side is both a problem and a solution to a problem. When an empty space needs to be filled with something, something creative can happen.

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In rotation: 5/19/17

Thorens unveils new retro 900-series turntables: Thorens has unveiled a new range of retro-inspired turntables, the 900-series, marrying vintage design with all-new materials and build. Based loosely on the Swiss manufacturer’s classic TD 170 and TD 160 from the ’60s and ’70s, the three new turntables are made of Tricom, with is an aluminium/POM composite that is both firm and good at dampening sound. The 130-year old audio company has taken several steps with the new 900s to dampen vibrations at every point, with the motor mounted directly onto the sub-chassis, which powers the belt-drive sub-platter. Further more, that sub-chassis is suspended on adjustable conical springs.

Romanus Records: the little label that’s reinventing vinyl, Sand? Feathers? Razor blades? Meet Romanus Records, the tiny Indianapolis label taking vinyl into new, exciting, and occasionally dangerous territory: Take the Indianapolis label’s approach to In Ya Neck v2, by feisty Texan rock’n’roll duo Ghost Wolves, which came out earlier this year. Splatter vinyl was never going to be enough. Instead, the label issued a ‘Dangerous vinyl’ edition and inserted razor blades into the plastic, scattering them round the plastic like deadly sharks encircling a shipwreck. And — as if that wasn’t enough — they added a layer of free-flowing “gun powder” to the record, which tumbles around inside the vinyl as it moves. It might just be the first EP you’re not allowed to take on board an aircraft.

Radiohead fan recreates OK Computer cover at Connecticut location it was shot: Radiohead fans got their minds blown last week upon the discovery that the seemingly anonymous highway connector on the cover of OK Computer is located in Hartford, Connecticut. Now another fan has travelled to the Hilton hotel where the original photo appeared to be taken to get a look for themselves. Theories suggested that the Hilton hotel was where the cover photo was taken due to the angle and the fact that the band performed in Hartford on August 20, 1996 shortly before going back to England to record OK Computer. On Reddit, the fan explains he travelled to the hotel and asked to visit one of the rooms overlooking the highway to see.

The Raiders Of The Lost Ark soundtrack is getting a vinyl reissue: According to Consequence Of Sound, Concord has announced that it’s releasing a special vinyl reissue of John Williams’ soundtrack for Raiders Of The Lost Ark. The double-LP is pressed on 180-gram vinyl, and it comes in a “gatefold jacket with original sills and artwork from the movie.” Along with that fancy presentation, it will include “over 30 minutes of extended cues” that you could only get on an extended CD version from 2008 before now. The reissue was also arranged by Bernie Grundman, the engineer who mastered the original soundtrack in 1981. You can see the full tracklist at Consequence Of Sound, and you can pre-order the album on Amazon.

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In rotation: 5/18/17

New Documentary On Winnipeg’s Old Record Stores: They once lined north Portage Avenue in Winnipeg…record stores. They were cultural meeting places.A new documentary called “New And Used: Winnipeg” takes a look the stores, what they meant to people and what the community looks like today. The doc is being called a story of ritual, passion and culture.It stars a who’s who from Winnipeg’s music community and record store scene. People like historian John Einarson, musician Jason Tait of the Weakerthans and Greg Tonn from Into The Music.

Entrepreneurs betting on book and record stores: With summer right around the corner, several entrepreneurs are hoping to give area residents new options for finding the perfect beach read. If history is your thing, Mike Roer, owner of Academy Books & Records, has a multitude of choices at his shop in downtown Bridgeport, which opened over the weekend. Roer’s business, located on Fairfield Avenue, contains book shelves full of literature that dates back several centuries. “We’re not trying to compete with Barnes & Noble,” he said.

Watch the world’s first TEDx talk on the culture of record digging: The first ever TEDx talk on the cultural importance and community of record digging has been held in Montreal. Hosted by Alexis Charpentier aka DJ Lexis, the brains behind online platform Music Is My Sanctuary and the 24 Hours of Vinyl series, the talk details the cultural significance of the community of crate diggers, DJs and producers who’ve performed the role of de facto “archeologists”, preserving and revitalising forgotten music scenes in the digital age.

The Vinyl Festival is happening: We almost didn’t want to say it out loud for fear of jinxing the whole thing, but the first ever Vinyl Festival is taking place. Printworks London is the place, the weekend of September 23rd/24th is the time. Featuring 100 stalls of traders and indie labels, another 48 demonstrating hardware, audio tech developments and vinyl care, and a Vinyl Evaluation area (like Antiques Roadshow but with first pressings of Nick Drake LPs, we’re hoping), Vinyl Festival looks set to be the Record Fair par excellence. Music and radio industry figures like Tim Burgess, Huey Morgan, Edith Bowman and Steve Lamacq will be speaking and/or DJing as well as participating in the Vinyl Forum.

Warped Records – Three Easy Methods To Fix This Problem: Vinyl records are made of plastic, and it’s quite obvious that this material can bend, break, or warp quite easily. Records may be cheap or expensive, but they have sentimental value for most owners – there are special editions, rare & limited editions, and records that you first bought, and so on. There’s no need to toss away your warped records, as we’re here to show you three easy ways to fix these problems easily.

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In rotation: 5/17/17

The Vinyl Festival to debut in London in September: The inaugural Vinyl Festival is to debut in London in September with Tim Burgess, BBC 6 Music presenters Steve Lamacq and Huey Morgan all appearing. Taking place 23-24 September at the Printworks in London, the event will celebrate all aspects of vinyl culture with more than 100 stalls presented by independent labels, plus another 48 showcasing the latest audio technology, hardware and vinyl. Offering further entertainment, leading industry figureheads will be providing the soundtrack to the weekend, spinning their own cherished vinyl records.

Vinyl is taking over the UK this summer with a new vinyl festival and the return of HMV’s Vinyl Week 2017: If you’re partial to collecting your favourite albums and singles on vinyl, then you’re in luck, as two huge events have been announced for the UK this summer. First up is the UK’s first ever Vinyl Festival, which takes place at London’s Printworks on September 23-24. A whopping 100 stalls represented by indie retailers and labels will be there, with another 40-plus stands dedicated to accessories every record collecter will need…And if that isn’t enough for you, HMV has announced details of their 2017 Vinyl Week, which returns for a second year following its successful debut in 2016.

Vinyl Shack offers ear-pleasing nostalgia: Murphy’s Vinyl Shack is often heard before it’s seen. Kevin Murphy, owner and operator of the new-ish record store on the corner of Carpinteria and Palm avenues, likes to sample his wares at window rattling volume until patrons walk through the door. The business is a passion for Murphy, who opened the shop early this year and has since confirmed his suspicion that vintage posters and records are a passion for many residents and visitors to Carpinteria.

New record store hopes to tap into Winsford music scene: A new record store is hoping to embrace the music community in Winsford. Jimi Coppack, a former carer, is opening Electric Church on Saturday, May 20, which will sell vintage records and have a café for people to socialise over their music tastes. It has been nearly two years since the building became available to Jimi, and with the store now finished, he has turned his eye to opening the supporting café to supplement the business. He has been collecting records since the age of 10, and has a range of influences from different genres, but with a particular focus on the 60s and 70s decades.

Community radio station 2MIA getting in on Australia’s vinyl revival: Miss that old crackling sound you used to hear at the start of a song? Tune into 2MIA radio station, 95.1 FM. While digital content dominates the playlist of most radio stations, Griffith’s community station 2MIA is turning back the clock using classic vinyl records in a number of their shows. Scott Williams, host of Sunday Jazz with Scott W, donated a record player and 80 of his mother’s favourite vinyl records. “There’s a certain art to vinyl records that conveys something different from that crisp digital sound,” he said.

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In rotation: 5/16/17

Starting from scratch–getting into vinyl collecting: So, at the risk of coming off as a chai latte sipping, kale munching bearded hipster, I’ve decided that a vinyl collection is in order. But I’m not in for collecting the latest from Vampire Weekend or another melancholy shrill from Courtney Barnett. I’ve decided to apply a few rules, some borrowed from my other hoarding collecting project of video games. And if you’re like me and just stating out in on a vinyl journey, these few pointers might help. My collection will only consist of what I want to listen to.

Batavia record shop ahead of the curve in vinyl comeback: To hear music industry analysts tell it, one would think that vinyl records have made some sort of dramatic comeback in just the past year or so. “They’ve been popular for the past 10 years or more,” said Mike Messerschmidt, co-founder of Kiss the Sky, which has had thousands of used and new albums on sale locally for nearly two decades. Kiss the Sky has seen an increase in vinyl record sales every year, especially during the annual Record Store Day celebrations in late April. “But now we’re kind of seeing a plateau at our little store because there are more players in the game (of selling records) now,” Messerschmidt said. “There is a lot of bandwagon jumping going on at a lot of the retailers in selling records now, and many other stores have popped up over the years.”

Master of None season 2 soundtrack coming to 2xLP blue vinyl: Aziz Ansari’s excellent, critically acclaimed Netflix series Master of None premiered its full second season today. While some of the season’s soundtrack has been uncovered – it’s got everything from Kraftwerk and D’Angelo to Tupac and ‘Scatman’ – the Italian music that scores Ansari’s character Dev’s European pilgrimage to learn pasta-making is coming to vinyl. Mondo and Lakeshore Records have collaborated on a 2xLP that comes in both blue vinyl and traditional black. As Mondo describes it, “season 2’s narrative launch in Italy takes the soundtrack into equally distinct, if not more diverse musical directions, [as season 1]” and it’s all collected here.

Timestep unveils modified Technics SL-1210GR: Timestep, the Devon-based audio company and master of the modified Technics, has unveiled a newly minted upgrade on the Technics SL-1210GR. A (slightly) more affordable iteration of Technics’ flagship relaunch last year, Timestep have fitted the Technics SL-1210GR with a Michell TecnoArm, whose low-resonance drilled armtube and under-slung counterweight give it all the markings of audiophile quality. While you can add you own cartridge, Timestep typically goes for a Denon DL-110 high output moving coil cartridge.

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In rotation: 5/15/17

Report: Vinyl Fans Still Flocking To Physical Stores: Vinyl fans report shopping at both physical and online retailers to grow their collections — Amazon, Barnes and Noble and indie stores are named the top three reporter retailers for vinyl purchases by shoppers, Crupnick said. Though online commerce can provide obvious convenience, like placing a pre-order or hunting down a certain color variant, Crupnick said he thinks dedicated vinyl collectors are likely to continue to frequent record stores for afternoons of stack diving.

NYC record store Disc-O-Rama closes after 41 years: While thousands thumbed through used vinyl at the WFMU Record Fair over the weekend, New York lost another record store. Disc-O-Rama, which first opened in 1976 and had a few locations in Manhattan, closed its last store over the weekend which was located on W. 8th St (between Macdougal and 6th Ave.) “Thank you New York. It has been an epic ride, starting with vinyl, to cassettes, CDs and back to vinyl again. Who would have thunk it!!!” Sorry to see you go, Disc-O-Rama, but their online store remains open.

The MP3 Is Officially Dead, According To Its Creators: “The death of the MP3 was announced in a conference room in Erlangen, Germany, in the spring of 1995.” So opens Stephen Witt’s How Music Got Free, an investigation into the forced digitization and subsequent decimation of the music business, from which it has only very recently started to recover…But now, 22 years later, the MP3 truly is dead, according to the people who invented it. The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, a division of the state-funded German research institution that bankrolled the MP3’s development in the late ’80s, recently announced that its “licensing program for certain MP3 related patents and software of Technicolor and Fraunhofer IIS has been terminated.”

World class vinyl plant opens its doors in Burlington: Burlington can now call itself the vinyl record capital of Canada. At its new 20,000-square-foot plant, Precision Record Pressing held an opening celebration Thursday for more than 100 invited music industry guests, including representatives from all the major Canadian record labels. The $5 million plant, located in an industrial park off Harvester Road, boasts five new double record presses — freshly manufactured in the Czech Republic — that can turn out 3.6 million vinyl records per year. “There’s nobody else (in Canada) that can do our volume,” Precision vice-president Gerry McGhee said in an interview.

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In rotation: 5/12/17

Collectors record fair at Skipton Town Hall on Sunday: The third vinyl record collectors fair of the year at Skipton Town Hall will be held from 9am to 4pm on Sunday. The fair will feature new and usual dealers from around the country. A free valuation service will be on available if anyone would like to bring along their items for expert valuation or sale. Specialist dealers in jazz, soul, folk, rock and 1960/70s will be attending this event.

The Vinyl Frontier for shopping campaign: A Husband and wife team who own the Vale of Glamorgan’s only vinyl record shop have spoken about operating an independent business in Barry. Alan and Alison Storey established The Vinyl Frontier, in Holton Road, in August 2015 and since then have kept the business going by combining town centre premises sales with online business. The couple are supporting the Barry & District News’ High Street: Use It Or Lose it campaign which aims to champion local support for small independent businesses in the town.

This man cannot live by vinyl alone: But no matter how much I love vinyl, I’d be lying if I said it’s the primary way I consume music. Most of my listening is done on my iPod or laptop. The portability and convenience can’t be beat. When I drove to Washington, D.C., to move my daughter home following her internship, I didn’t have to pack a case full of CDs and wish somewhere around Breezewood, “Man, I wish I’d brought (fill in the blank) with me.” I had an iPod with more than 18,000 songs on it to keep me company…That’s why, if the music industry wants to keep those of us who still buy physical media happy, they need to include digital download codes inside those album covers.

David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and Hunky Dory released on gold vinyl: Only available at “bricks and mortar” shops. New limited edition gold pressings of two classic David Bowie records are set for release exclusively through “bricks and mortar” record shops, the late Starman’s Facebook page has announced. Released via Parlophone on 16th June 2017, the gold editions coincide with the 45th anniversary of the original release of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars and are only being pressed in a “one-off” run. These two new editions are the latest legacy Bowie discs to flood the marketplace, with releases for Labyrinth, No Plan, Cracked Actor and more already in the works this year.

Vintage vinyl, Yard sale to feature classic LPs: Steve Seneca knows all about the feeling a well-executed album package can bring. “An album was a total concept,” Seneca said from his dining room table, stacks of records visible along the wall of the living room. “It was a complete package. You would take the record out of the sleeve and put it on, then check out the cover art, read through the lyrics. And it wasn’t like you just downloaded a single and that was it. There was an order to the music.” The New Iberia musician, best known for his work as the lead singer for River Road, once operated Raccoon Records on the U.S. 90 service road. He closed that in 2015, but is now itching to get a new store to share his love of vinyl with others.

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In rotation: 5/11/17

Norton Records, Still Rocking, Is Releasing a Lost Dion Album: Six months after the death of Billy Miller, his wife, Miriam Linna, still keeps his ashes in their only appropriate place: next to the couple’s gigantic collection of 45 r.p.m. records. For nearly 40 years, Mr. Miller and Ms. Linna reigned as the king and queen of New York record collectors. They hunted for rare rockabilly singles, chronicled lost scenes in their magazine Kicks, and founded Norton Records to reissue some of their greatest and most bizarre finds, with liner notes that had scholarly depth but also showed the excitement of true fans.

In full, on vinyl, no talking: have we lost the art of listening to music? A group of audiophiles gathered recently to rediscover Lauryn Hill, on hi-fi gear, no chatter. Kate Hennessy muses on our most starved sense: hearing. “I’m going to turn some lights off now – enjoy your session.” Jean-Philippe Ducharne, an organiser of Classic Album Sundays, is speaking to a room of strangers in a Sydney bar, poised to hear Lauryn Hill’s 1998 album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. In full, on vinyl, no chatter. People recline on pillows and slouch on couches, but still, you can feel it. The collective uncertainty. An edge of entrapment. The album is 70 minutes long. What are the rules again, exactly? “Think of it like a movie,” says co-organiser Jim Poe.

Councilman’s business brings back the sound of vinyl: When Dan Marter is not helping to make laws as a member of the Englishtown Borough Council, he is making vinyl records. Vinyl record label intheclouds is owned by Marter, 32, who joined the borough’s governing body in January. Since founding the record label in 2011, Marter has helped musicians and bands put their music on vinyl. “I cut each record one at a time by hand and if I can pat myself on the back a little, they sound great,” he said.

Clearaudio: the £3.5k cleaning device for those with the ultimate vinyl LP collection: They are susceptible to three destructive forces: 1) dirt, the oil from fingerprints or anything else on the surface or in the grooves that the stylus (a.k.a. “the needle”) will play as if it was part of the record, 2) scratches that can make the stylus skip and 3) wear-and-tear. The latter, even if one’s turntable is set up perfectly and the stylus is kept clean to OCD levels, is simply a fact of life: a diamond tracking cross squiggles in a vinyl groove will wear it away a molecule at a time.

On the record: Once-dusty vinyl making a musical comeback: “I get a lot of younger people who have turntables. I’m surprised because they like the kind of stuff that I like,” said Robinson, who has owned Revolution Records for almost two decades. “They ask about the Beatles, Doors, Rolling Stones — the things I grew up with. It’s not their generation of music. We’re talking my time — and my time was a complete and total rebellion again our parents. They listened to big band and smooth country, Frank Sinatra and Patsy Cline. We had the Beatles, the Stones and Led Zeppelin that weren’t a thing like our parents’ music.”

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In rotation: 5/10/17

Tracking Detroit’s Record Stores Through Maps: 1970 – 2010: Detroit’s place in American music has long been cemented. From jazz to techno, soul to punk, and many points in between, Detroit was the home of so much musical invention. It was also home to many independent record stores, as well as regional and national chains. How the location of these stores has shifted over time is one part of my dissertation on record stores and urban change (which also includes Chicago and Milwaukee). The record store is still an important place of musical discussion, discovery, and debate in Detroit, as it was decades ago. But where record stores are located in the segregated landscape of Detroit has changed, based on the following maps.

Cassettes Are Making A Comeback, But Which Artists Are Actually Selling Them? According to Billboard, there were only 25 titles that sold at least 1,000 copies on tape last year. That’s a minuscule amount, especially considering that many of the titles that sold the most cassettes were also incredibly popular across formats, and shipments of CDs, vinyl and especially streaming numbers all dwarf the tape sales. While only 25 albums moving at least four digits is certainly a select group, the list is longer than it was the year prior. In 2015, only eight records were able to achieve such a feat.

Keeping vinyl alive: Interview with owner of Cow Records: In the heart of Ocean Beach, roughly sandwiched between two adjacent pubs along the bustling street of Newport Avenue, lies Cow Records. Pleasant tunes from numerous generations of genres fill the crisp, beachside air pervading the establishment. Some 5,000 records almost paradoxically occupy the 1,100 square foot space, lining the floors, shelves, walls and any other crevice that will accommodate them. A handful of vinyls even dangle overhead, suspended by strings mounted to the ceiling above. Something of a hole-in-the-wall storefront, its success has never waned across store owner’s Greg Hildebrand’s over 25 years of operating it.

Vinyl vendors: Reviewing stores around LA during resurgence of record sales: I’ve been collecting vinyl from independent record stores in Los Angeles for about nine months. The record format creates a physical relationship between listeners and the music. Vinyl owners flip the record and listen to complete albums rather than a collection of singles, creating an intimate experience. Some bitter vinyl veterans act like records are an exclusive club reserved for classic rock fans and people over 30. Now newfound vinyl enthusiasts can find a number of records for sale at mainstream stores such as Urban Outfitters; however, independent record stores make for the most authentic shopping experience.

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In rotation: 5/9/17

Treehouse Records will close at the end of 2017: If you’re the kind of person who likes to complain about the homogenization of the greater Uptown area and bemoan the city’s loss of cultural institutions (and who isn’t sometimes?), Saturday’s news that Treehouse Records will close its doors at the end of the year is further evidence of our civic slide into pre-fab characterlessness. Even if you’re not that kind of person, it sucks to lose a cool record store. Treehouse owner Mark Trehus announced his decision to retire after a Saturday in-store performance by the Suicide Commandos. “I am retiring,” Trehus later wrote on Facebook. “The store will close forever on December 31st, 2017.”

Grandson of late Oklahoma City jazz and blues record store owner keeps family legacy open: The racks and shelves are filled with vintage blues, jazz and rhythm and blues records, cassettes eight-tracks and posters that are treasures of the music history of Oklahoma City. Charlie’s Rhythm & Blues, 5114 Classen Circle, was founded in the late 1970s by Charlie Nicholson. Nicholson died Feb. 23 at the age of 71, but the store will stay open thanks to his 18-year-old grandson, Justin Daniels. In a midcentury modern building where the HiLo Club and its neon cocktail glass sign have glowed at night since it opened in 1956, and where the Patio Restaurant once faced Classen Circle, the record store “open” sign was lighted up on a recent weekday afternoon.

When it comes to vinyl records, Brad Johnson has found his groove: It was sometime around the late 1980s that the music world sublimely declared vinyl records were obsolete, having been overrun by the compact disc — a technology that in recent years has been displaced by downloaded music. Brad Johnson is here to say that vinyl not only alive, but that music lovers still have a place in their hearts and their collections for what many have called a purer form of listening to anything from rock and country to jazz and R&B. There are an estimated 1,500 independent record stores in the U.S. today. Research firm IBIS World estimates about one-fifth of all surviving stores are located in the Southeast.

Elderly jazz fan seeks home for 2,000-plus collection of records, tapes, books: What will become of his collection after he’s gone? Just to be clear, Gil Sokolow is not dying. His health is superb, and he looks younger than his years. Because 88 is apparently the new 75. But the man’s a realist. One of these days, he won’t wake up. He doesn’t want to burden his three children with disposing of his lifelong jazz obsession: 2,000-plus vinyl albums, cassette tapes, and books he has thoughtfully curated since he fell hard for jazz as a teen in West Philly. “I want someone to appreciate it,” he says of the alphabetized collection that lines the walls in the den of his modest home in the Far Northeast.

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