Music in Hua Hin: Where to Hear and Buy Jazz Recordings

Previously, we reviewed the opportunities to hear live jazz performance in and around Hua Hin. But how about jazz recordings? The whole history of jazz is captured in the many hundreds of historic recordings by all the greats down through the years. So, where can you go in Hua Hin for records by the likes of Sonny Rollins, Art Tatum, or Ahmad Jamal? You won’t find much of this in the Night Market stalls, Market Village, or the Thai music shops

Luckily, once again our little town is blessed by resources beyond its size. There are two small, but very nice shops where you can go to browse (and purchase) records by the many greats of jazz. Very nicely, each is a place where you can relax and enjoy good conversation and/or a cup of coffee.

First, there is the Blue Note Coffee at 144/2 Chomsin Road (Chomsin is the road that heads from the more northerly of our two downtown traffic lights). From Petchkasem Rd. turn towards the beach and look for the Blue Note in the middle of the first block, on the left. Formerly called Cups & Comp, the Blue Note is the baby of Mr. Wong, a Thai entrepreneur who has been operating internet cafes and computer services here for a number of years. He’s also a sincere lover of jazz and of old vinyl records, which he has been buying and selling on the Internet for quite a while. He’s combined his passions in the Blue Note, a coffee shop and internet cafe with a music focus.

When you enter the Blue Note, you’ll see a display of old-style vinyl records right in front of you. To the right is a turntable and speakers. That’s correct, Blue Note deals only with vinyl records, Mr. Wong being among those who do not feel that CDs and DVDs equal the warmth and character of the original medium. If the owner himself is in the house, there will almost certainly be music filling the air. If he’s not on hand, you might have to ask the staff (politely) before listening. The records are for sale (mostly), and if you have a turntable in your home system, you can stock up. It’s a very good selection!

Just off of Naebkehardt Road on Soi 56 is a little book and music shop called Rhythm & Books, the brainchild of Mr. Bhuna, a Thai gentleman of international extraction and orientation. Rhythm & Books (or ‘R&B’) is the friendliest book and music store in town, with a comfortable table and chairs where you can relax and enjoy music, books, coffee, photos and art on the walls, and wonderful conversation with Bhuna (He loves a good conversation and speaks English extremely well) and other customers. Fro music, R&B stocks  both CDs and vinyl records. The selections is not huge, but extremely tasty. The owner loves to listen, so don’t hesitate to ask to play any record you find there. The book selection is eclectic, in both Thai and English, with mostly the kinds of books you won’t find in any other bookstore in town. R&B is a lovely place to while away the time, and you can bring home a lot of great listening and reading.

To find Rhythm & Books, proceed North on Naebkehardt (That’s the road that parallels Petchkasem starting at the Clock Tower and ending by the King’s Palace). After passing the large Soi 51 (Soi Coco’s), starting looking for the sign to Rhythm & Books at Soi 56. Turn into the soi and R&B is in the 2nd shophouse on the left. Park and go in. R&B is open every day except Tuesday and Wednesday, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. It’s a one-man show, so occasionally the owner has to keep an appointment elsewhere. If you find the shope closed, well, just come back. You’ll be very happy that you did!

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