Any idea what he likes? Personally, I wouldn't want someone to spend a bunch of money buying me new records that I might not like - for their sake as much as for mine. Or failing that, maybe offer to fund $x of discogs.com purchases? If you stick to mint media and sellers with near-perfect ratings it's pretty safe.
@dogberry I cannot ask him (it's surprise) and we see each other maybe once a year (he is in Europe), but as far as I remember he is not into progressive Jazz or Heavy Metal Rock. Kind of Blue would be safe choice, but he likely has it.
Gift Certificate is your best bet. For example, to spend on Music Direct. Since he is in Europe, there may be a mail order seller with a base in the EU that would be more appropriate, but I can't name such a business. I do know that Sam's Records, based in Paris, has some fantastic reissues of vintage jazz by performers, like Dexter Gordon, Lester Young, and etc. These are so quiet re surface noise, and so well done that you don't sit there wishing you were listening in stereo.
Kind of Blue, Miles Davis…
This audiophile pressing.
Take Five, Brubeck
Out of the Cool, Gil Evans
You get him these and he will be blown away by your sophistication and thoughtfulness.
There are many lists online. This is a short list
and this is a long list
Both lists are annotated. My collection (in CD not LP) overlaps both lists and I can attest that the albums I own are terrific.
@drrsutliff I found so far in Tone Poet series "Here it is: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen" - seems like safe choice.
In addition I got Ike Quebec "Heavy Soul" (180g) and "Tales of Time" Bonamassy (3 LP, weight unknown) and Nina Simone "The Hits" (180g)
I like diskogs, because I can find near mint or mint vinyl of albums that are not "current" pressings. I usually source new releases from Amazon. I suggest that your friend considers using diskogs to catalog what he purchases. It makes it a lot easier, when visiting record stores, to determine whether you already own an album.
Another vote for the Blue Note Tone Poet series, any of the pressings there would be a fine addition to a collection.
Oscar Peterson is an artist worth collecting as well. Lots of great choices, here's one that I think is very well done: https://store.acousticsounds.com/d/175940/The_Oscar_Peterson_Trio-On_A_Clear_Day_-_Live_in_Zurich_1971-Vinyl_Record?gad=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjw_5unBhCMARIsACZyzS32zXiVzfK8Q7-7LHCSY_IQC4xhqkhc-GGmccCqD3ZPQreh4Jkgy-caAjwjEALw_wcB
A card with a note that the Amazon gift card enclosed is intended for him to select/buy LP's for his 'new' TT setup transfers your excitement for his TT, and transfers the content choice to him.
Amazon card, because whatever he chooses to spend the money on, i.e. garden rake, clothing .... is easily returnable.
Acoustic Sounds are my go to source for new vinyl. Their in house record pressing / reissues have been nothing short of amazing. They offer quite a few Analogue Productions reissues around $50, and they offer UHQR versions of limited titles. The sound quality, jackets, boxes, and goodies included have always impressed me.
I agree on the gift card idea, but it is nice to receive an actual gift. Maybe a selecting one or 2 records and including a GC would be a nice way to go.
I checked and Music Direct does not offer international shipping but it looks like Acoustic Sounds does offer FedEx International Economy shipping. You can sort by 45 rpm records on Acoustic Sounds website and you will see quite a few titles.
Here are some recommendations that haven't been mentioned yet. These are all well known audiophile records - the type of thing you would hear at an audio show. The highest quality sound is in the 45 RPM pressings using 200 gram vinyl. These are expensive but they are collectors items, sold in beautiful packaging and often in limited, numbered release. The UHQR records from Analog Productions and the Mobile Fidelity Ultradisc are very nice. Even if he already owns a particular title any of these are a great addition to his collection. I own all of these in one form or another and they all sound excellent.
Hugh Masekela - Hope
180 gram pressings are audiophile pressings… I think “normal” are around 120 (just guessing… and it is variable). Most of the time these 180g are better sounding pressings… but not always. I have a few 180 gram stinkers. If you start collecting them, then it is best to read reviews first.
Yes, I would get him the stereo version. My mistake if I linked to the mono. Some folks love the mono versions. I am not one of them and the stereo version of Kind of Blue is wonderful.
Yes, they are available from multiple outlets.
Thank you everybody for help. So far I got
I had read awhile ago that 'Jazz at the Pawnshop', which was recorded in Stockholm Sweden in 1976, is one of the best quality jazz recordings ever. Quite a feat for a live performance. I bought a copy few years ago, a double vinyl. It is wonderful music, and beautifully rendered on LP. Highly recommended!