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August 29, 2010


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Hi Marc,

I've been reading your blog for a couple of days now, and you got me hooked here.

About the European labels, they actually got me into a lot of the good stuff, and made me look for the original albums. Some albums (and artists for that matter) I wouldn't have known about if it wasn't for those labels. What I think is sad though, is the poor quality and lack of information (or wrong information, not to speak of typos) on most those discs. But yeah I paid the Miles Davis estate enough already :)

cheers from Holland.

Rab Hines

I am also conflicted about buying stuff from some of those Spanish labels. It's a very thorny issue, but on the whole I tend to agree with you - but I consistently pass over those Fresh Sound releases when I see them, (and they put out some remarkable stuff, I admit), but mostly on the grounds that they tend to be poorly/inaccurately presented. Yet, so do the Savoy Nippon releases and I buy them whenever I come across them. Go figure.

And not to create trouble, but how different is putting all the Fergusson Mosaic things on Youtube? I doubt that Mosaic greatly appreciates that.

I'm wondering if the Smithsonian might negotiate with the Savory folk - they've done some excellent (and some mediocre) presentations of classic music.

Doug Zielke

I'm all for the artists estates getting their fair share. That is, if anything is left after the lawyers are done feeding.



We're on the same wavelength again.
As a regular attendee of the Newport Jazz Festival, it is frustrating to not be able to hear every act that performs there each year due to the staggered timing of the sets. Nevertheless, each year I take away a new favorite that I had not heard before. This time it is Amina Figarova!

Her NJF set is a free download on NPR.


This quote is from a review by Chris Byars of a Fresh Sounds issue of the complete recordings of Jimmy Cleveland:
"Having spoken to Jimmy Cleveland about this CD, it's a bittersweet story. He was never contacted by the record company, didn't even know it was being reissued. I sent him my copy - he wasn't thrilled with it."
Mosaic licenses the right to a limited number of pressings from the copyright owners. They wouldn't have a commercial reason to be upset by youtube postings of editions that have sold out, except to the extent that it makes it harder for them to get licenses in the future.
Jazz musicians have a hard enough time earning a living without having their recordings stolen.
Historically, societies that don't respect property rights haven't prospered economically.


Tanganyika is a true classic. Although recorded at one session, it was a working band of highly sympathetic musicians with a great selection of original material. I love the way Chico tunes his drums to the the bass on the title track. The album is a great blend of well-rehearsed arrangements and spontaneous interaction with everyone in top form.

Rab Hines

The same when I asked Steve Turre about the reissue of Woody Shaw's Master of the Art. He didn't know about it, and said they didn't even send him a copy.


And all that about some recordings that were themselves pirated in the first place!


I am for them getting their fair share as well. That's a lot of music.

Ed Leimbacher

It's a complex and un-Savory issue. One can understand heirs wanting to keep some control, keep some royalties coming in (and maybe some compromise on a secondary rate of payment could be worked out), but in fact most of the legal gambits and copyright agitating and lobbying within our both-hands-out Congress has come from movie studios and the Disney mega-Org, from publishers and record labels all trying to hang onto the money for another 50 or 60 years.

I had an email exchange with Michael Cuscuna once about such matters... some projects he couldn't take on due to conflicting copyrights and estates, whereas Euro record groups could just grab up the tracks, package and put 'em out. Some better-quality re-issuers are at work over there too, like LoneHill, Gambit, JSP and Proper. (What of the great Bear Family box sets--all copyrights paid on those?) I think American citizen consumers are once again being screwed by our once-American, now-global-and-be-damned conglomerates. Fifty-six years of sole copyright should be sufficient.


I wish that Fresh Sound can do it. If the Museum limited to offering free downloads for America, the whole world will miss the opportunity to know these wonders. Like iTunes would work only for USA's citizens. The culture in USA is a selfish ghetto.

Michael Steinman

It is all complicated. The music-lover in me wants to hear the music, the music . . . but the writer whose work gets stolen without anyone asking permission wonders how the children of, say, Lou McGarity or Jimmy Rushing feel. Do they feel that having their parents remembered is more than sufficient return for the absence of a surprise royalty check? Like all ethical discussions, this one shifts greatly depending on which side of the invisible fence you're standing on. It also says something about technology that we can now turn out near-flawless copies of art: if we were only able to make cassette recordings of a CD, perhaps everyone would be calmer. And "the culture in USA might well be a selfish ghetto," (please define your terms!) but the USA also was the place where Benny Goodman could broadcast on the radio -- for everyone to hear for free, I might add . . .

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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