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JSngry

A Reissue Producer Pimps His Work

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Received via e-mail:

This summer (the end of July to be exact), SonyBmg, the third largest record company in the world, is releasing "BOB BROOKMEYER AND FRIENDS", which I produced for reissue. For the record, Bob hates the date because of Teo Macero's heavy hand. That said, it's still a wonderful recording, remixed from the original master tapes using DSD technology. I found three previously unreleased bonus tracks, including a wonderful version of Billy Strayhorn's "Daydream" sung by Tony Bennett, who approved of the release of this track out of respect for Brookmeyer.

The personel is: Bob Brookmeyer, Stan Getz, Gary Burton (who wrote new notes), Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Elvin Jones. And Tony Bennett on one cut. Not bad. "Skylark", "Misty", "Who Cares", "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" and many Brookmeyer originals. Burton's notes are wonderful.

The reason for this email is that at our last Legacy meeting they said that they were going to withdraw the release because 'retail only ordered 800 units'. Then they suggested that the tracks be offered online. But they have no online business. This is from a company that is worth 4 billion dollars and has 28% of the distributed market in a country of 290 million....800 copies? That's either lazy or lame. Or both.

But the larger issues are the sqeeze on jazz as it crowds the limited 'retail' space. Yet they do nothing to push online because it's been balkanized and sent to 'new media', thirty-somethings that are brainwashed to think of music one track at a time. I call this CADD, or Corporate Attention Deficit Syndrome.

Where will this lead? The elimination of the long form album concept and only tracks (selected by a handful of now-aged experts) available on compilations.

For a large, multi-national company with a history of Albums to try to push jazz with compilations based on moods or songs is ludicrous in the age of iTunes.

I protested and at the end of the day it was agreed to release it, to save

face. Bob is to get an advance.

For fun and to stick this 'jazz doesn't sell' mindset in the head can we spearhead an underground movement to get people to purchase (probably $12-15) this CD, online or in the stores. After all, if they only plan to sell 800 and if they get 2000 from Amazon because an effort was actually made....you get the picture.

After all, even though Bob hates the recording he might enjoy the subtle subversion.

If the CD could sell 2K then I could get the Times to do a story and further make the point....

"JAZZ DOESN'T SELL BECAUSE THE JAZZ BUSINESS IS THE REFUGE FOR THE INCOMPETENT AND MEDIOCRE"

BUY BOB(brookmeyer)!!!!!

What do you think? It's harmless.

I'm going to make a form email and send it to all of my people and have them send it to others.

Why not?

bb

I'm probably being played for a sucker, because I have the original LP, don't find it to be much better than "good", but hey, why not? If this really is what the coporate bozos are up to, I'll play along just to see what happens.

Edited by JSngry

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When Bob Brookmeyer's the subject it seems there's a few too many b's in the bonnet - is the signed "bb" Bob Belden, as I assume?

Mike

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Yes.

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I'm sure mrjazzman will order a cool dozen or two.

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Yeah!

Let's show them what assholes they are by putting more money in their pockets!

Seriously, I'm game. I dig Brookmeyer and I'd buy this to prove that "the suits" are wrong about jazz.

After all the money they've made on their jazz catalog over the years. it's scary that they STILL think this way. What other recordings from the 1920s still contribute to the corporate coffers the way Armstrong's do? It's guaranteed that the big sellers of those days are dead in the water today. But record companies think horizontally, and jazz sells vertically.

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Well......I still say valves on a trombone is wimpy, but okay. :g

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'moose,

what do you think about training wheels on a contrabass saxophone?

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I have the original LP and also find it good but 'mixed' but that's great news that it is reissued. Also great to hear that Bob Brookmeyer is getting an advance. I believe the last time it came out on LP was that 'I Love Jazz' series CBS did in the 1980s with the cheapo cover art ( :tdown ) and world's thinnest vinyl.

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'I Love Jazz' series CBS did in the 1980s with the cheapo cover art ( :tdown ) and world's thinnest vinyl.

Hey don't knock that series, it may look naff but "The Best of I Love Jazz" LP was my introduction to modern jazz.

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Why couldn't Belden pick another artist to pimp for? Brookmeyer's a jerk and I don't like supporting him. I might buy this just because Belden asked but it would never be for Brookmeyer's benefit.

Later,

Kevin

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If Sony/Legacy are taking this attitude towards this Brookmeyer releases why are they not having the same attitude towards the upcoming reissues of the Blakey, Silver, Woody Shaw and Gerry Mulligan material? Names like Shaw and Mulligan I am not sure if casual fans would know their names outside of hardcore fans like ourselves. Just a thought. Also Sony reissued single discs of Miles in Europe, Berlin and Tokyo which in my mind are albums more for seasoned veterans, than casual fans, but I guess b/c its Miles, it will sell. :)

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A "jerk"? What did he do, borrow your car and leave the gas tank empty? Is your collection only "nice guys"?

Mike

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If Sony/Legacy are taking this attitude towards this Brookmeyer releases why are they not having the same attitude towards the upcoming reissues of the Blakey, Silver, Woody Shaw and Gerry Mulligan material?  Names like Shaw and Mulligan I am not sure if casual fans would know their names outside of hardcore fans like ourselves.  Just a thought.  Also Sony reissued single discs of Miles in Europe, Berlin and Tokyo which in my mind are albums more for seasoned veterans, than casual fans, but I guess b/c its Miles, it will sell.  :)

It seems that decisions are made in part by advance retail order, and that 800 wasn't sufficient. I think that Blakey, Silver, Woody Shaw and Mulligan all have bigger names than Brookmeyer, and would generate larger retail order numbers. Mulligan, remember, was a gen-yew-ine STAR once upon a time! And Blakey & Silver are also pretty big names outside the cognoscenti. If anybody's got questionable profile from that list, I think it'd be Woody.

What I'm wondering now is if this "strategy" explains the endless postponements of certain sets, notably all the Miles boxes. Are they holding out on actual release until they get satisfactory retail order numbers?

Just a thought.

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Maybe this explains the release of the Don Ellis Fillmore gig thru Wounded Bird?

Not enuf retail interest according to Sony? When does the polling begin?

---

Now playing: Donald Byrd - Street Lady

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If "retail" is calling the shots *before* any sales are made - what magical information or insight are they working on - their extensive knowledge of the jazz field and the jazz market?

Maybe we should link this thread with the one about them playing crap in the store. Having worked for a brief time in retail, I assert that retail doesn't know a thing about jazz, not even about big-name stuff like Legacy issues. In the area of jazz, the customer knows more than the seller. They can't tell you what the labels are planning, what were in the most recent wave of RVG reissues, etc. I guess this is why I buy just about everything online now.

Mike

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If "retail" is calling the shots *before* any sales are made - what magical information or insight are they working on - their extensive knowledge of the jazz field and the jazz market?

:lol::lol::tup:tup

---

Now playing: Henry Jacobs - Comments on the Indian Raga with Musical Illustration

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That is, I believe, exactly the point that Mr. Belden was making.

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If "retail" is calling the shots *before* any sales are made - what magical information or insight are they working on - their extensive knowledge of the jazz field and the jazz market?

Maybe we should link this thread with the one about them playing crap in the store. Having worked for a brief time in retail, I assert that retail doesn't know a thing about jazz, not even about big-name stuff like Legacy issues. In the area of jazz, the customer knows more than the seller. They can't tell you what the labels are planning, what were in the most recent wave of RVG reissues, etc. I guess this is why I buy just about everything online now.

Mike

I agree, although the chief of the Framkfurt Saturn jazz and classical CD department where I buy a substantial part of my monthly share, is an exception: he played drums in his teens - jazz, that is - , loves and knows the music and tries to keep a representative seclection at fair prices in stock. But he does not get any advance information from the labels about upcoming releases - he gets them from the jazz press or the web like you and me.

If it weren't for people like Belden and Cuscuna, we would get even less reissues, that's for sure.

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the chief of the Frankfurt Saturn jazz and classical CD department where I buy a substantial part of my monthly share, is an exception:
Good store! I'll be there next week - and kudos to the Köln store too!

Always nice to have employees who know their stock (shouldn't it be that way naturally?)

---

Now playing: Mahmoud Ahmed - Antchi Enén Wedèdjign

Edited by rostasi

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Well, I just placed my pre-order with CD Universe through Alan's site and threw the Brookmeyer into the mix--I'd initially thought about holding off on that one, but anything for the cause of re-issues, y'know? Looks like these have been bumped back to 8/16, btw.

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I never got into Brookmeyer but that will change if for no other reason to do my bit to stick to record company corporate facists.

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I'm on board for a copy. Interesting to see that there's a Tony Bennett cut on this. Columbia issued three other Bennett cuts on a 1983 LP - Swingin' Till the Girls Come Home. They were recorded without Bob Brookmeyer - just Getz, Hancock, Carter, and Elvin. There's probably not enough material for a full Tony Bennett with jazz group release, but I'm looking forward to hearing what the Bennett cut sounds like. The three tracks I have are very good - though my wife's comment as she walked through the door while I was listening to them this morning was, "What is this? It sounds like I've walked in on a cocktail hour at a bar! This isn't anything like you usually play."

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Well, the real problem is the increasingly conservative tastes of jazz buyers who prefer to pay Sony for endless 'upgrades' of Kind Of Blue instead of venturing into less over-exposed catalog territory.

Seems that jazz has become primarily a white, male, middle to upper class, middle to old age demographic, and that group is happiest buying reissues of comfortable warhorses, mostly 1950's and early 60's. Another remaster of Miles Ahead will outsell the ENTIRE forthcoming reissue batch - if you were a lazy thirty-something numbnuts kid at Sony who knows nothing outside of Mariah carey and 50 Cents, what would you do? You got it - play it safe, get the year end bonus, reissue Porgy & Bess with some thrilling new bonus tracks dreck.

Those kids look at boards like this - and note the almost reverential discussion of the umpteenth reissue of Round About Midnight, and how many of us drool over thirty very average minutes of a mid-50's concert - and note the negative comments on Brookmeyer (hey guys, Brookmeyer is a saint compared to Miles, who was a flat out abusive pig) - the Dexter reissue - etc - and conclude - it ain't worth it to venture beyond a narrow range of constantly recycled titles. Can't say I blame 'em.

Here's how it will work. If we all STOP buying reissues of warhorses - I'm as guilty as the next guy - and demand titles like the Brookmeyer, Dexter, Woody Shaw...and vote with the wallet, it's gonna change. If we STOP shooting ourselves in the foot by stupid comments like "Brookmeyer is a jerk" and complaining about reissue selections that aren't the tired and true - we'll get a more diverse range to play with, and maybe we'll even force the record companies to actually do some promotion of them too.

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If we STOP shooting ourselves in the foot by stupid comments like "Brookmeyer is a jerk"

Don't judge my comment as "stupid" unless you know what you're talking about. Bob Brookmeyer used to post over at Jazz Corner. He basically told everyone who wasn't a Jazz musician to stop posting there. His attitude was, if you aren't a Jazz musician, you have no right to be writing about it. He stated it several times and never backed off his opinion.

Since he thinks so highly of my opinion, I have witheld the contents of my wallet from him since.

I may still buy this because I like what Bob Belden has done for Jazz and I respect what he's trying to do here. I do not respect Bob Brookemeyer at all.

And for the record, I buy hundreds of dollars a month of all types of Jazz, reissues and new artists, both vinyl and CD. I am not "part of the problem" wih regards to Jazz CD sales!

Later,

Kevin

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