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More on Pujol from Jazzwax


BillF
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most 50s albums? really? :crazy:

Guess he should be knighted and accepted as a member of légion d'honneur and receive all kinds of medals and decorations for that achievement! The lone saviour of 50s jazz, the noble Duke of Barcelona...

Oh come on, King Ubu, really ... ;)

The "most" of course is an exaggeration but when it comes to covering almost the ENTIRE spectrum of what was released then in at least a passably representative manner you kow better than that ....

Just take a look at what the "majors" reissue and how they mess up whatever they have in their vaults (do I need to go into details of how the once so great entire OJC catalog fell by the wayside through sheer couldn't-care-less-ism? And this one only had covered a handful of labels from the outset).

Of course, if one's perception of 50s jazz is limited to BN and a scant few other "cult" labels and "cult" artists, then yes, there are reissues aplenty. But is this one-eyed tunnel vision really doing the subject matter justice?

Somehow I have a feeling some of the beefs against FS reissues (where in the vast majority of cases you really cannot speak of blatant direct re-reissues - u.e. "lifting" - of material that had been reissued only very, very recently elsewhere) boil down to the fact that certain records aren't that exclusive anymore. Well, should I feel sore because some of my original LPs (Bob Enevoldsen on Liberty - see Jazzwax article, Bob Davis LPs, Westchester Workshop, etc.) are now available as reissues that easily via FS? I don't, except that I regret that a lot of their 2 LPs on one CD type reissues combine one I already have with one I don't have (and am not likely to find anywhere else at an affordable price). But that's another matter.

Oh, and please don't nobody mention Japan to me. As long as their reissues are as hard to get as they are from over here and are priced the way they are, and tend to vanish as fast as they do they are no REASONABLE yardstick of how to keep things in print and available. At least not in each and every case for me anyway. And are there really no needledrops in there among those Jap reissues? Not even among those they did and do - for ever so brief runs of availability - of European jazz stuff (stuff that has been obscure ever since its original release and where probably most remaining original copies are now with Asian "investors" ;))?

So ... yes, IMHO Jazzwax makes some fairly reasonable points.

What's been said here a zillion times. But fell on deaf ears with those who prefer to cuddle their beefs.

"And let's not forget that if it weren't for Pujol and Fresh Sound, we'd never know how most of the jazz albums recorded in the 1950s sound."

"If you harbor a beef, it really should be directed at American record companies that have steadfastly refused to release these albums, granting Pujol a smart business niche."

"You don't like that these CDs from Spain are sold here or that Pujol operates under another continent's set of copyright laws? Don't buy them."

"Frankly, I can't think of a single jazz musician who has ever complained to me about their earlier works being re-issued by Fresh Sound. Most have told me they're happy that the label has kept their names and music alive when American record labels have failed to do so."

Yet I for one would be interested to hear from anyone who has tangible proof that musicians actually DID complain and tried to enforce withdrawal of the reissues etc. (Speaking of which and seeing how certain estates are kept in firm stranglehold by the heirs/families etc., is there any conclusive evidence that Sue Mingues has sternly objected (and threatened lawsuits) to the reissue of Charles Mingus' "Jazzical Moods" LP on Period and "Mingus Three" LP on Jubilee by Fresh Sound on vinyl in the 80s and still in print on CD in their current catalog today, along with several others?)

Edited by Big Beat Steve
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"And let's not forget that if it weren't for Pujol and Fresh Sound, we'd never know how most of the jazz albums recorded in the 1950s sound."

there's no arguing that this statement is totally wrong (OJCs, the BN series, ... even if they're out of print now - as is a good deal of the fresh sound catalog btw..., the blogs... other reissue labels (especially if you follow Pujols claim that only Fresh Sound is his label)); and if you look around you also find "inside" people complaining (like David Weiss in the other tread or Laurie Pepper calling Pujol a liar in the comments to the interview)

all in all (masterings, artwork, pictures, liner notes) i would vaguely guess that about 50% of what Fresh Sound issues violates (Spanish/EU) copyright in one way or another...

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[tongue-in-cheek mode]But with the Fresh Sound reissues we exactly DON'T KNOW how these albums DID SOUND back in their day![/tongue-in-cheek mode]

Seriously: Fresh Sound did a few hundred reissues - fine. If you don't count the Prestige, Riverside, Pacific Jazz, Verve, Mode and other reissues that were also reissued in recent years by the proper owners of the recordings, there's still plenty left, I assume. That's fair enough to point out.

"Frankly, I can't think of a single jazz musician who has ever complained to me about their earlier works being re-issued by Fresh Sound. Most have told me they're happy that the label has kept their names and music alive when American record labels have failed to do so."

Fair enough, of course... that is, if they've given up all hopes of earning a penny with their old recordings (and I guess most have given up, due to criminal practices being just as wide-spread among majors and non-thief-labels in the US and everywhere).

Oh, and believe me, when I'm making some snide or sarcastic remarks on such topics, it's never about exclusivity... I don't own more than three or four semi-rare LPs, I assume, and I couldn't care less.

And I would - of course! - fully endorse the majors doing regular reissues, keeping their back-lists alive etc. etc.

You might know that many times I've voiced my disdain of reissues such as the "Verve Originals" (taking a step back from previous reissues by omitting bonus tracks etc.). I'm no friend of the majors, I buy my music where I can find it (often used or on some marketplace sites) and I'm not feeling the least holier-than-thou.

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Seems to me from the interview with Pujol (and from the many responses to it here and elsewhere and from prior discusssions about Pjuol here) that we know for sure that he feels the need to lie about some of what he does -- e.g. about the family relationship (at the least) between the various labels (see Laurie Pepper's story), and a number of other topics that came up on the previous Pujol thread in response to Marc Myer's interview (see David Weiss' post, for one). Whatever Pujol's motives for doing this -- image-shaping, an attempt to protect himself in some ways, etc. -- is this not some significant sign of the kind of guy Pujol is? How many other people do you know and trust who lie like this?

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In BIG business I am afraid there are a lot like that who cover up in a big way (so I am not really surprised that niche markets have their shady niches too). It is not a matter of trusting them - it is a matter of buying goods for purely practical reasons in a world that is the way it is - not least of all due to the nonfeasance of those who COULD do better.

That said (and please bear with me for my candor - I am indeed aware of your credentials), would you have trusted Jack Kapp from Decca if you had been one of his contemporaries, and even though you are not but are knowledgeable anyway, has this kept you from buying pressings of the recordings that Count Basie did for Decca in past decades? (No doubt you know what I am getting at, right?)

So much for the ways of the world ... ;)

And as for those "other" Spanish labels (not FS) doing re-reissues of previously reissues - unethical this looks indeed, right (and I avoid the more blatant cases too), but is this ILLEGAL as long as the copyright Public Domain limits of those countries where the goods are manufactured are respected? And that said, would you protest against tose "Proper" products in the same manner? I've named relatively blatant cases of them re-reissuing stuff that had been reissued not that long before too, and STRANGELY ENOUGH hardly anybody has seen fit to comnent on that, whereas as soon as the trigger word "Andorra" or "Barcelona" comes up they are all over the place like the proverbial Pavlovian dogs. Strictly speaking, of course those British re-reissues are just as legal as others that comply with P.D. laws but home come hardly anybody finds much to say about ethics there?

Treasured convenience, maybe?

Or sensitivity vs LP-era reissues whereas 78-rpm era reissues are of no concern?

Strange ....

Edited by Big Beat Steve
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It may be that the releases on Fresh Sound proper observe the 50-year rule, but then we have all the Lone Hill Jazz type of labels which Pujol "only distributes" that frequently have reissued newer recordings.

That said, without Fresh Sound et al much of what was recorded in the 50s and 60s would remain unavailabe forever. Considering that alternative, I am after all grateful for what Pujol is doing. Even if I would not buy a used car from him.

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Big Beat Steve -- But in this interview (with the unfortunate aid of the interviewer, who is otherwise a nice, bright guy) Pujol is lying to our faces more than he is "covering up." Sure, Jack Kapp, Herman Lubinsky, and a host of other guys in the record business were the goniffs and thugs that they were, but did they give interviews in which they claimed to be honorable, ethical men and lied in order to bolster that image?

The issue here, as much as it is Pujol, is us. As Jim has pointed out before, if we want the "drugs" Pujol's selling, many of of us will buy them from time to time, or even wholesale, and come up with a sliding scale of rationalization, but I think we owe it to ourselves not to buy Pujol's "ethical" act when we know the facts to be otherwise.

Further, where does that leave record business figures like Alfred Lion and Chuck Nessa -- the latter as ethical as anyone I know in any field (and at a good deal of cost to himself in money and effort), the former ethical as far as I know. In both cases, I know, directly or indirectly, something about how much their ethics were/are inseparable from their shrewd aesthetic judgment and their ability to build bonds of trust with musicians who then went on, to a good extent as a result of these bonds) to produce excellent and often unique recordings under their aegis.

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True, Larry, but I have severe doubts that the "ethical" aspect has ever been so much at the forefront of purchaser's motivations to purchase. I have a feeling that it rather was and is a matter of availability and convenience and (due to the lack of activity elsehere) a sort of "last resort" approach if one was keen enough to obtain those goods at all.

As for lying in the public's faces, oh well ... I'd rather not think about how many out there who claim all sorts of noble motivations are lying in our faces in even bigger ways day in day out (no, of course I am NOT talking about persons like Messrs. Lion or Nessa!), and no doubt at least a sizable portion of all us here should be aware of a lot of that but it seems we prefer not to be reminded of it too much, lest our own actions in that field (including buying records, simple as that ...) become too much of a quandary because we wouldn't know anymore where to turn without having to feel some sort of guilt if we REALLY wanted to keep up our high moral principles all the time.

Just one example: That extension of European P.D. coypright laws from 50 to 70 years which was pushed hard by musician moguls such as Cliff R. and Paul McC., and this at a time when the music of the one had only just begun to fall into PD and the music of the other was about to enter PD. Coincidence? So do we actually pretend we believe this entire initiative was only launched for the PRIME reason of giving those poor, semi-anonymous session musicians some long-merited royalty bucks that they had not received in the past or were threatened to receive no longer? Or wouldn't this rather be only an incidental and occasional side effect whereas the BIG royalty money is to be made elsewhere? Who are they trying to kid ... As if the royalties from relatively successful 60s pop hits where it is a historically known fact that the band members in whose name the record charted did NOT ACTUALLY play their instruments on those records would now all of a sudden and automatically go to those session musicians who'd been called in to do the chores back then but who were never credited for this publicly at the timne the records were released.

People who know much more about the insides of the music business than simple collectors like me have strongly doubted this alleged motivation ever since that law project was put on the agenda, and by all accounts these doubts do not seem totally unfounded.

And YET we are being fed that blurb.

Talk about lying ...

Edited by Big Beat Steve
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Oh, and please don't nobody mention Japan to me. As long as their reissues are as hard to get as they are from over here and are priced the way they are, and tend to vanish as fast as they do

Just a remark about this:

In this day and age I think it is a myth that is being perpetuated that Japanese releases are expensive and difficult to get. In the pre-Internet days, yes, but nowadays one can easily get jazz reissues from Hiroshi Tanno @ Early Records with a very reasonable shipping cost, or even order from hmv.co.jp or amazon.co.jp. And, for example, the recent extensive TOCJ 50100 reissue series is priced at a reasonable 999 ¥ per CD, which equals 9.4 € (it used to be even less, but the yen has gone up). As for vanishing fast, yes, they don't stay in print for a decade, but Western reissues can disappear quickly too. There are some Blue Note reissues that have gone OOP after only 2-3 years, and there was even a Kenton that went OOP after 1½ years. Many Japanese CDs are available longer than that. It is also quite common that titles are reissued recurringly in Japan, so even if they don't stay in print all the time, there will be new chances to get them.

I buy all my CDs online these days, and it is really no more difficult to order from Japan than from USA, Spain, Germany or even Sweden. In all cases I just press some keys on my computer keyboard and some time later a package turns up at my post office! :)

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I love the quote, "All I know is that Fresh Sound's CDs are available for sale legally in the U.S. at major online retailers". Legally? Really? So everything Pujol is issuing was recorded over 75 years ago? I thought not. Wake up - these CDs are *not* legal to sell in the US. It's just that the legal costs to get these illegal CDs off the shelves are prohibitive. Pujol knows this. He's lying if he says he doesn't.

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Japanese PD is 50 years, same as European. There is an insane fantasy on this board about payments to musicians, a fetish. You can be certain that major labels wherever located pay nothing to musicans where the work has entered PD. So on your euromosaics, your European RVGs, your Sony Europe Original Masters, your JRVGs, your UCCIs, or whatever, even though those companies (EMI/Sony/Universal) own the TAPES (or mostly copies of the tapes, in Europe and Japan) they do not own the WORK, so while they do pay money to composers through the relevant organisation, they do not pay royalties to musicians or their estates because there is no contractual reason for them to do so. Just like Mr Pujol. Get it? Europe and Japan. Japan.

You can be certain too that for reissues in the U.S., the only place where the 50s stuff we all like is not yet PD, the companies who own the works have ways of reducing their (already minimal) royalty exposure by e.g. charging back additional costs for remastering etc.

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I love the quote, "All I know is that Fresh Sound's CDs are available for sale legally in the U.S. at major online retailers". Legally? Really? So everything Pujol is issuing was recorded over 75 years ago? I thought not. Wake up - these CDs are *not* legal to sell in the US. It's just that the legal costs to get these illegal CDs off the shelves are prohibitive. Pujol knows this. He's lying if he says he doesn't.

Again one of those "Which was first? The chicken or the egg"-type questions ...

With all due respect, but to me this really is like a HUGE lot of sales transactions involving exporting (and therefore importing) goods from around the world into another country that may be subject to different laws of what is allowed to be sold in the respective destination (importing) country. Such as radar warning devices mnarketed legally in the USA and strictly illegal in Germany, or pharmaceutical goods and medical products legally on sale in the USA and exported wholesale by US peddlers (or should I say "dealers" to stick with a term used on that other Pujol thread? ;)) to destinations around the world, and in some countries in Europe they are strictly illegal and anybody caught importing them (even for private end use) there will be fined heavily.

No notion anywhere in the destination countries of putting the blame on the sellers, though.

See the parallelity?

Now tell me, if you will, please - where are the U.S. enforcement bodies that will curtail importing these goods (CD) if they are so illegal there? Sleeping on the job? Too indifferent to care?

See where the blame definitely lies too (or even primarily)?

IMHO putting the blame on the seller and exporter (who is only satisfying a demand the legality of which is for the importer to clarify and regulate in their specific destination countries as this is where IMPORT rules are applicable) is irrelevant as long as in the abovementioned examples (and many more, against the total gross transaction volume of which this CD businiess really pales) the exporters aren't just a much taken to task.

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.

That said, without Fresh Sound et al much of what was recorded in the 50s and 60s would remain unavailable forever.

Not really...forever is a really long time...not with audio cleanup software, the internet, and the natural desire amongst music fans (as opposed to Shady Grady biznesscreeple) to share...Plenty of stuff that is so far outside the grasp of El Chulo Barato is being shared (as in...not sold) online.

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But in this interview (with the unfortunate aid of the interviewer, who is otherwise a nice, bright guy)

I guess now's the time to say this...almost every time I get a pointer to a Marc Myers interview or article, I leave somewhat (or more) underwhelmed. This campaign(?) to rehabilitate the image of el ladrón pequeño does nothing to sway me from my impressions that he is "probably not the guy for me" when it comes to online jazz commentary.

I buy all my CDs online these days, and it is really no more difficult to order from Japan than from USA, Spain, Germany or even Sweden. In all cases I just press some keys on my computer keyboard and some time later a package turns up at my post office! :)

Ya' know, this whole internet thing-y, the possibilities it opens up, it just seems to...elude some folks...either that, or not everybody gets the same type keyboard as you and me...

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I love the quote, "All I know is that Fresh Sound's CDs are available for sale legally in the U.S. at major online retailers". Legally? Really? So everything Pujol is issuing was recorded over 75 years ago? I thought not. Wake up - these CDs are *not* legal to sell in the US. It's just that the legal costs to get these illegal CDs off the shelves are prohibitive. Pujol knows this. He's lying if he says he doesn't.

Again one of those "Which was first? The chicken or the egg"-type questions ...

With all due respect, but to me this really is like a HUGE lot of sales transactions involving exporting (and therefore importing) goods from around the world into another country that may be subject to different laws of what is allowed to be sold in the respective destination (importing) country. Such as radar warning devices mnarketed legally in the USA and strictly illegal in Germany, or pharmaceutical goods and medical products legally on sale in the USA and exported wholesale by US peddlers (or should I say "dealers" to stick with a term used on that other Pujol thread? ;)) to destinations around the world, and in some countries in Europe they are strictly illegal and anybody caught importing them (even for private end use) there will be fined heavily.

No notion anywhere in the destination countries of putting the blame on the sellers, though.

See the parallelity?

Now tell me, if you will, please - where are the U.S. enforcement bodies that will curtail importing these goods (CD) if they are so illegal there? Sleeping on the job? Too indifferent to care?

See where the blame definitely lies too (or even primarily)?

IMHO putting the blame on the seller and exporter (who is only satisfying a demand the legality of which is for the importer to clarify and regulate in their specific destination countries as this is where IMPORT rules are applicable) is irrelevant as long as in the abovementioned examples (and many more, against the total gross transaction volume of which this CD businiess really pales) the exporters aren't just a much taken to task.

But, again, Pujol himself is lying. Doesn't that tell you something ... anything?

But in this interview (with the unfortunate aid of the interviewer, who is otherwise a nice, bright guy)

I guess now's the time to say this...almost every time I get a pointer to a Marc Myers interview or article, I leave somewhat (or more) underwhelmed. This campaign(?) to rehabilitate the image of el ladrón pequeño does nothing to sway me from my impressions that he is "probably not the guy for me" when it comes to online jazz commentary.

I agree about commentary, but he's the right guy if you want to read a five-part interview with the likes of Hal McKusick -- and I do.

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This argument is generational. The energies tied up in it are more complicated than can be easily unpacked. They way to death is paved with recorded music, which turns out to be just nothing, bought and traded like illegal guns, piles of trash in an anonymous garage sale, and the Hobby which thought it was History flaps its last on the receding Embassy in Saigon.

PS I imagine they took it with them, but, uh, you know what I mean...

PPS uh, the flag I mean... apologies for the convoluted metaphor...

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But, again, Pujol himself is lying. Doesn't that tell you something ... anything?

Today's world being the way it is, it tells me that he is arranging details of his dealings to suit his own frame of reference (and possibly peace of mind - stating it often enough until one believes it oneself, maybe ;)) - just like I guess many, many others in every realm of the business world do too on a daily basis.

And it also tells me he had the good fortune of being able to clarify a few points of what he did in this interview as well as the MISFORTUNE of being the #1 reissue producer being singled out for critical scrutiny in this P.D. reissue market niche.

Would you like to take a guess about what the producers of certain U.K. (P.D.) boxes would have to say about the legality of their product as being marketed in the US (where AFAIK it is being marketed) when so questioned? Or the producers from other non-Spanish P.D. reissue labels?

The more this debate about the legitimacy of those P.D. labels appears to be all about singling out specific labels for criticism, the more it reeks of "being afraid of losing control" to me, and the Spanish seem to have struck a nerve there with those who seem to dread losing control. :D

In short, blaming P.D. reissue labels that circumvent the USA P.D. laws? Fine - go ahead, blame them. No doubt there are valid reasons to do so from the U.S. angle. But then blame them ALL. Or else it will have to be assumed that there are entirely different agendas behind this.

Edited by Big Beat Steve
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The more this debate about the legitimacy of those P.D. labels appears to be all about singling out specific labels for criticism, the more it reeks of "being afraid of losing control" to me, and the Spanish seem to have struck a nerve there with those who seem to dread losing control. :D

neither do i have any exclusive recordings of any value nor do i have any sort of agenda in the music business whatsoever... but once more - whenever you see an orginal cover or cover photograph on a fresh sound cd (as in the case of the recent lenny mcbrowne reissue for instance) you can be almost certain that the overall product is NOT in compliance with spanish copyright law. why we are talking about freshsound and not about proper i don't really know (in fact i have a handfull of fresh sound reissues but nothing from proper) but we can't talk about everything at the same time...

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So if I lie to my friends and associates, including (should it come to pass) you, that's "today's world being the way it is," and you have no problem with my behavior?

Of course I do. Among friends, in particular. But today's world being the way it is, if I expected my business associates and clients NEVER to lie to me on business matters I'd be utterly naive and probably unfit for business. Be that on alleged business deadline constraints, alleged money constraints, input to be provided from business associates or clients but being withheld for reasons that clearly are just excuses, etc. etc. (Note I have been self-employed in a freelance job for a very long time now so I've had some dealings here and there too and have come to take more than one business statement with a grain of salt and YET had to accept them at face value, despite the fact that I knew better ;). Knowing darn well you are being lied to right in your face sometimes is just part of the game.)

And just to repeat my question (and sorry for being quite to the point now), and may I - with all due respect - please ask you not to be evasive: What would your guess be what OTHER P.D. reissue labels would say if they were asked the same question about the legitimacy of those products being sold in the US (where the P.D. laws differ from those in other parts of the world)? And please don't tell me they had not been asked and that this question is therefore beside the point. Because it is not (as the underlying problem exists with those "other" labels too and we all know it) but in this case I would have to assume that you prefer not to know and not to find out. Which in the end would put us all very close together in how we prefer to deal (or should I say "cope") with "the world being the way it is today". ;)

Edited by Big Beat Steve
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