THE MORE B.S. CONTEST No. 7

November 14, 2014 – 6:50 am

CHARLES MINGUS’ REVENGE

In 2011, BigO shared a Mingus concert from his 1964 tour of Europe (click here). At the time, we were unaware that his wife, Sue, had released a concert from this tour - Paris 1964 - on her label, Revenge Records. This is what Sue Mingus said:

From the liner notes by Sue Mingus…

“The first time I was caught stealing records was in Paris in the autumn of 1991. I’d passed through the front door of the city’s largest record store and was standing outside on the Champs Elysees when three store guards sprang out of nowhere and surrounded me. They were waving walkie talkies and shouting in French to someone inside the store. I had about 20 stolen Mingus CDs under my arms.

The guards shoved me back through the entrance, escorted me swiftly past the cash register which I had ignored on my way out, up a long stairway and across a series of executive suites until I stood before the desk of the store manager. The manager stood up when I entered the room. He was tall and he looked threatening. I explained that I had taken the CDs because the store had no right to sell them. I said they were issued by pirate record companies, none of which was in the habit of paying royalites, and that I had no intention of returning them to their bins.

The manager eyed me with disbelief and said he was calling the police. He reached for the phone. I suggested he call the daily newspapers as well as the television crews for the evening news and also the principal French jazz magazine whose offices happened to be across the street so that I could explain everything to everyone at once.

The manager glared from across his desk and put down the phone. In a gentler tone he declared that a third of the product he was selling fit the category I was condemning, that I had no right to carry off what belonged to a legitimate enterprise, that he was offering the public what the public wanted to buy.

I stood my ground. I reminded him that pirated CDs compete with legitimate records in the store. I said he was abetting a crime. I told him I was sorry I had not stolen my CDs the previous day when a Mingus’ work called “Epitaph” was being performed in one of the major concert halls in Paris to a less-than-capacity audience. I said that publicity from an arrest would have sold out the hall.

The store manager rose suddenly from his desk and left the room. I waited alone with my CDs. After a while someone arrived to say I would be allowed to leave. When I passed through the front door again, I had the CDs under my arm. This time the alarm bells remained silent.

For years I have rifled through record bins around the world, while on tour, removing illegal Mingus product. I have done this while Charles Mingus was alive and since his death. The ratio in most bins is about three-to-one in favor of the pirates. I stack the illegal records in plain view and walk out in front of the cash register. Although in the old days I piled records under my arms, the packaging of today’s CDs is less manageable. I have stood in the center of record stores and ripped open the difficult plastic CD covers and left them sitting on top of bins. With the exception of Paris, and one store in Chicago, I have never been stopped. By the same token, I have had a negligible effect on the sale of these records. Illegal records and CDs are big business.

So now I will continue my fight on a grander scale. Jazz Workshop Inc, the publisher of Charles Mingus’ legacy of composition, will reissue, legitimately, the best stolen Mingus material on hand. We will press the very material released illegally by others, do it better and sell it back again– with comprehensive notes, authentic photographs, historical data, cheaper rates. We will undersell the pirates and put them out of business. That is our plan. Joel Dorn heard my story and now we are armed: Revenge Records! Anyone in possession of pirated Mingus CDs, please contact us at the address below.

The presses are waiting.

Sue Mingus

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Historical Notes on this Recording

Charles Mingus took his sextet to Europe in April of 1964, including Eric Dolphy on alto saxophone, bass clarinet and flute, Johnny Coles on trumpet, Clifford Jordan on tenor saxophone, Jaki Byard on piano and Dannie Richmond on drums. For its first release, Revenge Records has chosen material from one of the two most pirated concerts on the tour, the legendary Paris concert that took place on Friday, April 17, 1964 at the Salle Wagram.

According to Johnny Coles, a Russian Circus performed in the Salle Wagram just prior to the Mingus Sextet’s engagement, and the stage was still extremely high off the ground. (Coles actually counted 22 steps from the ground floor before the concert.) He says that after playing a solo early in the set he started to feel a severe pain in his sides. When the pain became unbearable he headed across the stage, walked through the curtain and “fell down all those steps. I never even got a dent in my horn when I hit bottom!” The actress Mae Mercer took him first to a French hospital which refused him because, as they said, “he didn’t speak French.” They went on to the American Clinic at Neuilly where he was finally admitted. He stayed in the room Louis Armstrong once occupied and was attended by the same doctor. Three days later when he woke up, the operating physician greeted him. “It’s nice to see you alive,” he said. “If you’d come to the hospital five minutes later I wouldn’t be talking to you.” The tour continued without Johnny Coles, although his trumpet was placed on an empty chair on stage each night, in tribute. Coles can be heard here on the only complete tune he played, “So Long Eric.”

Jaki Byard remembers that all the musicians were aware, as they traveled through Europe, that people were out there taping them. “We knew they were doing it. We couldn’t do anything about it.” Mingus regularly complained about the movie-cameras and recorders that were visible and finally, after several other incidents, relieved someone in the front row of his tape-deck.

The concert at the Salle Wagram should not be confused with a second concert the following day, Saturday, April 18, at the Theatre Champs-Elysee (which started after midnight and is often dated Sunday, April 19th.) That second concert was released in the US on LP by Prestige/Fantasy under the title “The Great Concert of Charles Mingus,” in the mid-seventies. The release caused some confusion by adding one track from the first concert at the Salle Wagram and then compounding the confusion by mistitling the track! Although the piece was Mingus’ farewell song to Eric Dolphy, “So Long Eric,” it was for some unfathomable reason given the title of one of Mingus’ best known compositions, “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.”

Because this titling error was made on the original and illegal French release (a further sign that Mingus was unaware of it) , it was then inadvertently perpetuated by Fantasy and other European pirate versions. Even Joel Dorn, who collaborated with Revenge Records on our first release, plucked the same mistaken title off the pirate master. We have now (in our second pressing) corrected this error, once and for all.

PLEASE NOTE: Any CD version of either one of these two Paris concerts (with the exception of the Revenge version), is pirated and will no doubt sell for far more than the twenty dollars set by Revenge. In a taped interview from 1975, Charles Mingus complains: “the French people put a record out without even paying me for it. I haven’t got paid for it yet. Fantasy (Prestige) assumed the French had paid for it so they bought it from them. But no one has paid the musicians.” Revenge Records has done so, at last, but there are countless versions on the market that have not.

Click here to order Charles Mingus’ Revenge - The Legendary Paris Concert.

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And with that, the Verve-released Great Concert Of Charles Mingus (click here) is deemed a pirate, a release which music reviewer Greg Taylor of Vine Voice noted at Amazon.com: “This was the official Columbia release and it beats all others that I have heard not only in the quality of sound but in the performances. These guys were totally on their game when this was recorded.”

So unsuspectingly you paid money to buy the Verve official recording not realising what transpired in France. Do you prefer an official to an unofficial release? Are you repulsed by bootlegs?

Your no B.S. comments will earn you a pass to free music.

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More B.S. Contest No. 1 (click here)
More B.S. Contest No. 2 (click here)
More B.S. Contest No. 3 (click here)
More B.S. Contest No. 4 (click here)
More B.S. Contest No. 5 (click here)
More B.S. Contest No. 6 (click here)

Contest No. 01 / Contest No. 02 / Contest No. 03 / Contest No. 04 / Contest No. 05
Contest No. 06 / Contest No. 07 / Contest No. 08 / Contest No. 09 / Contest No. 10
Contest No. 11 / Contest No. 12 / Contest No. 13 / Contest No. 14 / Contest No. 15
Contest No. 16 / Contest No. 17 / Contest No. 18 / Contest No. 19 / Contest No. 20
Contest No. 21 / Contest No. 22 / Contest No. 23 / Contest No. 24 / Contest No. 25
Contest No. 26 / Contest No. 27 /

  1. 27 Responses to “THE MORE B.S. CONTEST No. 7”

  2. For me there are two distinct practices which surround the bootleg question. These days it is so easy to record events with covert recording devices and mobile phones many bands have become resolved to the fact that in an audience of maybe 2000, upwards of 20% will be recording it in some format or other. How do you police it? Throw out those who are doing it? Soon, by the ends of shows bands will be playing to empty concert halls!
    The questions is, what happens to these recording after the show? There are hundreds of sites dedicated to bootleg recordings and these are free to download. These give people access to bands that otherwise they may not have heard or even heard of. I have listened to bootleg recordings and been so impressed, gone out and bought those bands’ official recordings – that wouldn’t have happened if not for bootlegs.
    If the recordings are sold, then that is an entirely different matter. That is wrong.
    But to reiterate, how do you control it? Very difficult indeed.

    By daij on Nov 14, 2014

  3. the law puts no separation between counterfeit bootleg and pirated recordings. they group them all in one. they dont care. as far as theyre concerned its all illegal and if u do it youre wrong and thats that. period dot.
    those among us who are here evidently should and i expect most do know the difference between these 3 things. some may not totally agree with the slight difference at the end of the spectrum however where items go out of print and are still officially released and then are pirated because they are so rare that people copy and yes pirate or even counterfeit the items for their own needs and others.
    i feel if an item is officially released and its in print that its wrong to pirate and or counterfeit it. if people are fooled by the fake that probably the worst thing that u can do. they believe that theyre buying official product and none of the money is going to the artist. totally official looking items being reproduced to appear genuine. totally wrong in my opinion. also repackaged product not done by the label to appear to be new or different product to sell the unassuming customer. this is wrong too. however i can show u dozens and dozens of cases where labels have done this too officially. so who is scamming who? even official labels are fucking with the people.
    do the buyers really have to worry about this? should we really have to beware that the official companies are trying to screw us over to make money on product we have already purchased? thats kinda pirating or counterfeiting your own product isnt it? its a sort of scam in a way isnt it? if we did this with licensed product to other unaware customers wed be breaking the law because we dont have the rights to the music. but its ok since the label does? huh?
    anyway… obvious to most of us is that bootlegs should be of a totally different subject matter because we rationalize that they promote the artist and if the artist felt there was any value to the recordings theyd release them in the first place and we’re not selling them and we’re just trading and sharing and no money is exchanged etc etc. and its not competing with licensed official product anyway.
    however if a boot is of a show from the same tour as an official live show then do we come up with a new rationalization for this? as in the case above with mingus.
    i admit i am guilty of selling boots both on lp and cassette and even on vhs. never on dvd or cd tho. never offered anyone any pirated items. i have myself downloaded official product that is in print as well as out of print of course. i dont expect my defense for any of this is ever going to be good enough for those who either think its wrong or who play devils advocate with me and want me to defend it. i believe everyone or nearly everyone does it. not a defense of course but in this day and age it will suffice. i lose no sleep. not a wink. i have paid way way way way way way way (yes 7x) more into the industry to cover my bases than i could ever get out of it so in my heart and mind im entitled. if i did as mingus’ widow did with every cd i ever wanted in every music store.. assuming i could actually find stores selling cds.. haha.. and just walked out of them period.. without rhyme or reason.. the industry could never pay me back between now and my death what it owes me. but i dont do this. i just sit at home. i dl my music whether its official or not. i collect and listen. i share and enjoy. i sometimes push my discoveries on others. i educate those willing to learn and listen. i defend against idiotic attacks and harassment. and life goes on. sometimes i even enter contests on bigo. haha.

    By darth on Nov 14, 2014

  4. darth- you mistyped a sentence. Instead of “i admit i am guilty of selling boots” you should have typed “i admit i was found guilty by the feds…”

    By Dingus on Nov 15, 2014

  5. Bootlegs and pirate recordings are different animals, although not to the casual fan. Some years ago I sent a link to a Foo Fighters show to a well know Sirius XM host, who led a youth-oriented Catholic radio show. He quoted part of my email to him and sneered, “I don’t like the Foo Fighters so much that I’d steal from them.” I wrote him and his crew and a lengthy return email defending bootlegs (especially this one, a radio broadcast.) Pirating IS stealing, but bootlegs are basically for hard core followers who either did not make the show or simply wanted a piece of history. Mrs. Mingus should realize, and probably does, that there is more live product that the market can bear.

    By Tony on Nov 15, 2014

  6. What ever happened to the word”SHARE”? Has it been obliterated from the English language? Why is it that everyone gets so tied up with the materialistic idea of monetary gain? The world has become obsessed with the almighty dollar to the point that care and compassion are soon to be as absent from Oxford’s as “SHARE”!

    By GOLD MINER on Nov 15, 2014

  7. Share? Odd, it starts with the same letter as Steal and Starve.
    Bravo Sue Mingus for standing up for herself and her late husband. She does not seem to differentiate between “bootleg” and “pirated copies of authentic releases” but she is correct in her belief that both, where sold to line the pockets of third parties who have NO legal or moral right to the music, are morally disgraceful and indefensible.
    But those who freely redistribute music that might otherwise be lost to the world do not seem, to me, to be breaching any moral code. If no official recording of a gig was ever made then there is a valid argument that an unofficial record, freely distributed, is an honorable homage to the artiste. Equally, music that is no longer officially sold, and therefore is inaccessible to new generations and fans, should be fair game for FREE redistribution unless and until the legal owner accepts his/her responsibility to make it available to the world.
    I buy a fair amount of music on CD or DVD.
    I do not, however, like the resident fool, claim that this entitles me to steal and profit from other people’s work.
    No wonder people despise that attitude and the person who had the gall to suggest he was involved in some noble purpose.
    No mate, you’re mere pondscum masquerading as intelligent life while leaching off people who’ve worked their arses off to create something beautiful.

    By the Real tony on Nov 15, 2014

  8. I don’t buy bootlegs but like to download them. I have purchased band authorized boots (Pearl Jam, Metallica, and King Crimson). I have also purchased officially released albums after discovering an artist’s music on this and other sites.

    By Phil on Nov 16, 2014

  9. Official or Unofficial? Depends on the Quality of the Recording. The Original Who’s Zoo in Vinyl (some of which was officially released later) was almost a Who Rosetta Stone in fine quality.

    By Britinvdon on Nov 16, 2014

  10. Lots of gray areas here. Pirated copies of legitimate releases are theft, without a doubt. But bootlegs of never-released material - or copies of material that’s gone out of print - it’s not so clear that these steal from the artist. Often the audience for such releases are people who already have all legitimately-available material from the artist but want more.

    By MrBill on Nov 16, 2014

  11. There is another point to that Pirate Record/Bootleg controversy: Born and living in a country outside North America and Europe (Brazil), that only in recent years has become a regular in the tours of international acts, I´ve bought hundreds of records of my favorite bands since the 70s, but the concerts, I could only dream with them, reading about it in very difficult (and expensive!) imported magazines. Neil Young is my favorite artist since the first time the needle touched Zuma´s surface back in 75, but I had to wait until 2001 to see him live at the Rock In Rio Festival! It´s a different thing to be able to go to several concerts as the artist´s regular tours make a stop near my city as opposed to only imagine how their songs sound alive. It´s a joy to DL, say, the Dylan Born Again concert BigO posted yesterday, and be able to hear, 35 years later, how the whole thing really were (and judge the man for myself!), after reading thousands of articles about the controversial tour but never listening to it. So people like me never got the chance to see our heroes in action in their prime, and the sharing of bootlegs is to me an acceptable substitute. The SELLING of the bootlegs (and of course of pirated copies of the official releases) is clearly a crime.

    By Belasco on Nov 16, 2014

  12. Not a comment on bootlegging in general, but the two Mingus releases cited: Sue’s initial release of Revenge! misidentified So Long Eric as Goodbye Pork Pie Hat - kinda shoddy. Bootleggy. And, even worse, the Verve 2 cd reissue of the original 3 lp set omits the last 5+ minutes of this track. The tune stretches across two sides of the vinyl edition, but on the cd it never returns after the fade, although there is plenty of room on the cd to do so. More sloppiness.

    By Jon-A on Nov 17, 2014

  13. The “So Long Eric” on the Verve release is a different version than the one on the 3 lp set. The one on the 3 LP set was from a different concert, while the one on Verve is from the 19th, as our the rest of the tracks.

    By B. Clugston on Nov 19, 2014

  14. Obviously everyone commenting has downloaded ROIOs but I agree that the key word is “share”. I download and listen - if I like it I’m more than likely to buy a commercial recording. I will also share these with friends -and they will do the same. But I would never, ever SELL any of these treasures - they’re too valuable than that.

    By tajackson on Nov 19, 2014

  15. Good for you Sue. Is stealing bootleg CD’s any better than bootlegging the artist? Either way it is theft and you are no better than the store owner selling the boots. If you really had the stones you would invite the police or some other official to raid the store and thus dissuade the selling if the boots.

    In the end all parties involved in the music industry are greedy and I don’t pity any of them. Record/Movie companies want us to feel for them relative to internet piracy and the charge the a hit out of us for everything they sell. CD is $15 and digital download is $10? These greedy bastards don’t have $1 of cost in either of them. The artists are not much better. They struggle to make any money off of record sales so,they charge exorbitant fees for their shows or charge $70 for a t-shirt.

    It is hard to pity any of these folks. I would guess I pity the record store owner the most because he has to sell bootlegs because people can download all of the legitimate releases for free and he has bills to pay.

    Just a thought…

    By john on Nov 20, 2014

  16. I think Mingus would have liked the internet. Since recorded music hit the market around 100 years ago, it’s been evolving and artists have gotten ripped off practically from the start. Mingus’ music that was legitimately released is spread out over quite a few different labels, which would suggest that he had less than harmonious relations with most of them. Mingus was the kind of artist where most people just didn’t get it, but those who did couldn’t get enough of his music. Is it any wonder Mingus bootlegs appeared? I’m not saying it was right for Mingus to get ripped off, I’m just asking everyone to look at ***why*** that situation happened. Had Mingus been able to issue his own product (or had a better idea of what would sell), there would not have been a market for bootlegs. Bootlegs are a by-product of the artist/fan/record company dynamic. They happened. We can debate the moral question all we want, but let’s just be thankful that now there’s a shift in that dynamic. As for Mingus, people will always be discovering him, but he’s never going to sell like Kenny G (which shows you where the general music consumer is at).

    By RCMP on Nov 21, 2014

  17. certainly could go on all day(and have) on this topic. lots of layers, angles, and ‘threads running around old duder’s head.’
    many of us that visit this site view music as art, while the folks who do business(legal or otherwise) view it as product. in the world of the latter group, free=lost profit. interesting that mingus is the focus here, a complex man whose music had lots of layers, angles, and ‘threads runnin’ around…’

    complicating matters, are the artists(the grateful dead, dave matthews band, phish, etc) who have encouraged bootleg recordings for various purposes(marketing).

    one thing’s for sure, i love women like sue mingus, who have enough balls to fight the power with the courage of their convictions…

    By billy jack on Nov 22, 2014

  18. One of the reasons I like Big O is that you omit officially released music from your downloads. I also remember the time when Townes Van Zandt’s widow contacted you and asked you to take down bootlegs of his material as she was planning to release it to help fund her children’s education. You did so immediately - there can be honor in this biz.

    By Jeremy Shatan on Nov 26, 2014

  19. perhaps artists could help by issue and remastering boots and make them affordable, valid points on both sides of the arguments really

    By Liam NSW on Nov 27, 2014

  20. Who is Charles Mingus? I have no idea and do not care. I have no way to care unless I hear something from him. The Old Recording Industry Business Model provided me with a three minute song on the FM jazz station, from which I had to determine whether or not to like Charles Mingus. They played his hit over and over so I would eventually go to my record store and plop down $16.95 for his album. Take it home and listen, only to decide, “This is crap.” Unsatisfied, I would return to the record store, demand my money back only to be told, “Sorry, you bought it, you own it, no returns.” Execs got their money, distributers got their money, Mingus got his money. . . I got crap. Over the years, I collected crap from every genre. Music I paid for, played, but will never listen to again.
    The new business model finds harmony restored. Today finds the artists, albeit unwillingly, giving away their music for free. Today, I can listen to Charles Mingus for free, I can have a song, an album, or even find someone sharing his entire discography. Now I can listen to as much, for as long as I desire, and you know what usually happens? I eventually find something I like. In fact discover I like a lot of his music. I decide this cat is cool and his music is so fine…I’ve just got to tell my friend Josie about Charles Mingus. So I share the music with her and she likes it, so she shares with her friends and they with their friends, and suddenly and with little warning, we have started a buzz. Everyone is buzzing about the music of Charles Mingus. Before long someone shows up with a record album, or a tee shirt, or a hat. There is a museum retrospective, a tribute concert, books, autographs, photos but most importantly…there is demand, and people willing to pour money into his coffers in an effort to satisfy their physical compulsion to experience Charles Mingus.
    We’re not going back to the old ways. If artists don’t give it to us for free, we’ll share it underground on websites, bulletin boards, private areas, libraries, parties, cd’s. You’ll never stop us, so you may as well surrender and support Buzz Theory.

    By Cydorian on Nov 29, 2014

  21. It’s funny that you chose this Mingus episode for a discussion of pirate -vs- bootleg recordings. I saw Mingus several times in the early 70’s when he came to Madison, WI where I was going to school at the time. I got to go backstage at one performance and talked with the immortal pianist Don Pullen, as Charles liked to show up just before bandstand time. We talked for about 30 minutes before the first set around the topic, What Is Jazz Improvisation. Don said the best improvisations came from re-imagining something familiar. He told me he loved to steal little bits and pieces of other artists work and mess around with it on stage. That night during the second set he built an amazing solo around that Beatles chestnut, Norwegian Wood. I doubt Lennon & McCartney saw a nickle from that show. The club owner, as was his custom, recorded a stereo reel-to-reel off the soundboard for his own enjoyment. I’ve never heard of any of those tapes surfacing and Mingus didn’t say a word that night. Perhaps he didn’t know. Most people believe piracy is a crime. I think Don Pullen would probably agree with me that a bootleg shared among fanatics is a lot like improvisation: messing around with something that was performed on stage.

    By Johnny Kinkdom on Dec 29, 2014

  22. Agree with Liam NSW (11/27/14): There are 1000s of live recordings waiting to be released at fair prices.

    By Belasco on Dec 30, 2014

  23. I much enjoy bootlegs for they typically are the raw feed of the actual show, played by the artist and their band. No overdubs, voice overs, etc. To often a live performance receives enhancements to help it sell to the public. I’m not concerned with a little bit of studio clean up, but voice overs, over dubs, etc. ruins that live performance.

    By Bubbles on Dec 30, 2014

  24. Sue Mingus has a point. Pirate CD’s made to make a profit for a heartless company should be prosecutable. But a bootleg recording of a concert? Didn’t the musicians get paid to perform in the first place? If the bootlegs are shared freely and no money is exchanged there shouldn’t be a problem.

    By Sluggo on Jan 29, 2015

  25. I suggest that the “feds” investigate GM for using cracked CATIA V5 software at SAIC in Shanghai. At $25,000 per copy and hundreds of cracked copies being used, that is a real crime. While they are at it, they can investigate Lotus also. They are using cracked CATIA software at numerous sites around S.E. Asia.

    I saw Mingus play in 1974. There were only 20 people in the audience. That was a real crime.

    By nobsartist on Feb 2, 2015

  26. My thought is that if the music is not currently (or planned to be) released by the record company, then it can be made available to the general populace as is and at no charge. No harm / no foul. However, if someone is trying to profit from these recordings (those not under consideration by the record company), then that should be disallowed. In that case, the performers deserve to be compensated.

    By Brian on Apr 24, 2015

  27. I was thinking about this the other day. So many legit outlets - like a capital A online store - openly sell bootlegs now. It’s kind of maddening for fans since a) legit musicians are getting ripped off and b) people who buy crappy CD-R transfers of mp3 sourced vinyl rips are getting fleeced. Wish more artists took a similar stand as Mingus’ wife did.

    By M on Oct 29, 2016

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