Hi, this is Boomer, a neighbor and friend of Bruce (he’s been a family friend for over 20 years), and I assist him with recording at some of the gigs.
Bruce has been a fan of jazz for many years. His father was a trumpet player, and Bruce learned to play trumpet too. He went to a college for music studies where he learned to play the piano, and he listened to Tony Mowod on WYDD in the 1960s.
After a career in Chiropractic medicine, Bruce came back to Pittsburgh, worked for several years here and then retired.
One night about 5-6 years ago we were riding in his car and he said, ‘You wouldn’t believe the great concert I just saw today, it was fabulous!’ It was an outdoor concert in downtown, probably Katz Plaza, with a veteran lineup of musicians.
He was fired up about the great music that was still happening here, and was really happy to have connected with it again. He thought about all of this great music and wanted to be involved, and to do something to help preserve it.
Bruce had recorded doctor lectures with VHS tape equipment, and he started to take it to concerts and record them, bringing tape copies back to the band later. After a few years he bought a digital camcorder system and computer to make DVDs, since it was easier and the quality was better.
Since then, Bruce has made several thousand home-recorded DVDs for the musicians. After a concert it takes several hours to edit and then copy the video on to about 10 DVDs. This is all Bruce, except for a few supporters who have occasionally given him blank disks to help continue his efforts.
I don’t know all of what happened at AVA’s, but if he did sell some disks to the public, knowing Bruce I don’t think he saw that it was a problem at the time.
In general, I don’t think that the public understands rights issues to the level that music professionals do, but more than that I see that Bruce wants to be helpful, a fan who feels so strongly about jazz that he wants to share it with everyone. It’s a feeling that anyone who has ever said to a friend, “Man, you have got to hear this record!” should be able to understand.
Bruce said that he’s willing to learn from you guys, and he would like to continue recording, so a positive step on your part would be to tell him how you would want the DVDs to be handled from now on.
I hope that you will find it in your heart to be forgiving, welcome Bruce back and also to give him some direction for the future.
Try to think about the big picture and the relationship you would like to have between you as a musician and your fans, since we are all in this together.