CTI Records
Unauthorized Issues

There is evidence of more than a few illicit issues bearing the CTI label.

American record shoppers simply need only comb used-record store bins for examples. Look for the albums originally issued as shiny gatefold sleeves sloppily reissued in single-sleeve uncoated cardboard covers. Unlike the official releases, there is no data (musician, song and recording credits) included on what would have been the inner sleeves, there are no CTI catalog numbers on the covers and all allege to be distributed by King Records (which, of course, is licensed to issue CTI recordings only in Japan). The majority of these releases are the ones found in the 6000 series issued between 1974 and 1976.

Another questionable series of releases concentrates on the earlier (and more historically relevant) CTI recordings issued in the 6000 series between 1970 and 1972. These issues, while they look similar to the originals in most ways, replace the heavy gloss covers of the originals with the thinner coated stock labels like CTI used on albums issued in the late 1970s. These albums use the exact same catalog number as the originals and change the originals additionally by listing the star sidemen's names on the covers where they did not appear before. For example:

  First Light
Freddie Hubbard
(original issue)
  First Light
Freddie Hubbard
Quincy Jones's 1978 A&M album SOUNDS...AND STUFF LIKE THAT, though populated with plenty of former CTI players and, most prominently, with CTI's star at the moment, Patti Austin, also appeared mysteriously in Japan on LP in 1978 and CD in 2002, affixed with the CTI label (on the back cover). Hard to tell why. But chances are it's not a legitimate release.

There have also been a number of unauthorized - or, at best, questionably legitimate - CTI releases that have come from Europe as well. A particularly strange release is a CD issued in West Germany in 1984, at the beginning of the CD revolution, under George Benson's name. The CD is called BODY TALK and features the same cover art as the original 1973 LP release. However, the songs included on the CD feature the entire program of Benson's 1974 CTI album BAD BENSON and only two of the songs from the 1973 album that bears the CD's title. Later, in the early 1990s, there were about two dozen titles issued on the CTI label in Germany that were actually Creed Taylor productions pre-dating the CTI label. These releases were originally on the ABC Paramount, Impulse and Verve labels and owned - then and now - by Universal Music. These CDs are known, for whatever reason, as "PDCTI" releases. Then, later in the decade, a German company known as Past Perfect Silver Line (or something like that) began to issue many of Creed Taylor's CTI productions from the 1990s, with different (and incongruent) cover art, sometimes differing titles and - in all cases - no reference to their CTI origins or Creed Taylor's production.

Perhaps one of the more egregious unauthorized releases was revealed in 2004, when a seven-inch single of Bob James's huge hit "Angela (Theme From Taxi)" appeared on the CTI label. This unbelievable occurrence, which probably emanated out of Europe (France?) and is likely not at all known to either Creed Taylor or Bob James, comes up with a catalog number not at all in any CTI series (CTI 6096) and reissues a song Bob James issued on his Tappan Zee label in 1978 (from the album Touchdown), backed with another Bob James song from a different Tappan Zee album (1979's Lucky Seven). There is no producer credit on both sides of the record, but even more unbelievably, the record indicates "1979, Creed Taylor, Inc." (note, that does not imply a copyright, which of course it cannot) and that it's distributed by Motown Records, which had not distributed any CTI product since 1977 - and which thereafter distributed its CTI holdings (Grover Washington, Jr. albums originally issued on Kudu) using only the Motown label. More information on the Tappan Zee label can be found at my Tappan Zee discography.

  Side A: Angela (Theme From Taxi)
Side B: Look-Alike

Bob James
CTI 6096 [45] (unauthorized)  
In 2006, some merchants indicated selling a 'new' promotional white label version of Idris Muhammad's famed (and rare) club classic 12" "Could Heaven Ever Be Like This". No telling where this originated. 
  Live In Munich
The CTI All-Stars
(no label) (no number) [CD] (unauthorized)
Finally, in 2009, a three-CD recording of "The CTI All Stars Live In Munich" appeared for sale on eBay, with absolutely pristine sound (most likely taken from radio recording of the event) and a decent cover shot of the "all-stars." The origin of this recording is completely unknown, but is highly recommended to hear some first-rate performances plus a first take of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" without any hint of Deodato's participation.

Additionally, several unauthorized recordings of CTI All-Stars events performed on July 29, 1973, in Seattle, Washington, an absolutely terrific performance, during August 1975 in New York City, and a DVD of a July 14, 2009, performance by the reconstituted CTI All Stars in Spain (from a television broadcast) that are available from certain Internet sources. The detail is included here for historical purposes.