Simon EdgooseKeymaster16th June 2017 at 11:18 pmPost count: 43
Posted – 27/10/2016 : 12:50:42 Show Profile Visit teethmeister’s Homepage Reply with Quote
Now, some of you folks out there may know of the work of the late, great, independent cymbalsmith, Roberto Spizzichino of Italy. He spent over 50 years honing his craft and produced some of the greatest cymbals (certainly for Jazz players) ever made. They were and are very highly revered, and are very expensive to acquire.
Roberto was independent and self-taught. His quest was to try to recreate the best of the “Old K” Zildjians from Turkey which he didn’t feel were being made any more either in Turkey or in America. He thought that something had been lost at some point, some vital aspect, and so deliberately did not look at what the present day Turkish foundries were doing, in case it led him to overlook the same thing again.
Over the years he bought cymbal “blanks” from various different foundries both in China and in Turkey. I think in the early days he was also getting some from UFIP. He was constantly experimenting and trying new things. Contantly evolving his working process.
His cymbals are big in the orchestral world too. Whenever I visit a top orchestra to show them my stuff, they usually have a pair or two of Spizzichino’s in their locker.
Once of a time, he entered a relationship with the Wuhan brand of cymbals, made in China, to try to make a cymbal more to his design in more mass produced numbers. This all went a bit pear shaped. Roberto did not like or endorse the cymbals. He disowned it and walked away. You will see these cymbals on ebay from time to time. They have a massive red ink/paint logo that says “Spizz” on them. Roberto lost the rights to that name / trademark in all that shenanigans.
Authentic cymbals hand made by Roberto have a metal stamp on them that says R Spizzichino Cymbal Factory. Some of them say R Spizzichino Cymbals Factory. Some of them also have his signature engraved.
It would appear that Roberto’s great name, reputation and “brand” is being hijacked by a company in the USA working in partnership with a Turkish cymbal foundry. Universal Percussion have launched a “Spizz” line of cymbals made by these Turks. They are asking very high prices. They are claiming that they are *the* foundry that supplied Roberto with is blanks and that they worked *in partnership* with him and are using his methods.
Roberto Spizzichino did not work in partnership with any Turkish cymbal foundry. He simply bought blanks from them. From a number of them – multiple different foundries. Nobody knows his methods. He let a few nuggets slip to folks like myself, Craig Lauritsen in Australia and Michael Paiste in Switzerland, but by no means the whole process. Besides – the process of any independent cymbalsmith making idiosyncratic cymbals is deeply connected with their own ears, tastes and techniques. It is not something that can be passed on, not even to a close apprentice, of which there was none.
I know directly from the Spizzichino family that surives Roberto that they have been neither asked permission to use these rights, nor are they receiving any kind of royalty payment for this.
I think that, legally, Universal Percussion have been very careful with their wording and have obtained the “Spizz” trademark legally in the USA. But morally and ethically this is downright disgraceful, disrespectful and, frankly, devious and dishonest. It infringes on Roberto’s “personality rights” and, here in the UK, it would be against intellectual property law as “passing off” – i.e. creating a copy-cat brand that consumers could easily mistake for being the real thing. Adding brand value off someone else’s hard work.
This has been a public service announcement.
Thanks for listening,
Posted – 27/10/2016 : 16:32:22 Show Profile Visit Captain Bubble’s Homepage Reply with Quote
Sadly not surprising, but I will most certainly have nothing to do with this sort of chicanery.
Marcus de Mowbray
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Posted – 28/10/2016 : 08:37:11 Show Profile Reply with Quote
Hi Matt, thanks for the detailed info. Roberto was a true artisan/instrument maker. I believe he also built a small number of drumkits in addition to his lovely cymbals.
I do remember seeing the wonderful Lenny White live a few years back and he was playing a Spizz (with the big red logo) ride on that gig that sounded OK but nothing special. I’d always thought that Roberto was Spizz but I guess this was not the case.
It’s really sad to hear that his great name is being exploited in this way.
Official Sugar Daddy of the forum’s Sonor Delite appreciation society, as nominated by Jamoca – Honorary President Paul Brook
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Posted – 05/11/2016 : 13:54:25 Show Profile Visit teethmeister’s Homepage Reply with Quote
Here is a statement from the Spizzichino family:
This from the family of my dear departed friend Roberto Spizzichino:
We are the Spizzichino Family and we are issuing this release in regard to Roberto’s name and legacy. A few days ago it was brought to our attention that the company Universal Percussion was presenting and promoting a new series of cymbals branded “Spizz”.
In addition, Universal Percussion was promoting this line as if it were somehow associated with Roberto, his family and his legacy, and have used Roberto’s reputation to further this message. To be clear – while we no longer control the brand name of “Spizz” – any use of Roberto’s name and image is neither authorised nor approved by his family.
The brand “Spizz” (now a registered trademark of Universal Percussion) was originally used by Roberto Spizzichino until 1989. From 1989 onwards, Roberto’s cymbals were then branded “R. Spizzichino” and from then on there has been no connection between Roberto and the brand name “Spizz”. The Wuhan/Spizz was a collaboration that lasted only a few months in 1989 and, because Roberto didn’t agree with the direction of the product, he decided to sever his ties with the company. At this point, his personal selling prices never reached 1.000USD$ and continued in this fashion up to his death – those who have purchased directly from him can attest to this.
Universal Percussion has represented that it has entered into a relationship with Roberto’s Turkish cymbal supplier. The truth is that, as a cymbal-smith, Roberto acquired blanks from many sources throughout his career, using several foundries in China before eventually switching to Turkish foundries – over the years he used blanks from over ten different Turkish factories.
The ONLY partner that Roberto has ever had, was his wife.
In addition, Roberto’s hammering technique was unique and the secret formulas were applied at the finishing stages of the cymbal – a formula known only to him, that changed greatly throughout the years.
Many people have experienced seeing Roberto hammer and turn a blank cymbal into a fully hammered and shaped one, but the secret formulas and concepts applied to his creations happened at the end of the process – in complete secrecy, again a very well-known fact.
Roberto’s passion/obsession for cymbals and music is what made him a very special person, musician and cymbal-smith and what helped him developed his unique sound – a sound that cannot be replicated without his exact combination of formulas.
The Spizzichino family has had no contact, involvement or collaboration with Universal Percussion. Universal Percussion has never sought permission or a license to use Roberto’s name and likeness and the family has never agreed to waive any of our rights in this regard.
We, as Roberto’s family, deeply miss and treasure his art, so we feel that any allusion to the Spizzichino brand, image and likeness of Roberto are truly heartbreaking, inconsiderate and a careless tribute to his legacy.
We apologise to all of Roberto’s clients, fans, followers, family and friends if they have been offended or confused by the association with his name. We intend to explore all of our options to maintain Roberto’s integrity as an artist and to protect our family name from being used to make a profit for others.
The Spizzichino Family
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