All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Serving jazz worldwide since 1995
All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Record Label Profiles

Mosaic Records: Making Jazz History

By Published: December 23, 2013
It's hard for Cuscuna to be open about Mosaic's upcoming releases. "We have a bunch, but, as I mentioned, business affairs and licensing at the record companies moves so slowly that I can only talk about the ones that have been fully cleared. One that we're going to do early next year a Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
1901 - 1971
live set—Louis and the All Stars, with Earl Hines
Earl Hines
Earl Hines
1903 - 1983
, Jack Teagarden, Edmond Hall
Edmond Hall
, Barney Bigard
Barney Bigard
Barney Bigard
1906 - 1980
, and Bobby Hackett
Bobby Hackett
Bobby Hackett
1915 - 1976
. It's the late 1940s into the late '50s, all the live stuff that RCA Victor and Columbia recorded. There's a bit of repetition of material in terms of songs, but all of the performances are exceptional, and a lot of them were only issued in small bits, with two or three tracks recorded in Boston, two or three tracks from Brussels, and two or three tracks from Rome, all slapped together into one LP. The full performances have never been issued. I love this stuff. It was recorded by George Avakian, and George helped research this stuff for us. They're just magnificent concerts. That's the next one that we have absolutely fully cleared. Everything else is on the edge of being cleared, so I don't want to talk about them until I really get a green light. There are a lot of things in the hopper."

While Cuscuna has combed through the vaults of nearly every major jazz record company and put out much of the best material he's found, he doesn't see any end to his work at Mosaic. "It's amazing after 30 years. Fifteen years after we started, people were saying, 'aren't you going to run out of stuff to do?' At the time, I was a little worried about that myself. But five years later, there was more still more stuff to do and it's just the same now. There's still so much 20th-century recording ready to be mined and treated with kid gloves and scholarly research and with better sound transfers. As long as there's a public that's interested in hearing it, it seems endless to me."

Selected Discography

Clifford Jordan, The Complete Clifford Jordan Strata-East Sessions (Mosaic, 2013)
Chick Webb & Ella Fitzgerald, The Complete Chick Webb & Ella Fitzgerald Decca Sessions, 1934-1941 (Mosaic, 2013)
Charles Mingus, The Jazz Workshop Concerts, 1964-65 (Mosaic, 2012)
Clifford Brown & Max Roach, The Clifford Brown & Max Roach Emarcy Albums (Mosaic, 2012)
Jimmie Lunceford, The Complete Jimmie Lunceford Decca Sessions (Mosaic, 2011)
Stan Getz, The 1953-54 Norgran Studio Sessions (Mosaic, 2011)
Ella Fitzgerald & Duke Ellington, Ella & Duke at the Cote D'Azur (Mosaic, 2010)
Bing Crosby, The Bing Crosby CBS Radio Recordings, 1954-56 (Mosaic, 2009)
Thelonious Monk, The Complete Thelonious Monk at the It Club (Mosaic, 2009)
Duke Ellington, 1936-1940 Small Group Sessions (Mosaic, 2007)
Louis Armstrong, The Complete Louis Armstrong Decca Sessions, 1935-1946 (Mosaic, 2009)
Oscar Peterson, The Complete Clef/Mercury Recordings of the Oscar Peterson Trio (Mosaic, 2008)
Quincy Jones, The Quincy Jones ABC/Mercury Big Band Jazz Sessions (Mosaic, 2007)
Dizzy Gillespie, Verve/Philips Dizzy Gillespie Small Group Sessions (Mosaic, 2006)
Oliver Nelson, The Oliver Nelson Verve/Impulse Big Band Sessions (Mosaic, 2006)
Thelonious Monk & John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk/John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall (Mosaic, 2008)
Django Reinhardt, The Complete Django Reinhardt HMV Sessions (Mosaic, 2000)
Hank Mobley, The Complete Blue Note Hank Mobley Fifties Sessions (Mosaic, 1999)
Charlie Parker, The Complete Dean Benedetti Recordings of Charlie Parker (Mosaic, 1990)
Herbie Nichols, The Complete Blue Note Recordings of Herbie Nichols (Mosaic, 1997)
Tina Brooks, The Complete Blue Note Recordings of the Tina Brooks Quintet (Mosaic, 1985)
Thelonious Monk, The Complete Blue Note Recordings of Thelonious Monk (Mosaic, 1983)

Photo Credit
Courtesy of Michael Cuscuna

comments powered by Disqus