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Michael Cuscuna

Michael Cuscuna (born 20 September 1948, Stamford, Connecticut) is a record producer, discographer and writer. Cuscuna played drums, saxophone and flute during his teenage years, but was hardly professional material. Instead, he turned his attention to radio and recordings. He had a jazz show on WXPN and worked for ESP-Disk in the late 1960s, in addition to writing for Jazz & Pop Magazine, Rolling Stone and Down Beat. After stints at WMMR in Philadelphia and WABC-FM (now WPLJ) in New York as a progressive rock DJ, he took a position as a producer with Atlantic Records in the 1970s, recording Buddy Guy, Dave Brubeck and the Art Ensemble of Chicago

NEWS: RECORDING

Bobby Hutcherson: The Kicker

Bobby Hutcherson: The Kicker

It's unclear why Bobby Hutcherson's The Kicker wasn't released by Blue Note until 1999, despite being recorded in 1963. The album is flawless as far as I can tell. It swings, it's engaging, the musicians on the session were spectacular and there don't appear to be any instrumental errors or microphone snafus. If I were guessing, ...

Miles Davis: Miles at the Fillmore - Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3

Read "Miles Davis: Miles at the Fillmore - Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3" reviewed by John Kelman

By the time Bitches Brew (Columbia) was released in April, 1970--and despite receiving a 5-star review in Downbeat Magazine--trumpeter Miles Davis was already under fire from mainstream jazz critics as having “sold out," despite the densely constructed, improvisationally unfettered music being as unapproachable to an audience looking for accessible music as anything he'd done with his ...

Franklin Kiermyer: Further

Read "Franklin Kiermyer: Further" reviewed by John Kelman

The number of jazz musicians whose lives and music have been impacted by John Coltrane is truly legion; few, however, have extrapolated the exploratory space travelled by the late, great saxophonist in his final two years as intensely--and successfully--as Canadian expat, one-time New York resident and now Oslo-dwelling drummer Franklin Kiermyer. While his international profile has, ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Mosaic Records: Making Jazz History

Read "Mosaic Records: Making Jazz History" reviewed by Bob Kenselaar

No one is more astonished by the longevity of Mosaic Records than Michael Cuscuna, the veteran record producer and one-time disc jockey who founded the label together with Charlie Lourie, a former clarinetist who worked in both jazz and classical contexts before becoming an executive at CBS records, Blue Note, and elsewhere. Arguably the premier reissue ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Billy Vera: Still In The Game

Read "Billy Vera: Still In The Game" reviewed by Scott Mitchell

It might be safe to say that a lot of people may know a little bit about Billy Vera but only a few people know a lot about Billy Vera. Billy is a singer, writer, producer, actor, Grammy winner, and music historian. He has performed with big bands, Billy And The Beaters, solo, and everything in ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Wes Montgomery: Echoes of Indiana Avenue

Read "Echoes of Indiana Avenue" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

In welcome fits of serendipity, the manuscripts of previously unknown European classical compositions are found in attics, old churches or forgotten libraries and brought to light with no little fanfare. In the United States, there is an equivalent situation with hitherto previously unissued jazz recordings being revealed in the most unlikely places. In a recent example, ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Maxine Gordon: The Legacy of Dexter Gordon

Read "Maxine Gordon: The Legacy of Dexter Gordon" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Legendary tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon was a focal point of the bebop and hard bop revolutions. Later in his career, he achieved the status of an American icon with his lead role in Bernard Tavernier's 1986 film, Round Midnight, which garnered him an Academy Award nomination. His “homecoming" in New York City, after living in Europe ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Wes Montgomery: Echoes of Indiana Avenue

Read "Echoes of Indiana Avenue" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

In the mid-twentieth century, Indianapolis was an incubator for jazz talent. Trombonist J.J. Johnson, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and guitarist Wes Montgomery all began their individual ascents to stardom from the heart of Hoosier country. While the first two artists had long careers, Montgomery wasn't so lucky. This self-taught genius, who burst onto the national scene in ...

ARTICLE: EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Ahmad Jamal Trio: The Legendary 1958 Pershing Lounge & Spotlite Club Recordings

Read "Ahmad Jamal Trio: The Legendary 1958 Pershing Lounge & Spotlite Club Recordings" reviewed by Chris May

Ahmad Jamal TrioThe Legendary 1958 Pershing Lounge & Spotlite Club PerformancesSolar Records2011 “Play like Jamal," trumpeter Miles Davis is reputed to have told his pianist Red Garland in the mid 1950s. We can but speculate how Garland reacted to this request, assuming the story is true. It ...


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