michael-cuscuna

Chet Baker: At the Moonlight

The proliferation of music by jazz’s greatest artists keeps surfacing. Fortunately the estates of deceased artists are making so many of these recordings available legitimately and taking a proactive stance on generating revenue and getting it to the rightful heirs. This Chet Baker set is a case in point.

-Michael Cuscuna


Read the article…

Follow: Mosaic Records Facebook Tumblr Twitter
I've Got A Crush On You
Ike Quebec
I've Got A Crush On You

Ike Quebec - I’ve Got a Crush on You (1962)

From Michael Cuscuna’s liner notes:

As Rudy Van Gelder told me recently, “Ike always played beautifully, even at the end, when he was dying…I mean literally dying.“ 

The February 28, 1963 issue of Down Beat Magazine headlined its news section, "Two great losses within four days: Two Jazzmen Die in New York City.” on January 13, Sonny Clark died; the official reason given was a heart attack. On January 16, Ike Quebec died after five weeks in the hospital where he was being treated for lung cancer. Quebec was 44, Clark was 31, and the music on this album was a few days short of a year old.

Sonny Clark’s solo is simply this: one minute of piano-playing perfection. Don’t miss it.

Michael Cuscuna Tells His Story – and the Mosaic Story

Meet and listen to Michael Cuscuna, record producer and driving force behind Mosaic Records, as he dips into his vast reservoir of stories about his searches into the vaults for priceless classic jazz. Loren Schoenberg hosts the conversation at the National Jazz Museum on Tuesday, June 20. Go here for info on the event.



Follow: Mosaic Records Facebook Tumblr Twitter

Michael Cuscuna and Mosaic: The Coda Interview

James Rozzi sent us this 1994 interview he did with Michael Cuscuna for Coda Magazine, looking back not only on the founding of Mosaic Records, but on Michael’s time in the vaults of Blue Note. More on jazz at James Rozzi’s website, where this interview can be found. (Use your laptop or desktop to read this interview, which is in pdf form.)

-Nick Moy


Read the article…

Follow: Mosaic Records Facebook Tumblr Twitter

Ron Carter: Ten Favorite Recordings

In the 47 years that I’ve known Ron Carter, it never would have occurred to me to ask the prolific bassist to pick 10 favorites among the thousands of records that he has played on. Fortunately, Mark Stryker of the Detroit Free Press did, and the results and Ron’s comments are revealing and sometimes unexpected. I still think the Miles Davis album Miles Smiles has some of the greatest bass work in jazz, but Ron selected his first recorded appearance with Miles on Seven Steps To Heaven.

-Michael Cuscuna


Read and listen…

Follow: Mosaic Records Facebook Tumblr Twitter

Bobby Hutcherson: The Kicker Revisited

Marc Myers spotlights Bobby Hutcherson’s The Kicker, which I released on Blue Note in 1999 for the first time. Marc wonders why it didn’t come out when it was recorded in 1963. The reason is not because the same band cut Grant Green’s Idle Moments a month earlier, or that Horace Silver recorded The Kicker a year later. Actually Bobby and I reviewed all of his unissued material in the late ‘70s. There were so many amazing sessions that we both felt The Kicker paled by comparison at the time. In the late ‘90s, I was reviewing everything that had not been issued from the classic Blue Note era. Both of us were quite pleasantly surprised by this session and decided to put it out. It’s strange how time and circumstance can help form an opinion that should be absolutely objective.

-Michael Cuscuna


Read and listen…

Follow: Mosaic Records Facebook Tumblr Twitter

Toshiko Akiyoshi: United Notions

Japanese pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi was actually born in Manchuria in 1929 and studied classical piano there until her family moved back to Japan in 1946. Beguiled by jazz in general and Bud Powell in particular, she made her way to the United States in the early ‘50s and has contributed mightily to the music ever since with her own trios, the quartet she led with first husband Charlie Mariano and the quartet and big band that she still leads with husband Lew Tabackin. Marc Myers focuses here on the little-known Metro Jazz album by her 1958 International Jazz Sextet with Rolf Kuhn, Bobby Jaspar, Doc Severinson, Rene Thomas, John Drew and Bert Dahlander.

-Michael Cuscuna
Read Blog Post…

Follow: Mosaic Records Facebook Tumblr Twitter

John Coltrane’s Interstellar Space at 50

The scholarly Hank Shteamer who wrote the excellent essay for our Henry Threadgill set on Mosaic delves deeply into John Coltrane’s Interstellar Space, with drummer Rashied Ali, recorded in 1967 and released in 1974, and the amazing effect that it has had on artists since that time. I often saw the classic Coltrane quartet in the early ‘60s and during a set, he and Elvin Jones would launch into a ferocious duet in the latter half of a quartet piece. That was something to behold. But the duets with Ali were a beast of a very different nature, where the tenor sax and drums developed each piece compositionally from scratch. The effects of this music over the last 50 years have been beautifully annotated here.

-Michael Cuscuna


Read the article…

Follow: Mosaic Records Facebook Tumblr Twitter

NPR: All Things Considered


Sonny Rollins: After Seven Decades, Can’t Keep Music Off his Mind

Of late, Sonny Rollins has become one of the most interesting and forthright interview subjects in jazz, beginning with the Stanley Crouch interview in the New Yorker a few years back. He’s a profound thinker and blessed with an amazing memory. This NPR interview by Christian McBride and Audie Cornish adds to the legacy.

-Michael Cuscuna


Listen…

Follow: Mosaic Records Facebook Tumblr Twitter

The Different Drummers of Miles Davis

This article from Drum Online analyzes the different drummers Miles had and how each suited Miles’s goals in different ways. Philly Joe Jones, Jimmy Cobb and Tony Williams were drastically different drummers but they all brought something unique to Miles’s pursuit for beauty and perfection. Tony once told me that no musician or writer ever guessed his primary influence on the drums; it was Jimmy Cobb!

-Michael Cuscuna


Read the article…

Follow: Mosaic Records Facebook Tumblr Twitter

The John Coltrane Funeral Program: July 21, 1967

Like the Kennedy Assassination four years earlier, few will ever forget the moment on Monday, July 17, 1967 – now fifty years ago – that news of John Coltrane’s passing reached us. Most Coltrane fans didn’t even know that he was ill, despite the dwindling amount of appearances he made in 1966 and ’67. KCRW’s Planet Rhythm blog has posted the original program for Coltrane’s memorial service at St. Peters Church in Manhattan on July 21, 1967, and well as an audience recording of Albert Ayler’s set at the event.

-Michael Cuscuna

Read and listen…

Follow: Mosaic Records Facebook Tumblr Twitter

Ten of the Best Miles Davis Tracks

As my colleague Michael Cuscuna sagely pointed out about another recent list of Miles Davis albums, it’s hard to go wrong with any suggestion of recordings emanating from this artist. So here, in this list of ten “of the best” Miles Davis recordings compiled by Angus Batey in The Guardian, is a slew of tracks demanding repeated attention. Miles’s Adagio from Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez deservedly makes the list, and I appreciated the inclusion of Generique from the soundtrack to Ascenseur pour l'Echafaud. Any jazz fan reading a list like this – even one as persuasively reasoned as this – naturally fights the compulsion to assemble his or her own list of tracks equally deserving. But then, when the subject is Miles, any list that results is pretty certain to be worth a serious listen.

-Nick Moy


Read the list…

Follow: Mosaic Records Facebook Tumblr Twitter

Mickey Roker, R.I.P.

The jazz world lost a major voice on the drums with the death of Mickey Roker at age 84. Like Billy Higgins and Joe Chambers, Roker was never a well-known name except among musicians like Duke Pearson, Sonny Rollins, Stnaley Turrentine, Lee Morgan and Dizzy Gillespie who found him to an essential and driving element in their music. Nate Chinen’s obit on WBGO’s website tells the whole story.

-Michael Cuscuna


Read, watch and listen…

Follow: Mosaic Records Facebook Tumblr Twitter

A Look at Kenny Dorham’s Afro-Cuban

Steven Cerra has relayed liner notes for Afro-Cuban, the album by Kenny Dorham, an early bop pioneer and an important contributor to the Jazz Messengers and the Blue Note Sound. When I was about to graduate high school in 1966, I hired the Kenny Dorham Quintet to play my senior prom. I didn’t know how my fellow students would respond, but I was obsessed with jazz and spreading the word. Happily, KD knew how to play for dancers and pace the music. They were a big hit with students and faculty alike. And from that night on, Kenny called me “little red schoolhouse.”

-Michael Cuscuna


Read the article…

Follow: Mosaic Records Facebook Tumblr Twitter

Charles Mingus: The Chaos and the Magic

On the occasion of Mosaic’s release of Charles Mingus: The Jazz Workshop Concerts 1964-65 (MD7-253), which we are happy to report is now back in stock, Christopher Carroll wrote this in-depth essay The Chaos And The Magic, on this set and Mingus’s music and career in general, for the New York Review Of Books.

-Michael Cuscuna


Read the essay…

For more info on Mosaic’s Charles Mingus box set, go here.

Follow: Mosaic Records Facebook Tumblr Twitter
youtube

Max Roach Quintet, with Abbey Lincoln: Driva’ Man

Although Max Roach recorded We Insist: Freedom Now Suite in 1960, he didn’t start performing it until 1964, when his ensemble included the powerful vocals of then wife Abbey Lincoln and the incandescent tenor saxophone of Clifford Jordan. This version of Driva’ Man from the suite was performed on Belgian TV. Freedom Day also from the suite follows that video.

-Michael Cuscuna



Follow: Mosaic Records Facebook Tumblr Twitter

The Brief Career and Self-Imposed Exile of Jutta Hipp

Aaron Gilbreath’s profile of Jutta Hipp this month on Longreads is thoroughly researched and beautifully written. And every word of it from Leonard Feather’s advances to Tom Evered rediscovering her in Queens in 2001 is absolutely true.A fascinating and ultimately sad story of talent lost.

-Michael Cuscuna


Read the article…

Follow: Mosaic Records Facebook Tumblr Twitter