Michael Cuscuna

Michael Cuscuna, co-founder of Mosaic Records, passed away on April 20, 2024, he was 75. Already a jazz buff in childhood, by 14 he was watching Blakey, Miles, and Coltrane from the “peanut gallery” at Birdland. His interest in finding unissued jazz recordings led him to explore the archives of several record labels, eventually finding a treasure trove in the vaults of Blue Note in 1975. That led to the founding of Mosaic Records with Charles Lourie in 1982. It started as a pitch to Capital Records to release box sets on the Blue Note label, which was rejected.

Instead, Cuscuna had the vision to see that their box sets could be issued by a stand alone label as numbered limited editions of the highest audio and scholarly quality. The first Mosaic Records releases went out in 1983 and all of their releases, 278 box sets so far, are sought after collectibles. Even after 40 years, many Mosaic releases are still culled from the seemingly inexhaustible Blue Note vault. Charles Laurie died in 2000 but Scott Wenzel, who began working with Mosaic full time in 1989 has helped to keep things going to the same high standard. Mosaic Records will live on.

Red Wood Coast

Joe Bebco is the Associate Editor of The Syncopated Times and Webmaster of SyncopatedTimes.com

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