The Mosaic that Michael Cuscuna has produced

Although Jerry Jazz Musician’s Joe Maita seems unaware – or chooses to ignore – Michael Cuscuna’s role in producing sessions by Anthony Braxton and other advanced players like the AEC’s Joseph Jarman and Roscoe Mitchell, he gives the veteran producer space to talk about the Jazz scene in general and Mosaic records in particular. Someone who worked in radio and for corporate record companies before starting the box-set oriented Mosaic records in 1981, Cuscuna realized the value of well-researched and well-organized product when he went on his own. Making one of the label’s ideals creating CDs that contain all of an artist’s work from a certain period, he started by adding unreleased Thelonious Monk tracks to those already in print. While the piece then does get somewhat bogged down in nostalgia for Blue Note records and the 1960s, it also talks about Cuscuna’s recording relationship with legends like tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, vibist Bobby Hutcherson and drummer Art Blakey. Plus there’s his comments about how downloads and streaming aren’t necessarily music’s future. “I don’t think packaged media is going to go away anytime soon. It is going to diminish and diminish, but people want photography, people want information,” Cuscuna says.