Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lunchtime mood breaker: Jazz Icons Series from Mosaic

Before the music industry moved from LPs to CDs, so much fine music went out of print, especially jazz. In 1983 Michael Cuscuna and Charlie Lourie launched Mosaic Records to try and rectify the situation by releasing box sets of out-of-print jazz, all pressed on high quality vinyl and with well researched booklets. The Mosaic releases were (and are) limited editions as the company signs deals with the originating record label that limits the amount of time they can market the recordings.

Once the CD became the dominant format, record labels began to see that they could profit from re-releasing material from their back catalog and many older recordings again became available.

That didn't stop Mosaic Records, though, the company continues to issue important releases every year.

Yesterday I received an email about their latest project, a collaboration with David Peck and Tom Gulotta from Reelin' In The Years to market that company's fifth series of DVDs. Jazz Icons Series 5 is a six DVD set made up of some amazing material, all of it recorded live in France.

The first DVD features the John Coltrane Quartet recorded in 1965, presumably live at the Festival Mondial du Jazz Antibes, performing A Love Supreme and Ascension. Other DVDs feature Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers (with Wayne Shorter), Johnny Griffin, Freddie Hubbard and Rahssan Roland Kirk. Quite a set of DVDs.

"When Tom told me that they were thinking about the 1965 Antibes concerts by the John Coltrane Quartet that included the only public performances of "Ascension" and "A Love Supreme" and a little known 1969 color program of Thelonious Monk alone and free-associating in a Paris TV studio, I said sign us up!" Michael Cuscuna writes in the promotional email.

The box of 6 DVDs will be released on November 8th and is priced at $99.98 (strange price, couldn't they have added that extra penny?). And no, TNM gets nothing for promoting the set, I just like the work being done at Mosaic Records.

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