Dear Mosaic Friend,
In this time and place, the Mosaic business model is becoming harder and
harder to sustain in this rapidly changing world. We aren't sure what
the future will hold for us, but we want to let all of you know how much
we appreciate that your support has allowed us to constantly make our
dreams come true with set after set and that we intend to persevere. The
way we operate may change but our mandate remains steadfast.
Charlie Lourie and I started Mosaic Records in 1982 and our first
releases were in 1983. The company was almost an afterthought. The idea
of definitive boxed sets of complete recordings by jazz masters at a
crucial time in their careers was a small part of a proposal that we
made to Capitol Records in 1982 to relaunch the Blue Note label. Even
before Capitol turned us down, it occurred to me one night that the
release of these boxed sets could be a business unto itself if we made
them deluxe, hand-numbered limited editions sold directly to the public.
Our first release was The Complete Blue Note Recordings of Thelonious
Monk, which came about because I'd found about 25 minutes of excellent
unissued Monk on Blue Note. It was too short for an album and I was
obsessed with how to get this music released. . It then dawned on me
that all of this important material needed to be retransferred and
assembled in chronological order as a significant historic document. I
solved my problem of releasing those 25 minutes of Monk music and Mosaic
Records was born. We had a wonderful run of projects. The Tina Brooks,
Herbie Nichols, Serge Chaloff, Count Basie and Nat Cole sets were among
those that were especially near and dear to our hearts.
Charlie was my best friend and working together was a joy. Mosaic was
slow getting started and it took a few years before we could even draw a
meager salary. I remember during those lean years worrying if we could
afford to put out a Tina Brooks set. Charlie looked at me in amazement.
"Isn't that why we started this thing - to do what's important without
anyone telling us no?!" He only had to say it once.
In 1989, we moved out of Charlie's basement and into our own facility.
Scott Wenzel joined us in 1987. We added employees as the business grew.
We started issuing sets on CD as well as LP and eventually had our own
We lost Charlie to scleroderma on December 31, 2000. We managed to keep
the tone and spirit of the company up to the level that Charlie created
and continued to put out thoroughly researched vital sets of importance
in jazz history. But in the early 2000s, the record business began to
shrink and morph for a variety of reasons and we were forced to downsize
our staff, move to smaller quarters and reduce the flow of sets.
We've always tried to be diligent about warning you when sets were
running low so you wouldn't miss out on titles that you wanted. But at
this point, some sets which are temporarily out of stock may not be
pressed again. We are not certain how Mosaic Records will continue
going forward or how many more sets we will be able to create and
release. We've got a lot of great plans but few resources.
Scott and I want to thank every single person who has supported us, made
suggestions, given advice and shown us such love and affection. If you
are thinking about acquiring a certain set, now's the time.
- - Michael Cuscuna
Thank you for your support. Sincerely, All of us at Mosaic Records