Today, Jazz Speaks continues its series on the 2017 Jazz Gallery gala honorees with a feature on writer and producer Michael Cuscuna.
From working as progressive rock DJ to producing albums from artists as diverse as the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Bonnie Raitt, Cuscuna has quite the wide-angle perspective on American music. It is this perspective that has made Cuscuna such a vital voice in the curation and preservation of jazz as a producer of reissues for Blue Note and his own Mosaic Records. In the interview below, Cuscuna describes his approach to putting together a strong reissue collection.
Cuscuna has three Grammy awards to his name—two for producing reissues of work by Nat King Cole and Billie Holliday, and a third for his liner notes in the complete set of the Miles Davis Quintet’s Columbia albums, 1965-1968. Todd Barkan, a producer-colleague of Cuscuna’s and former director of Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, offers the following recollection:
From his earliest years as a Philadelphia disc jockey through his world class production and a&r work for Atlantic, Impulse, Arista, Blue Note, Columbia, Sony, and his own Mosaic label, Michael has for over five decades provided an unfailing standard of excellence, taste, and integrity for all of us who work for and with this music.
When I first moved from San Francisco to New York in 1983, it was my longtime friend and colleague Michael Cuscuna who graciously and generously provided me a place to live for my first year of working here in the City. Michael has likewise created a vital and essential home for the best jazz music and musicians in the world during his entire distinguished career.
Please join us at the Player’s Club next Monday evening to celebrate Mr. Cuscuna and our other distinguished honorees. For more information about the event and tickets, please visit http://jazzgallery.nyc/about-2/2017-gala/