In the late 70s Fred was producing jazz records and became friendly with Michael Cuscuna, soon to become one of the medium’s most revered producers and the leading reissue producer in history.
In the early 1980s Michael and former BlueNote/Columbia/Warner Records executive Charlie Lourie started the pioneering Mosaic Records as the first company specializing in boxed set reissues of classic performances, available only by mail order. Michael and Fred became reacquainted when he ordered their first set (The Complete BlueNote Recordings of Thelonious Monk) and he asked Fred/Alan to get involved with helping them out of the hole. It turned out their ‘sure thing’ idea wasn’t having many takers and they were worried about shutting down.
We turned them down two years in a row with a lot of unsolitcited advice about what they could do better —we were broke and our company was barely alive itself— even if we were talking through our hats. Everything we knew about direct mail cataloging was from being mail order catalog readers ourselves and from a direct mail how-to book Fred had read (at least the first chapter). We admired what Michael and Charlie were trying to accomplish at Mosaic, but our bandwidth was just too narrow.
Three years later Fred/Alan was doing a little better and Mosaic was doing a lot worse; Michael and Charlie successfully prevailed on us to finally help. We knew no more, but full of the arrogance of youth we took Alan’s first generation portable computer and invented the first Mosaic 12-page brochure on our summer rental’s picnic table. Alan wrote every word (Fred supervised “strategy” — what else is new?), our friends Tom Corey and Scott Nash designed the thing, Jessica Wolf supervised the production and we mailed out the first Mosaic catalog ever in the autumn of 1986.
We waited for the order phones to ring, and lo and behold, in the first three weeks Mosaic’s business had increased 10 fold. They were in business forever. Alan’s still writing the brochures, Fred’s still lobbing in ideas from the side. We’ve never been prouder of any project. So proud, in fact, that Alan continues writing all new release copy, and former Fred/Alan CFO Fred Pustay is now a Mosaic partner.
Do you like jazz? Order one of the Mosaic sets. They are still the standard by which all others are judged.0 comments Tagged: Mosaic Records, box set, catalog, jazz, mail order, Tom Corey, Scott Nash, Corey McPherson Nash,.