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Face of the Bass

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  1. I like the Tone Poet series. The quality is very good and I just pick out the albums I really love as it's nice to have them in vinyl with the larger cover art. 

    Blue Notes does seem though to be in a bit of a logical conundrum. The Tone Poet series tends to focus more on more obscure releases, the kinds of titles that used to come out in the Connoisseur Series on CD. Meanwhile, they also have the Classic Vinyl series, which is good but doesn't have as much artwork. So they are doing nicer releases for the obscure stuff, and more ordinary releases for the most popular items in the BN catalog. Kind of seems backwards from what you might want. 

  2. I have the following for sale. PayPal only, PM if interested. Cost includes shipping to the US. International deliveries would cost more, depending on location. Thanks for looking! All discs, booklets, cases, etc., are in excellent to like new condition. No scuffs or scratches of any kind. 

    Mosaic #249: Complete Atlantic Studio Recordings of the Modern Jazz Quartet: $110
    Mosaic #208: The Complete Roost Sonny Stitt Sessions: $115

    Thanks for looking!

  3. On 7/14/2023 at 10:22 AM, Brad said:

    I actually enjoy the Hoffman Forum more than here. 

    Just came to +1 this. This site should rename itself as a Mosaic Records fan site. As near as I can tell, that's the only thing people want to talk about here that is related to music. And the threads are no more substantive than the ones at the Hoffman forum. Just people getting excited about getting tracking numbers, telling everyone when their set arrived in the mail. Then...nothing. No discussion of the music, no discussion of anything of substance. 

    This Sonny Clark set also just exemplifies everything that is wrong with Mosaic now. Recycling releases on CD that have mostly been easily available for years, mining the exact same musical territory to increasingly diminishing returns, refusing to branch out into different genres and eras of jazz or ways of presenting the music. Mosaic's catalog is the best argument I know of that jazz as a genre really is dead, and Organissimo's devotion to this label has killed the discourse here. 

    Alright, I'll go back to the hole I crawled out from now. 

  4. I deleted my original posts because one user decided to attack my ability to do my job, during Teacher Appreciation Week, in a time period (post-pandemic) when it is extraordinarily difficult, demanding, and stressful to be a teacher. (Dan Gould). 

    Honestly, I don't want to be on this board at all anymore and don't want anything to do with Organissimo. I reached out to a moderator asking to have my profile deleted (this is apparently not possible on my end). This will be my last post and I ask that no one contact me anymore from here. My life is stressful enough as it is. 

    If the thread cannot be deleted by moderators, if the profile cannot be deleted, just leave it alone. 

  5. On 5/11/2023 at 6:34 PM, Stompin at the Savoy said:

    I was kind of mystified about this thread and the Mosaic bashing.  There were some attempts to vilify the external designs of the packaging, some vague claims that the sets weren't good, that they are too expensive, that box sets are too big or too expensive, that the focus was too narrow (whatever the heck that actually means) and finally that the company was sexist.  These objections all seem half-hearted and I kept trying to figure out why go after Mosaic.  After all no one is forcing anyone to buy these things.

    The one feller mentioned that he didn't like two recent sets he bought and sold them at a loss.  It strikes me that that may be the underlying explanation for these attempts to counter the supposed "deification" of Mosaic: this is a disgruntled customer!  If you are sore about some purchases that you didn't like and lost money when selling them off, this is a way to hit back, I think.  It has me scratching my head because if you buy a new Mosaic you don't like all you have to do is wait till shortly after it goes out of print and then you can probably sell it for at least the original price.

    No. What I was trying to do was to address the historic underrepresentation of female instrumentalists by the label. I wasn't the one who complained about the price (Mosaic prices are very reasonable and honestly I would pay more for the sets if they would upgrade their packaging). The point of the thread is to start a conversation about the gender bias in jazz and in how it is understood historically and documented (or not) by Mosaic. I am not a "disgruntled customer." I only mentioned selling the two recent sets when someone pointed to them as examples of Mosaic still doing good work. 

    It is amazing to me how resistant people here are to analyzing the politics of this music in any way, shape, or form. 

    One thing I have taken away from this discussion is that putting it on Mosaic is pointless. The label is what it is and honestly it would be better if other labels did the sets that we need, like the Dorothy Ashby set coming out next month. I imagine this would have been a more fruitful discussion somewhere else, perhaps a forum that isn't crawling with Mosaic fans who just want to document the growth of their collections as consumers rather than think about the music more deeply. There also seems to be a general resistance here to talking about the politics of representation in jazz, as this is now seen as "woke," which I don't think anyone who uses that term would be able to define. 


  6. On 5/11/2023 at 7:42 PM, Stompin at the Savoy said:

    Take a look at the sets currently in print:

        Classic Jazz At The Philharmonic Jam Sessions 1950-1957
        The Complete Freddie Hubbard Blue Note & Impulse Studio Sessions
        Classic Black & White Jazz Sessions
        Lennie Tristano Personal Recordings
        The Complete Joe Henderson Blue Note Studio Sessions
        The Savory Collection 1935-1940
        The Complete Louis Armstrong Columbia & RCA Victor Studio Sessions 1946-66

    and recently out of print sets:

        #260 The Complete Dial Modern Jazz Sessions (9 CDs)
        #261 The Complete Bee Hive Sessions (12 CDs)
        #262 Classic James P. Johnson Sessions (6 CDs)
        #263 Classic Columbia, OKeh and Vocalion Lester Young With Count Basie 1936-1947 (8     CDs)
        #264 Classic Savoy Be-Bop Sessions 1945-49 (10 CDs)
        #265 Classic Brunswick & Columbia Teddy Wilson Sessions 1934-1942 (7 CDs)
        #267 The Complete Woody Herman Decca, Mars and MGM Sessions (1943-1954) (7 CDs)
        #268 The Complete Hank Mobley Blue Note Sessions 1963-70 (7 CDs)
        #269 Paul Desmond: The Complete 1975 Toronto Recordings (7 CDs)


    This is by no means bad stuff.  That Lester Young set was pretty important to me.

    I guess part of my issue is that none of the currently available sets are interesting to me. I've never liked the JATP concept; the musicians who played in it are obviously great, but the vibe of the recordings is kind of monochromatic. 

    Those Dial and Bee Hive recordings disappeared many years ago. Their rate of putting out sets has definitely decreased significantly. 

  7. So, I deleted all my previous comments from this thread. I don't really want to be engaged in this board anymore. I understand that Mosaic has done a lot of work of historical value over many years. What I also believe is that Mosaic, despite being a private company, sees its mission as more than profit but also as providing the world with a public good. Mosaic is not Wal-Mart. They are a small business interested in the historical preservation of jazz.

    My initial post specifically identified the problem as the underrepresentation of female instrumentalists (ie non-vocalists) in their catalog. We know that jazz historically has excluded women from these roles, in ways that have undoubtedly hurt jazz by depriving it of who knows how many women pianists, drummers, trumpeters, saxophonists, trombonists, bassists, etc. etc. 

    For this reason, I think it is doubly imperative that those women instrumentalists who did manage to record have their work documented and preserved. I don't at all buy the excuses made here on Mosaic's behalf. Mary Lou Williams's discography is a mess as far as reissues are concerned. A Mosaic set would have happened if it had been a priority for the company. Same for Jutta Hipp (they could have done a set long before the Be! one came out, which has had scant circulation in the United States anyway). A Shirley Scott set would be particularly valuable because it documents a woman who did many dates as a leader that are actually pretty difficult to find in decent condition now. Mosaic had no problem releasing a set devoted to her husband, Stanley Turrentine. Why not Shirley Scott? It's a worthwhile question.  

    Years ago, I identified a similar problem in the work of the Criterion Collection, which has as its mission the preservation of important works of world cinema. Until about 8 years ago, the Criterion Collection had not released a single film by an African director. Implicitly, Criterion was saying that African films were not significant to the art of cinema. As someone who has a doctorate in African history, I knew that there were many powerful and important African films, and I strongly felt that Criterion needed to rectify this. They have improved somewhat in recent years, but not nearly enough. 

    Some people call this "woke," a term that has now been abused by conservatives to the point of unintelligibility. It is not "woke." It is simply asking that artists overlooked by historians have their work valued and respected. There has always been a tendency in jazz circles like this one (or the old one at JazzCorner) to reject any attempt to politicize the music by bringing these issues up. But I strongly believe that these are the exact issues we should be talking about and debating. 

    The hostility to my initial post has me feeling that a majority of people on this board do not agree with me about this. I guess this really just is a Mosaic fan site, where people get together to brag about their collections, anxiously document their purchases, and otherwise engage in consumerist fetishism of the sets as objects. Look at most of the threads about the individual Mosaic sets. They usually start out with the initial announcement of the set, then either posts expressing excitement or disappointment in the concept of the set. Then people document their orders, when they get tracking numbers, and when the sets arrive. Then, the thread kind of goes away. There is little actual criticism, analysis, or meaningful discussion of the music itself, let alone its broader historical context or political meaning. 

    I find this disappointing. But I think most people on the site prefer it this way. So, my own dissatisfaction with the quality of discourse on the music being what it is, I think any further participation from me on these questions will just be taken as trying to ruin the mood. So, I will stop talking about this here. My apologies for starting the thread in the first place.

    If there is anything positive that has come from this for me, it is that I want to hear much more from women artists in jazz. It matters to me. I picked up the Craft recordings set of Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis with Shirley Scott. I got the expensive vinyl version. The sound is excellent and the liner notes are economical but enlightening. I recommend it. Scott has an approach to the instrument that allows it to breathe within the broader group, rather than dominating the band as many organ players do. I also have placed a pre-order for the forthcoming Dorothy Ashby set. Yes, it is expensive. But it costs about the same as ordering the last two or three Mosaic sets combined. I'd rather have the Ashby set than any of those Mosaics, so that's a fair trade. Quality over quantity. 

    As I am a historian and researcher, I am hoping to use this conversation as a jumping off point for better understanding the music and lives of women instrumentalists in jazz. There is not nearly enough written on the subject. As I have previously published books and done much oral history in my life, I am considering starting a broader project on the subject. That's what I can do to put my "money" where my "mouth" is. I'd be terrible at running a record label, but I can write and try to make an impact that way.

    Have a nice rest of your week, everyone. 

  8. I picked up the vinyl version of this a couple weeks ago. It's very well done. Excellent sound quality and the booklet has great photos without being unnecessarily wordy. I am sure they could have included other albums, but the older I get, the more I appreciate box sets that are shorter and more curated. 

  9. I finally started reading this a week ago. This might be the best jazz book I've ever read. It's up there with Szwed's Space is the Place. The reason is that it flows very smoothly and offers an incredibly detailed portrait of the jazz world in the 1950s. It's much more than a Rollins biography; in fact, I don't know of another jazz book that does a better job chronicling the hard bop scene and particularly the drug scourge. Incredible stuff. 

  10. Genuine question: Thirty years ago, Mosaic was releasing sets from the 1960s. Is there a business reason why they can't release sets from the 1990s now? Or is it just that they want to maintain the impression that historically important jazz ended in the 1960s?


    6 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

    At the juncture we seem to be at, I think it would be a good idea to look back at the history of Mosaic and ask ourselves, as well as the folks that be at Mosaic, which sets and which kinds of sets (big boxes, Selects, etc.) did the best -- economically and/or in terms of satisfying strongly  felt needs within the community, even if such sets didn't always generate great sales. I think that up to a point almost all the early sets were slam-dunks from one point of view or another: Muillgan/Baker; Clifford Brown; Blakey 1960s; Buck Clayton Jam Sessions; L. Hampton Victors; Hodges small groups; Blue Note Elvin; Maynard Ferguson Roulette; Thad and Mel; Lunceford Deccas, Tristano, Konitz, Marsh, Atlantics, the Armstrong sets, Basie/Lester Young, Chu Berry, etc. Two possible deviations from whatever the general Mosaic model was were Tina Brooks and Freddie Redd, and both of those were blessings in my book. Another blessing that recently just dropped from the trees was the "private" Tristano set. That said, I think that there can be little doubt that failing further such pieces of good luck, we're now hard-pressed for slam-dunks, and Mosaic without slam-dunks is ill ease to say the least.

    Now the old or original Mosaic model was eminently sound, I think -- both in terms of filling vital needs for the jazz community snd probably (I don't have the figures of course) economically sound as well. Can Mosaic more or less go on as it has before on what might be thought of as a reduced diet of some sort? If not what alterations to what seems to have been the Mosaic model would make sense -- -- in terms of filling community needs and significant historical gaps, etc? Notably broadening the jazz aspect of Mosaic might be/probably would be self-defeating; that this is more or less a purist endeavor seems to be of its essence. For instance, at one time I thought of Sauter-Finnegan, which might be fun, and might even  do well sales-wise, but really...?

    I certainly don't have the answer or answers, but, again, I think that a close look at Mosaic's past might clarify matters. 



    If you look at it, the vast majority of their releases exist within a roughly forty year time span (1930-1970). Those decades have been pretty thoroughly documented, which is why these threads almost never yield any suggestions that I'd be interested in buying. 

  11. I bought my first Mosaic when I was 26 years old. I'm now 45. Something that surprises me is that in those two decades, Mosaic has really done nothing to try to reach a broader audience or to move outside of its particular comfort zone, even though the number of people interested in jazz recordings from the 1930s to the 1960s has obviously shrunk over that time. 


  12. In the need to create some space, I have the following Box sets and individual CDs for sale. Paypal only, PM if interested. Prices include shipping to the US. Please inquire about international deliveries:

    Box Sets:

    Debussy: Complete Orchestral Works (Naxos) $30
    Julius Hemphill: The Boye Multi-National Crusade for Harmony $70

    Individual CDs:

    Albert Ayler: New York Eye and Ear Control Revisited (Ezz-thetics) $10 (still sealed)
    Albert Ayler: La Cave Live Cleveland 1966 Revisited (Ezz-thetics) $10 (still sealed)
    Albert Ayler: 1964 Prophecy Revisited (Ezz-thetics) $7
    Albert Ayler: 1964 Spirits to Ghosts Revisited (Ezz-thetics) $7
    John Carter/Bobby Bradford: Flight For Four $30
    Joe Harriott: Free Form & Abstract Revisited (Ezz-thetics) $12
    Keith Jarrett: Always Let Me Go (ECM) $10 (still sealed)
    Steve Lacy: The Way (hatology) $11 (still sealed)
    Archie Sheep: Blasé and Yasmina Revisited (Ezz-thetics) $7


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