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./«z; pianists
revered him.

His recordings sold
in th<' millions.

Yet, few today can
even imagine
the wealth of his
musical treasure.

The Complete
Capitol Recordings of
The Nat King Cole


Dear Friend,

If you're familiar with Mosaic Records, you probably think of us as the maverick
company that has dedicated itself to producing complete, definitive, limited-edition
collections by such undisputed jazz legends as Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus and
Charlie Parker. We also pride ourselves on being the label that has helped to ensure
a place in jazz history for such lesser-known but musically significant artists as
Herbie Nichols, Tina Brooks and Ike Quebec.

So, you may be surprised by the release of our most ambitious set to date— The
Complete Capitol Recordings of The Nat King Cole Trio—a 27-LP/18-CD collection
that will astonish even Cole's warmest admirers.

Cole, the poll winner.
Nobody could be less obscure than Nat King Cole—one of the best-loved and best-
selling popular singers of all time. But unless you're a musician or a jazz scholar, or
you grew up listening to jazz in the 1940s, you may not realize the impact that Nat
Cole and his innovative piano/guitar/bass trio had on the jazz world.

Before Cole the singer became an international pop celebrity, Cole the pianist was
one of the most influential players in all of jazz. He and/or his trio topped at least one
major jazz poll each year from 1944 through 1949. The King Cole Trio also served as
a role model for such keyboard greats as Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson, Red Garland,
Phineas Newborn, Ahmad Jamal and Ray Charles. Even Bird and Dizzy were paying
close attention to Cole's harmonically advanced, fluid keyboard style.

Genius obscured by popularity.
Many jazz fans of the 1940s were not at all pleased when, at the end of that decade,
Cole's career gradually shifted gears and he began making records strictly for the
pop market. By the early 1950s, Cole's pop career was soaring. By the mid-1950s, few
of his pop fans were even aware that Cole had been one of the movers and shakers of
jazz less than ten years earlier! And eventually, with nothing but obsolete 78s and
haphazardly thrown-together LP reissues to serve as reminders, much of the jazz
world also forgot about Cole's former life as one of the keyboard giants of his day.

We believe that Mosaic's amazing 27-LP/18-CD set will set the record straight.

Unbelievable... and then some!
As it turns out, Nat Cole, and the King Cole Trio, left a voluminous legacy of
stunning, keyboard-propelled instrumental and vocal jazz, much of which even avid
fans did not realize existed.

And that included us. (over, please)

If a recorded masterpiece by Duke Ellington or marketing at United Artists in Los Angeles, and the next
Thelonious Monk is out-of-print (or even unreleased), it time Cuscuna knocked on the door, Lourie hired him.
can exist only in the memories of a fortunate few, because Fueled by Cuscuna and Lourie's enthusiasm an
jazz musicians record for companies that retain the rights impressive batch of reissues emerged. But Blue Note
to their work and seldom see any need to re-release it. eventually was sold to Capitol, and by 1981 both Lourie
Working from within, a great many people have tried and Cuscuna were out of work.
to liberate the contents of those commercial "museums." "Both of us," Lourie says, "had been beating our
But the dedicated dreamers tend to be pushed aside long heads numb, trying to do meaningful reissues from inside
before their work is through. these companies. So we decided it was time to give it a
Two of those dreamers are 38-year-old Michael shot ourselves.
Cuscuna and 46-year-old Charles Lourie. And even "A year's worth of daily telephone calls—that's what
though they had enjoyed more success than most in the it took for the executives of Capitol to even pay attention
working-from-within mode, they finally decided to take to us. These guys are dealing with megabucks, and here
matters into their own hands. we were, these mosquitoes constantly buzzing around
Founding their own label, Mosaic Records, in 1983, their ears."
they planned to acquire the rights to the music they most The Monk set came first, instantly recognized as the
wanted to re-release and then package and market the jazz equivalent of one of the Ten Commandments. And
material themselves—without having to alter their everything else from Mosaic has a similar cachet—ranging
idealistic aims to suit anyone else's thinking. from the work of such acknowledged masters to relatively
A partial list of Mosaic releases makes it clear why the obscure but vital artists. The label's stylistic sweep is
label has won numerous awards in a few short years— wide, too—beginning with traditional jazz, moving on to
[and why they] are now among the cornerstones of any Swing-era gems and all sorts of modernists.
respectable jazz collection. Mosaic's mail-order-only marketing may seem
"Complete" and "Blue Note" are the key words, for frustrating. But Lourie explains that "the majority of
Cuscuna and Lourie decided from the first that their people who buy our albums don't even go into record
albums would contain everything of value (including stores anymore.
many unissued performances) that their artists of choice "Outside of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and a few
had recorded. And they knew that the fabled Blue Note other major urban centers, there isn't a place in this
label was the place where a great many such treasures country where you can buy a non-mass market jazz
could be found. album. Try living in Cincinnati, for instance—there
In fact it was their mutual passion for the music Alfred aren't any jazz record stores there. And Cincinnati isn't
Lion recorded over 30 years (and their knowledge that even Des Moines.
some of Blue Note's most intriguing sessions had never "So, mail-order was the only way we could go. And the
been released) that brought Lourie and Cuscuna together response we get is just overwhelming. The older people
in the early 1970s, after Lion sold the label to United call and say, 'When I bought that Edmond Hall-James P.
Artists. Johnson set and put it on my turntable, I dropped 40
"I'd been trying to get into the Blue Note vaults for years from my life.' And we get the same kind of calls
years," Cuscuna recalls. "Most of the leaders and from people who were in college in the 1950s and grew up
sidemen who recorded for Blue Note were friends of mine, with the Gerry Mulligan-Chet Baker stuff.
and at sessions I was producing they would reminisce "Then there's all the previously unreleased material,
about things they had done for the label that had never which totally floors people. You might think that by now
come out." we'd be running out of ideas, but I don't see any end to
Lourie at the time was working for Columbia Records what we can do."
in New York. Deciding that he didn't want to raise his * From a Chicago Tribune article dated 11/9/86. Excerpted and reprinted
kids in that city, he applied for the job of director of by permission.
Dear Friend:
We are extremely proud of the record set
offered in this brochure. The Complete Capitol
Recordings of The Nat King Cole Trio represents
the best of everything we try to do at Mosaic.
First, there's a vast number of recordings that
probably have never been heard by anyone
outside of the gang in the control room— over
one-third of this massive set. We think they shed
new light not only on the importance of piano in
Cole's career, but on the way piano players who
followed him have to be heard. But mostly, we
just love listening to them.
Then, there are all the tunes that appeared
originally on 78s and have never been re-released
on long playing records (let alone CD), and all the
music performed for non-commercial radio
transcription disks, available at last. Again, they
are a joy to hear.
As for the speed corrected recordings— sure,
they've been on other collections. But they9ve
never been right, until now. We're pleased to
finally set the record straight.
At Mosaic, it always comes down to doing the
right thing by the music and the musician,
whether that musician is an unknown great or as
big a "name" as Nat King Cole. We're delighted to
be able to share this wonderful music with you.


Charlie Lourie and Michael Cuscuna