Blue Note record producer Michael Cuscuna has died aged 75

The prodigious and legendary Blue Note and Mosaic record producer Michael Cuscuna has died aged 75. Tributes online have included these words from fellow producer Billy Vera writing on X (formerly Twitter): ''My best friend Michael Cuscuna passed …

Published: 21 Apr 2024. Updated: 31 days.

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The prodigious and legendary Blue Note and Mosaic record producer Michael Cuscuna has died aged 75. Tributes online have included these words from fellow producer Billy Vera writing on X (formerly Twitter): ''My best friend Michael Cuscuna passed at noon today. His wife Lisa phoned with the news not ten minutes after I tried calling. Michael was one of the greatest producers of jazz. We produced three hit albums that brought back Lou Rawls' career, including the number one At Last.''

Blue Note Records also paid tribute: ''We are heartbroken by the news that our dear friend, revered producer & Blue Note historian Michael Cuscuna, has passed away at age 75. It would be impossible to overstate Michael’s importance to the Blue Note legacy which he worked tirelessly to fortify for nearly 50 years going back to the mid-70s when he began a series of reissues & archival discoveries that brought to light numerous treasures from the Blue Note vaults. He continued to release Blue Note catalog reissues on his own Mosaic label during Blue Note’s dormancy in the early 80s and was by Bruce Lundvall’s side as the label relaunched in 1985. Plainly stated, Blue Note would not exist as it does today without his passion & dedication. He was recently given a DownBeat Lifetime Achievement Award.''

DownBeat in a recent tribute to Cuscuna honouring him for a lifetime's work noted his production credits on ''more that 2,600 LPs and CDs, the preponderance of which have been reissues. Between 1985 and 2007 alone, he produced at least 60 reissues a year for Blue Note and its sister labels.''

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May festival: The Jean Toussaint Quintet, Fergus Quill Trio & Maddy Coombs Quartet - among the Watford Jazz Junction 2024 acts

The Watford Jazz Junction returns next month. The Jean Toussaint Quintet, Fergus Quill Trio and the Maddy Coombs Quartet are among the participating acts. Jean Toussaint we last caught live in the autumn of 2021 when in his band on that autumnal …

Published: 21 Apr 2024. Updated: 10 days.

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The Watford Jazz Junction returns next month. The Jean Toussaint Quintet, Fergus Quill Trio and the Maddy Coombs Quartet are among the participating acts. Jean Toussaint we last caught live in the autumn of 2021 when in his band on that autumnal Vortex occasion joining the famed former Jazz Messengers player who was in Art Blakey's classic band when Terence Blanchard was also a member in the 1980s were one of Jean's former students pianist Andrew McCormack, Whirlwind label boss bassist Michael Janisch and Empirical drummer Shaney Forbes. Set highlights included Wayne Shorter's 'Palladium' made famous by Weather Report and Jean's composition a tribute to his late sister entitled 'Cry of the Unheard.' Toussaint - we don't know who is in his band for Watford so far - plays the Pump House Theatre on 18 May.

As for Leeds scenester bassist Fergus Quill who slurped up spaghetti for breakfast on 2022's ¡Blamo! beyond all distracting whimsy, a trio to stuff your face on Panettone to and hear live - pronto. There's a zaniness thumpingly led by Quill on 'Boris Hates Jazz… And That Suits Us Just Fine' as the trio slalomed in and out. The band play the Pump House Colne River Room from 3pm in a double bill with Maddy Coombs' Quartet on 18 May. Quill's technique recalls the peaks achieved by Welsh wiz Huw V. Williams a bit circa Hon. As fun and as satisfying as a clerihew. Full info. Dates are 12-19 May. Jean Toussaint, photo: press