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Charlie Lourie: 1940-2000
Charlie Lourie
Record company executive, reeds player

Born: April 20, 1940 in Boston, Massachussetts
Died: December 31, 2000 in Stamford, Connecticut

Co-Founder of Mosaic Records

Copyright © 2001 


Charlie Lourie was a pioneering jazz industry veteran and co-founder of the distinctive jazz label Mosaic Records, a direct-mail reissue label which specialises in compiling definitive, strictly limited-edition boxed sets (the one exception to the limited edition rule is their box of the Dean Benedetti recordings of Charlie Parker, which Mosaic owns, and has pledged to keep in print).

He launched the label with Michael Cuscuna in 1983, based initially in Santa Monica, and later in Stamford. They built it into arguably the most important reissue label in jazz, with a roster which has included impeccably produced and documented box sets of music by Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory, Jack Teagarden, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Harry James, Benny Goodman, Django Reinhardt, T Bone Walker, Charles Brown, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, Bill Evans, Jimmy Smith, Art Blakey, and Max Roach.

In addition to such “headline” names, they have provided an invaluable service in gathering the music of musicians like Herbie Nichols, Larry Young, Tina Brooks, Freddie Redd, Serge Chaloff, Blue Mitchell, Horace Parlan and countless others. Their efforts have occasionally led to a subsequent commercial release of the material.

Charlie Lourie was a graduate of the New England Conservatory. He worked in the greater Boston area in the 1960s, as a clarinetist with various chamber groups and symphony orchestras (including the Boston Symphony and the Boston Pops), as well as the pit orchestra of the Schubert and Colonial theatres, and in various jazz groups.

He moved to New York City in 1968, where he joined Columbia Records the following year as Manager Of Contemporary Artist Relations, then Product Manager and finally as Director of Merchandising for Columbia's Epic label. He relocated to Los Angeles in 1974 to become head of marketing for Blue Note Records. In 1977, he moved to Warner Bros. Records, where he served as product manager before being named Director Of Jazz and Progressive Music.

Mosaic Records moved to Stamford in 1985, two years after its launch, with a mandate to preserve an illustrious jazz legacy of both popular and archival recordings, appealing to jazz fans, historians, students and collectors alike. He also served on the board of The Jazz Foundation of America and the Jazz Musicians Emergency Fund.

He died from cardiac arrest. He is survived by his daughter Sarah; son David; brother Alan; and mother Rose.

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With 3 reader comments, latest February 25, 2001