Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Jazz Executive Charlie Lourie Dies at 60

Charlie Lourie, a pioneering jazz industry veteran and co-founder of the distinctive jazz label Mosaic Records, passed away December 31, 2000 from cardiac arrest.  He had been suffering from scleraderma for the past three years.

Lourie was born in Boston, Massachusetts on April 20, 1940.  A graduate of The New England Conservatory, Lourie worked throughout the ’60s in the greater Boston area as a clarinetist with various chamber groups and symphony orchestras (including the Boston Symphony and the Boston Pops), as a multi-reed player in the pit orchestra of the Schubert and Colonial theatres and in various jazz groups.

In 1968, he moved to New York City 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.

In 1983, Lourie and Michael Cuscuna launched Mosaic Records, a direct-mail label which issues definitive, limited-edition boxed sets of great jazz and blues artists including Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, T Bone Walker, Harry James, Count Basie, Kid Ory, Mildred Bailey, Louis Armstrong, Max Roach and countless others.  The company was founded in Santa Monica, CA but moved to Stamford, CT two years later with the 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 is survived by daughter Sarah, son David, brother Alan and mother Rose.  The funeral service will be held at 10:30 AM on Wednesday, January 3 at Gallagher’s Funeral Home in Stamford, CT.

Originally Published