Craft Recordings and Acoustic Sounds Announce Seven New Titles for Contemporary Records Acoustic Sounds Series
CRAFT RECORDINGS AND ACOUSTIC SOUNDS PROUDLY ANNOUNCE
SEVEN NEW TITLES FOR ACCLAIMED
CONTEMPORARY RECORDS ACOUSTIC SOUNDS SERIES
The extensive rollout, which continues Craft Recordings’ celebration of the storied jazz label, includes titles by André Previn, Ornette Coleman, Art Farmer, Leroy Vinnegar, Curtis Counce and Phineas Newborn, Jr.
Each album features lacquers cut from the original master tapes (AAA) by Bernie Grundman and is pressed on 180-gram vinyl at QRP
Los Angeles, CA (March 21, 2023)—Craft Recordings and Acoustic Sounds proudly announce seven new titles in their acclaimed Contemporary Records Acoustic Sounds series. These latest reissues, which continue Craft’s celebration of the iconic jazz label, include choice albums from Ornette Coleman, André Previn, Phineas Newborn, Jr., Art Farmer, Leroy Vinnegar and Curtis Counce. Each title, originally engineered by Roy DuNann and/or Howard Holzer, boasts lacquers cut from the original master tapes (AAA) by the GRAMMY®-winning engineer (and former Contemporary Records employee) Bernie Grundman, while all LPs are pressed on 180-gram vinyl at Quality Record Pressings (QRP) and presented in Stoughton old style tip-on jackets. All albums are available for pre-order today, with release dates beginning May 19 through the end of 2023.
Founded in 1951 by film producer, screenwriter and record collector Lester Koenig (1917–1977), Contemporary Records became the epicenter of the West Coast jazz scene, while its cutting-edge approach to sound and design attracted some of the era’s most exciting artists. The Contemporary Records Acoustic Sounds series—which launched in the spring of 2022 with titles by Art Pepper, Barney Kessel and Benny Carter, among others—honors the label’s rich legacy through meticulous reissues that highlight the label’s influential classics, as well as its must-hear rarities.
Since its initial rollout, the series has earned accolades from a slew of outlets, including JazzTimes, which spoke to the impact of the label, reflecting: “Artists, producers, and engineers alike have held Contemporary aloft…as a label dedicated to presenting jazz at its absolute purest, richest, and live-est,” adding that the new reissues “are living, breathing proof of that label’s hotly cutting clarity.” Audiophile Review, meanwhile, marveled at the stereo pressing of Art Pepper + Eleven: Modern Jazz Classics, which it called “top-notch,” elaborating that it sounds “richer and more inviting…deliver[ing] a bit more cinemascopic ‘view’ of the group.” Praising Hampton Hawes’ Four! as “pristine,” Audiophile Audition added, “Kudos to Craft Recordings for re-introducing a brilliant pianist.”
The series’ 2023 collection kicks off in style with a swinging interpretation of West Side Story, led by pianist André Previn and His Pals (drummer Shelly Manne and bassist Red Mitchell). Released in 1960, three years after the legendary musical opened on Broadway, the instrumental album includes eight memorable selections from Leonard Bernstein’s score, including “I Feel Pretty,” “Maria” and “America.” While the all-star trio stays true to the original material, they present each tune in a sophisticated new light. Available May 19, this special reissue will mark the album’s first vinyl pressing in more than three decades.
Next up is Leroy Walks! from bassist Leroy Vinnegar and his sextet. A busy sideman, who worked alongside the likes of Les McCann, Stan Getz and labelmate Shelly Manne, Vinnegar was known for his “walking” basslines (a signature move that gave him the nickname “The Walker”). While Vinnegar’s catalog as a leader is limited, his solo material stands as a testament to his talents. His 1958 debut offers plenty of plays on the bassist’s nickname, with the original “Walk On,” plus a handful of standards, including Julie Styne’s “I’ll Walk Alone” and Fred Ahlert’s “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home.” Vinnegar is backed by Carl Perkins (piano), Victor Feldman (vibraphone), Teddy Edwards (tenor saxophone), Gerald Wilson (trumpet) and Tony Bazley (drums). This long out-of-print rarity returns to vinyl on June 16.
This summer will also bring two foundational classics from free jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman: 1958’s Something Else!!! and 1959’s Tomorrow Is the Question! (available July 14 and August 18, respectively). Hailed by AllMusic as the album that “shook up the jazz world,” Something Else!!! marked the influential saxophonist’s debut—as well as a defining title in the genre. While the album offered a bold introduction to Coleman’s wholly original sound, it was also his only record in a conventional hard-bop setting. Featuring bassist Don Payne, pianist Walter Norris, drummer Billy Higgins and a young Don Cherry on cornet, the quintet performs nine original selections including “Disguise,” “Chippie” and the blues-forward “The Blessing.”
Coleman’s follow-up, Tomorrow Is the Question!, found the saxophonist continuing to explore and push the limits of his sound. With further creative freedom, Coleman elected not to incorporate a pianist, instead reuniting with Cherry and enlisting drummer Shelly Manne, as well as bassists Red Mitchell and Percy Heath. This break from tradition allowed the two horn players to have greater freedom with their improvisations, without being tied to strict melodic structures. Featuring nine original compositions, the album includes such highlights as “Giggin,” closer “Endless” and the Coleman classic “Rejoicing.”
Arriving October 13 is 1957’s You Get More Bounce with Curtis Counce!, which marks bassist Curtis Counce’s second outing as a leader. A vital player in the West Coast scene, the Kansas City–born musician arrived in Los Angeles in 1945, where he built a name for himself as a sideman alongside the likes of Shelly Manne, Clifford Brown and Stan Kenton. In 1956, the bassist assembled his own group with Harold Land (tenor saxophone), Carl Perkins (piano), Frank Butler (drums) and Jack Shelton (trumpet)—all of whom deliver superb performances on You Get More Bounce with Curtis Counce!. Blurring the line between hard bop and cool jazz, the album features two originals (“Counceltation” and “Complete”) and five standards, including Irving Berlin’s “How Deep Is the Ocean?” and Charlie Parker’s “Big Foot.”
Also available this fall is Portrait of Art Farmer, which returns to vinyl for the first time in decades on November 10. A standout title in Art Farmer’s prolific catalog of work, the 1958 album features the trumpet player in a quartet setting, alongside pianist Hank Jones, drummer Roy Haynes and his twin brother and bassist, Addison Farmer. Revered for his lyrical phrasing and inviting tone, Farmer’s artistry shines particularly bright, as he performs a blend of moving standards (Ray Noble’s “The Very Thought of You,” Jerome Kern’s “The Folks Who Live on the Hill” and George Russell’s “Nita,” among them) and originals (“Back in the Cage,” “Earth”).
Rounding out the year is A World of Piano! from Phineas Newborn, Jr. Originally from Memphis, the pianist began his career in R&B, playing as a sideman for the likes of B.B. King and Jackie Brenston and recording at the legendary Sun Studios. Shifting to jazz, Newborn relocated to New York and then to Los Angeles, where he was well into his career as a leader when he released his 1962 debut with Contemporary. A worthy showcase for Newborn’s uncanny talents, A World of Piano! pairs the pianist alongside bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones, as well as bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes. Together, the trios soar through standards (Sonny Rollins’ “Oleo,” Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life,” Dizzy Gillespie’s “Manteca”), plus selections by the likes of Horace Silver, Charlie Parker and Clifford Brown. Long out of print for decades, the album arrives on December 15.
Additionally, the previously announced Shelly Manne classic My Fair Lady will be available on September 15. The 1956 album, which marked the first jazz interpretation of a musical, was a major hit for Contemporary and paved the way for hundreds of jazz sessions dedicated to Broadway shows. Joined by bassist Leroy Vinnegar and pianist André Previn, the drummer leads the trio through such enduring favorites as “On the Street Where You Live,” “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly.”
All albums are available for pre-order today HERE. Hi-res digital (192/24) for each title will also be made available on the same dates as each LP release. Scroll down for vinyl tracklists.
For up-to-date release information and news for Contemporary Records stay tuned to @craftrecordings and craftrecordings.com/contemporaryrecords.
May 19: André Previn & His Pals Shelly Manne & Red Mitchell – West Side Story
1. Something’s Coming
2. Jet Song
4. I Feel Pretty
1. Gee, Officer Krupke!
June 16: The Leroy Vinnegar Sextet – Leroy Walks!
1. Walk On
2. Would You Like To Take A Walk
3. On The Sunny Side Of The Street
2. Walkin’ My Baby Back Home
3. I’ll Walk Alone
4. Walking By The River
July 14: Ornette Coleman – Something Else!!!
2. The Blessing
1. The Disguise
2. Angel Voice
4. When Will The Blues Leave?
5. The Sphinx
August 18: Ornette Coleman – Tomorrow Is The Question!
1. Tomorrow Is The Question!
2. Tears Inside
3. Mind And Time
September 15: Shelly Manne & His Friends – My Fair Lady
1. Get Me To The Church On Time
2. On The Street Where You Live
3. I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face
4. Wouldn’t It Be Loverly
1. Ascot Gavotte
2. Show Me
3. With A Little Bit Of Luck
4. I Could Have Danced All Night
October 13: Curtis Counce – You Get More Bounce With Curtis Counce!
2. How Deep Is The Ocean
3. Too Close For Comfort
4. Mean To Me
1. Stranger In Paradise
3. Big Foot
November 10: Art Farmer – Portrait of Art Farmer
1. Back In The Cage
3. The Very Thought Of You
4. And Now…
2. By Myself
3. Too Late Now
December 15: Phineas Newborn, Jr. – A World of Piano!
3. Lush Life
2. Juicy Lucy
3. For Carl
About Acoustic Sounds
Headquartered in Salina, Kan., Acoustic Sounds, Inc. is the world leader in audiophile music. Owned by CEO Chad Kassem, who founded the company in 1986, Acoustic Sounds provides the largest selection of highest-quality music in a variety of formats — from vinyl LPs and Super Audio CDs to Blu-ray and reel-to-reel analog tape — all designed to exceed the expectations of audiophiles. The company owns its own record pressing plant, Quality Record Pressings, and its own vinyl reissue label (Analogue Productions), an original production label (APO Records), its own recording studio (Blue Heaven Studios), and its own LP mastering business (The Mastering Lab at Blue Heaven Studios). For more information on Acoustic Sounds, please visit www.acousticsounds.com, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
About Contemporary Records
Founded in 1951 by Lester Koenig (December 3, 1917 – November 21, 1977), Contemporary Records is a uniquely Hollywood story. An intellectual who loved the arts, Koenig (pronounced kay-nig) thrived in the film industry as a screenwriter, co-producer, and assistant to William Wyler, playing an important role on landmark films such as The Best Years of Our Lives, Detective Story and Roman Holiday. Koenig’s life in movies was effectively ended by the Red Scare in 1953, when he was called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He was flayed by the conservative Hollywood establishment for having left-wing sympathies, and blacklisted he turned his attention to Good Time Jazz, a label he’d launched in 1949, to record a Dixieland combo featuring players who all had day jobs with Disney. He initially created Contemporary as an outlet for new contemporary classical works, but his ears were wide open and by the mid-1950s many of Southern California’s most exciting jazz artists were eager to document their music in what was rapidly becoming one of the best studios on the West Coast under the auspices of Roy DuNann, the sound engineer Koenig lured away from Capitol Records in 1956. The artists responded to Koenig’s steadfast faith in their creativity, and Contemporary became the essential vehicle for L.A. modernists and East Coast players looking for respite from the New York hustle. Seven decades later, the label’s legacy looks more imposing than ever, as the albums that Lester Koenig and his son John recorded continue to inspire and influence leading players on the contemporary scene.
About Craft Recordings
Craft Recordings is home to one of the largest and most essential collections of master recordings and compositions in the world. Its storied repertoire includes landmark releases from icons such as Joan Baez, John Coltrane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Celia Cruz, Miles Davis, Isaac Hayes, John Lee Hooker, Little Richard, R.E.M., Joan Sebastian, and Traveling Wilburys. Plus, the catalog recordings of celebrated contemporary acts including A Day to Remember, Evanescence, Alison Krauss, Nine Inch Nails, Taking Back Sunday and Violent Femmes, to name just a few. Renowned imprints with catalogs issued under the Craft banner include Fania, Fantasy, Fearless, Musart, Nitro, Panart, Prestige, Riverside, Rounder, Specialty, Stax, Vanguard, Varèse Sarabande, Vee-Jay and Victory, among many others. Craft creates thoughtfully curated packages, with a meticulous devotion to quality and a commitment to preservation—ensuring that these recordings endure for new generations to discover. Craft is also home to the Billie Holiday and Tammy Wynette estates which preserve and protect their respective names, likeness and music through day-to-day legacy management of these cultural trailblazers.
Craft Recordings is the catalog label team for Concord. For more info, visit CraftRecordings.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
For media inquiries, please contact:
DL Media · 610-420-8470
Don Lucoff · email@example.com
Jon Solomon · firstname.lastname@example.org
For the Preferred Artist
Information and press materials (including album covers, promotional photos
and bios) on all DL Media artists can be found at our website: dlmediamusic.com