Contemporary Records

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Contemporary Records was a jazz record label founded by Lester Koenig in 1951 in Los Angeles. Contemporary was known for seminal recordings embodying the West Coast sound, but also released recordings based in New York.[1]


Koenig maintained extremely high audio standards. He hired Roy DuNann from Capitol Records in 1956, who, out of the label's shipping room turned studio, turned out some of the best sounding records of the time. DuNann provided some details of his techniques in a Stereophile article nearly 50 years later. He said Koenig provided him with German (Neumann/Telefunken U-47) and Austrian (AKG C-12) condenser microphones and he immediately noted the very high output of these microphones, especially close-in on jazz musicians' dynamic playing. DuNann achieved his signature sound—crisp, clear and balanced without distortion or unpleasant "peak presence"—by keeping his microphone setups very simple (generally one per musician) and avoided the use of pre-amplifiers for them. He built a simple passive mixing system that directly fed the electronics of his Ampex 350 and 351 tape machines. Also, DuNann told Stereophile that Contemporary sessions were recorded "dry" (without electronic echo added or in a reverberant room). Sometimes, such as in the case of Sonny Rollins' Way Out West, a plate reverb unit was inserted between the tape machine and the LP disc cutting lathe. This is why some later LP and CD reissues of Contemporary albums sound "dry" and "dead" compared to the original LPs mastered by DuNann.

In the mid 1960s the company fell into relative limbo, but limited new recordings were made in the late 1970s including a series of albums by Art Pepper recorded at the Village Vanguard club in New York. After Les Koenig's death in 1977, the label was run for seven years by his son, John, who produced albums by George Cables, Joe Farrell, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Peter Erskine, Chico Freeman and others.

In 1984 Contemporary was purchased by Fantasy Records, who used the label name themselves for a short time. Most Contemporary titles were reissued by Fantasy. Also, some titles have found new life among today's audiophiles as high-quality LP remasters from Analogue Productions and other audiophile labels. The Fantasy catalog, including Contemporary and its associated labels, Good Time Jazz Records, Society For Forgotten Music and Contemporary Composers Series, was sold to Concord Records in 2004.

Over the years, a number of major figures in the music business worked for Contemporary. Among them were Atlantic Records executive Nesuhi Ertegun, writers Nat Hentoff and Leonard Feather, producer Joe Boyd, recording engineer and studio designer Howard Holzer and mastering engineer Bernie Grundman.


Contemporary 3500/7500 series[edit]

The 3500 (mono)/7500 (stereo) series of 12 inch LP records commenced in 1955 and ran until 1961.[2] Contemporary was the first jazz label to record albums in stereo from 1956.[3]

Catalog Artist Album
3501 Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars Sunday Jazz a la Lighthouse, Vol. 1
3502 Lionel Hampton He Swings the Most
3503 Lennie Niehaus The Octet #2
3504 Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars Vol. 6
3505 Hampton Hawes Trio Hampton Hawes Trio
3506 Lyle Murphy 12-Tone Compositions and Arrangements by Lyle Murphy
3507 Shelly Manne & His Men The West Coast Sound
3508 Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars Vol. 3
3509 Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars/Barney Kessel/Hampton Hawes Trio with Shelly Manne Lighthouse at Laguna
3510 Lennie Niehaus The Quintets & Strings
3511 Barney Kessel Easy Like
3512 Barney Kessel Kessel Plays Standards
3513 Barney Kessel To Swing or Not to Swing
3514 Duane Tatro Duane Tatro's Jazz for Moderns
3515 Hampton Hawes Trio This Is Hampton Hawes
3516 Shelly Manne & His Men Swinging Sounds
3517 Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars In the Solo Spotlight
3518 Lennie Niehaus The Quintets
3519 Shelly Manne & His Men More Swinging Sounds
3520 Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars Oboe/Flute
3521 Barney Kessel Music to Listen to Barney Kessel By
3522 Buddy Collette Man of Many Parts
3523 Hampton Hawes Trio Everybody Likes Hampton Hawes
3524 Lennie Niehaus The Sextet
3525 Shelly Manne Shelly Manne & His Friends
3526 Curtis Counce The Curtis Counce Group
3527 Shelly Manne & His Friends My Fair Lady
3528 Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars Music for Lighthousekeeping
3529 Jimmy Deuchar Pub Crawling with Jimmy Deuchar
3530 Sonny Rollins Way Out West
3531 Buddy Collette Nice Day with Buddy Collette
3532 Art Pepper Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section
3533 Shelly Manne & His Friends Li'l Abner
3534 Red Norvo Music to Listen to Red Norvo By
3535 Barney Kessel with Shelly Manne and Ray Brown The Poll Winners
3536 Shelly Manne & His Men Concerto for Clarinet & Combo
3537 André Previn & Russ Freeman Double Play!
3538 Red Mitchell Presenting Red Mitchell
3539 Curtis Counce You Get More Bounce with Curtis Counce!
3540 Lennie Niehaus Zounds!
3541 Victor Feldman Suite Sixteen
3542 Leroy Vinnegar Leroy Walks!
3543 André Previn & His Pals Pal Joey
3544 Bob Cooper Coop! The Music of Bob Cooper
3545 Hampton Hawes All Night Session! Vol. 1
3546 Hampton Hawes All Night Session! Vol. 2
3547 Hampton Hawes All Night Session! Vol. 3
3548 André Previn & His Pals Gigi
3549 Victor Feldman The Arrival of Victor Feldman
3550 Harold Land Harold in the Land of Jazz
3551 Ornette Coleman Something Else!!!!
3552 Benny Golson Benny Golson's New York Scene
3553 Hampton Hawes Four!
3554 Art Farmer Portrait of Art Farmer
3555 Benny Carter Jazz Giant
3556 Barney Kessel, Shelley Manne & Ray Brown The Poll Winners Ride Again!
3557 Shelly Manne & His Men The Gambit
3558 André Previn André Previn Plays Songs by Vernon Duke
3559 Shelly Manne & His Friends Bells Are Ringing
3560 Shelly Manne & His Men Shelly Manne & His Men Play Peter Gunn
3561 The Benny Carter Quartet Swingin' the '20s
3562 Cecil Taylor Looking Ahead!
3563 Barney Kessel Carmen
3564 Sonny Rollins Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders
3565 Barney Kessel Some Like It Hot
3566 Shelly Manne & His Men Son of Gunn!!
3567 André Previn André Previn Plays Songs by Jerome Kern
3568 Art Pepper Art Pepper + Eleven - Modern Jazz Classics
3569 Ornette Coleman Tomorrow Is the Question!
3570 André Previn Jazz Trio King Size!
3571 Helen Humes 'Tain't Nobody's Biz-Ness If I Do
3572 André Previn & His Pals West Side Story
3573 Art Pepper Gettin' Together
3574 The Curtis Counce Group Carl's Blues
3575 André Previn Like Previn!
3576 Barney Kessel, Shelly Manne & Ray Brown Poll Winners Three!
3577 Shelly Manne & His Men At the Black Hawk 1
3578 Shelly Manne & His Men At the Black Hawk 2
3579 Shelly Manne & His Men At the Black Hawk 3
3580 Shelly Manne & His Men At the Black Hawk 4
3581 The Poll Winners Exploring the Scene!
3582 Helen Humes Songs I Like to Sing!
3583 Teddy Edwards Teddy's Ready!
3584 Shelly Manne The Three and the Two
3585 Barney Kessel Workin' Out! with the Barney Kessel Quartet
3586 André Previn André Previn Plays Songs by Harold Arlen
3587 Shelly Manne & His Men The Proper Time
3588 Teddy Edwards and Howard McGhee Together Again!!!!
3589 Hampton Hawes For Real!
3590 Ruth Price Ruth Price with Shelly Manne & His Men at the Manne-Hole
3591 Bill Smith Folk Jazz
3592 Teddy Edwards Good Gravy!
3593/4 Shelly Manne & His Men Live! Shelly Manne & His Men at the Manne-Hole
3595 Gerry Wiggins Relax and Enjoy It!
3596 Howard McGhee Maggie's Back in Town!!
3597 Joe Gordon Lookin' Good!
3598 Helen Humes Swingin' with Humes
3599 Shelly Manne & His Men Shelly Manne & His Men Play Checkmate

Contemporary 3600/7600 series[edit]

The 3600 (mono)/7600 (stereo) series of 12 inch LP records commenced in 1962 and ran until around the early 1980s.[4] After 3624 all releases were stereo only.[1]

Catalog Artist Album
3600 Phineas Newborn Jr. A World of Piano!
3601 Helyne Stewart Love Moods
3602 Art Pepper Smack Up
3603 Barney Kessel Let's Cook!
3604 Joy Bryan Make the Man Love Me
3605 Jimmy Woods Awakening!!
3606 Teddy Edwards Heart & Soul
3607 Art Pepper Intensity
3608 Leroy Vinnegar Leroy Walks Again!!
3609 Shelly Manne My Son the Jazz Drummer!
3610 The Prince Lasha Quintet featuring Sonny Simmons The Cry!
3611 Phineas Newborn, Jr. The Great Jazz Piano of Phineas Newborn Jr.
3612 Jimmy Woods Conflict
3613 Barney Kessel Barney Kessel's Swingin' Party
3614 Hampton Hawes The Green Leaves of Summer
3615 Phineas Newborn, Jr. The Newborn Touch
3616 Hampton Hawes Here and Now
3617 Prince Lasha and Sonny Simmons Firebirds
3618 Barney Kessel Feeling Free
3619 Harold Land The Fox
3620 Elmo Hope Elmo Hope Trio
3621 Hampton Hawes The Seance
7622 Phineas Newborn, Jr. Please Send Me Someone to Love
3623 Sonny Simmons Rumasuma
3624 Shelly Manne Outside
7625/6 Sonny Simmons Burning Spirits
7627/8 Woody Shaw Blackstone Legacy
7629 Shelly Manne Alive in London
7630 Art Pepper The Way It Was!
7631 Hampton Hawes I'm All Smiles
7632 Woody Shaw Song of Songs
7633 Art Pepper Living Legend
7634 Phineas Newborn, Jr. Harlem Blues
7635 The Poll Winners Straight Ahead
7636 Art Farmer On the Road
7637 Hamton Hawes Hampton Hawes at the Piano
7638 Art Pepper The Trip
7639 Art Pepper No Limit
7640 Chico Freeman Beyond the Rain
7641 Ray Brown Something for Lester
7642 Art Pepper Thursday Night at the Village Vanguard
7643 Art Pepper Friday Night at the Village Vanguard
7644 Art Pepper Saturday Night at the Village Vanguard
7645 Miles Davis and The Lighthouse All-Stars At Last!
7646 Ben Webster Ben Webster at the Renaissance
7647 Terry Gibbs Dream Band
7648 Phineas Newborn, Jr. Back Home
7649 Chet Baker and The Lighthouse All-Stars Witch Doctor
7650 Art Pepper More for Les
7651 Sonny Rollins Contemporary Alternate Takes
7652 Terry Gibbs Dream Band The Sundown Sessions
7653 Hampton Hawes The Sermon
7654 Terry Gibbs Dream Band Flying Home
7655 Curtis Counce Sonority
7656 Terry Gibbs Dream Band Main Stem
7657 Terry Gibbs The Big Cat
7658 Terry Gibbs Dream Band One More Time

14000 series[edit]

The 14000 series began in 1980 with 12 inch LP records and in 1982 commenced releases on compact disc.[5] After 1992 all releases were CD only.[1]

Catalog Artist Album
14001 Cables, George Cables' Vision
14002 Farrell, Joe Sonic Text
14003 Garson, Mike Avant Garson
14004 Montoliu, Tete Lunch in L.A.
14005 Freeman, Chico Peaceful Heart, Gentle Spirit
14006 Henderson, Joe Relaxin' at Camarillo
14007 Hoggard, Jay Rain Forest
14008 Freeman, Chico Destiny's Dance
14009 Hutcherson, Bobby Solo / Quartet
14010 Erskine, Peter Peter Erskine
14011 Perkins, Bill Journey to the East
14012 Shank, Bud California Concert
14013 Morgan, Frank Easy Living
14014 Cables, George Phantom of the City
14015 Cables, George Circle
14016 Rowles, Jimmy Jimmy Rowles with the Red Mitchell Trio
14017 Cooper, Bob & Snooky Young In a Mellotone
14018 Manne, Shelly In Zurich
14019 Shank, Bud That Old Feeling
14020 Jazztet, The Back to the City
14021 Morgan, Frank Lament
14022 Gibbs, Terry The Latin Connection
14023 Connor, Chris Classic
14024 Higgins, Billy Bridgework
14025 Breakstone, Joshua Echoes
14026 Morgan, Frank Bebop Lives
14027 Shank, Bud Bud Shank Quartet at Jazz Alley
14028 Hughes, Luther Luther Hughes and Cahoots
14029 Farmer, Art Something to Live For: The Music of Billy Strayhorn
14030 Cables, George By George
14031 Shank, Bud Serious Swingers
14032 Rowles, Jimmy I'm Glad There Is You
14033 Kessel, Barney Spontaneous Combustion
14034 Jazztet, The Real Time
14035 Morgan, Frank & George Cables Double Image
14036 Gibbs, Terry & Buddy DeFranco Chicago Fire
14037 Harrell, Tom & Robert, George Sun Dance
14038 Connor, Chris New Again
14039 Morgan, Frank & McCoy Tyner Major Changes
14040 Breakstone, Joshua Evening Star
14041 Campbell, Kerry Phoenix Rising
14042 Farmer, Art Blame It On My Youth
14043 Harrell, Tom Stories
14044 Kessel, Barney Red Hot & Blue
14045 Morgan, Frank Yardbird Suite
14046 Kral, Jackie & Roy Full Circle
14047 Gibbs, Terry & Buddy DeFranco Holiday for Swing
14048 Shank, Bud Tomorrow's Rainbow
14049 Sloane, Carol Love You Madly
14050 Breakstone, Joshua Self-Portrait in Swing
14051 Rumsey, Howard Jazz Invention
14052 Morgan, Frank Reflections
14053 Campbell, John After Hours
14054 Harrell, Tom Sail Away
14055 Farmer, Art Ph.D.
14056 Gibbs, Terry & Buddy DeFranco Air Mail Special
14057 Farmer, Art & Frank Morgan Central Avenue Reunion
14058 Burrell, Kenny Guiding Spirit
14059 Harrell, Tom Form
14060 Sloane, Carol Real Thing, The
14061 Campbell, John Turning Point
14062 Breakstone, Joshua 9 By 3
14063 Harrell, Tom Visions
14064 Morgan, Frank & Bud Shank Quiet Fire
14065 Burrell, Kenny Sunup To Sundown
14066 Gibbs, Terry Memories of You
14067 Gibbs, Terry Kings Of Swing
14068 Vinnegar, Leroy Walking The Basses
14069 Romero, Celedonio & Romero, Celin Spanish Guitar Music
14070 Romero, Pepe ¡Flamenco Fenomeno!
14071 Humes, Helen 'Deed I Do
14072 Hawes, Hampton Something Special 6/10/76
14073 Freeman, Chico Focus
14074 Edwards, Teddy Back To Avalon
14075 Mustafa, Melton Boiling Point
14076 Orta, Michael Freedom Tower
14077 Rumsey, Howard Mexican Passport
14078 Myers, Terry Soul Mates
14079 Ross, Billy Woody
14080 Allison, Eric Mean Streets Beat
14081 Points, Dennis Images
14082 Jones, Jesse Soul Serenade
14083 Marcus, Billy Hamp
14084 Morgan, Lanny Pacific Standard
14085 Mustafa, Melton St. Louis Blues
14086 Pepper, Art San Francisco Samba
14087 Ranier, Tom In The Still Of The Night
14088 Allison, Eric After Hours

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Callahan, M. Contemporary Label Discography, Both Sides Now website, accessed May 7, 2015
  2. ^ Contemporary Records Catalog: 3500/7500 series, accessed May 6, 2015
  3. ^ Concord Music Group website, accessed May 7, 2015
  4. ^ Contemporary Records Catalog: 3600/7600 series, accessed May 7, 2015
  5. ^ Contemporary Records Catalog: 14000 series, accessed May 7, 2015

External links[edit]