Finally! The Contemporary Records Acoustic Sounds Series Reaches the Presses

The extensive, long planned and then delayed Contemporary Records-Acoustic Sounds series finally drops beginning May 13th with six key titles mastered AAA by Bernie Grundman, pressed at QRP on 180g vinyl and presented in Stoughton Old Style Tip On jackets. The series is a continuation of Craft Records' 70th Anniversary Contemporary Records Celebration.

The six titles are: Art Pepper+11, The Poll Winners, Four!, Benny Carter Jazz Giant, My Fair Lady (Shelly Manne & His Friends) and Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section.

Release dates are: May 13, 2022 Art Pepper+11, June 10 The Poll Winners, July 15 Four!, August 12, Jazz Giant, September 9 My Fair Lady, November 11, Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section.

This series was supposed to kick off in 2015 so I went to Bernie Grundman Mastering to watch him cut Sonny Rollins' Way Out West (which will eventually be issued in this series) and here's the video of that:

Intermediate Listener's picture

I know all of these in OJC or Japanese versions, except “Four!”. They are musically and sonically superb, as Chad Kassem might put it.

Rashers's picture

For these releases. I see that “Meets the Rhythm Section” is being released in mono for RSD this year - an album that is virtually impossible to obtain in that format. While the stereo versions of these records are great - they have been reissued many times - in OJC. Will there be more special mono reissues in this series?

Analog Scott's picture

It will be interesting to see how they try to claim the new 33s are better. Those 45 rpms were supposed to be definitive.

Michael Fremer's picture
You are assuming they will do that. I think these are being reissued so more people can own them. These are newly mastered by Bernie Grundman.
Analog Scott's picture

I am assuming they will do that.

arcman67's picture

if I had to guess

MrRom92's picture

I wonder if 45rpm versions and Ultra Tapes are also down the line
I’m much more interested in this pressing of Meets the Rhythm Section than the mono that’s coming out in a month for RSD. Unless there’s some significant difference I should know about that I dont…

jazz's picture

who cut a way out west reissue?

jazz's picture

that come into my mind are the ERC, Doug Sax and Hoffman/Gray. The 2 latter they mentioned, but non of the 3 has a „John“ doing the mastering as far as I know (including the original). They talk about it in the first minutes.

Anyway, great they do such comparisons and care for the competition. It will be interesting if Grundman chooses the EQ characteristic of his Classic Records, Craft, ORG, ORG Music or other works, which is all so different.

Michael Fremer's picture
Bernie Grundman cut. "John" is John Koenig, Contemporary Records founder Lester's son.
jazz's picture

then they meant the original pressing sounds so different from the master.

I ordered all except the top right two which for me are musically less good. Grundman together with Kevin Gray seems to have todays best mastering chain. Will be very interesting how they sound compared to the old 45 RPM AP. So good to have the choice between several really good reissues. We will some time remember this era in awe.

Russo7516's picture

The OJC in the 80's were done well.Used they are going for 25 bucks or better at Academy records in Brooklyn .
They made me listen to a First pressing of Art Pepper +11 and and OJC .I have to say the OJC was done well . How much better can it be . Did Chad's use original analog tapes or it is D/D/A source?
The prices are getting high for the mighty lp.
An old Art Pepper A/A/D Cd is fetching 5 bucks and I am seeing a change to the CD format on the used side ?
But like everyone else on here I will buy lol

Michael Fremer's picture
All cut from original analog tapes. Chad doesn't use digital sources
jazz's picture

but please further support him (and others) being transparent from the beginning, where master tape copies were used for “best available source reasons” or similar. He’d be the one to lead the transparency culture. Would be better than just knowing it years later when a new, better release is available.

With the Coltrane, Live at VV reissue I think you started possibly first time revealing this at release date.

Difficult to guess how it should read if really the first master tape was used. At least the following terms leave room for interpretation:

Original master
Original analog tape
Master tape

Unless someone writes “original first generation master tape” (which hardly anyone does), it’s difficult to guess what’s meant.

Tasingegade's picture

Great to hear these are getting the acoustic sounds reissue treatment. I personally find the Roy Dunann recordings to be significantly better than van gelder recordings, with fuller, more developed bass, better piano sound, and more natural top end... but i am sure that is just me and most would disagree. Cant wait to get these.

ColoKurt's picture

I'm glad to see this series come out. It's interesting that they're pricing them $9 below the Impulse Series and $5 below the Verve series. I wonder if that's due to the tip-on jackets?

rl1856's picture

Will this be a limited release, or generally available in unlimited quantities ? Did they use the original master tapes, or later generation copies ? Is the RSD Mono release of MTRS AAA ? Glad the price point is $29.99....I notice that new BN TP releases are now higher than previous titles.

swimming1's picture

The rockman said in THE POINT, "You see what you want to see,You hear what you want to hear." Cheers,Chet

swimming1's picture

Mikey just wondering ,have you listened to any of the new classic BN releases. Are some just a repackaging of the 75th Anniversary?Some came with a made in Germany sticker others no sticker? Also,I have found that the hard left/right mix of the stereo mix can be alleviated by listening in MONO. They sound way better at least realistic,not like 3/5 of the band playing on stage left or right.More like front row center orchestra. Cheers,Chet

Bsilviu's picture

Hi Michael,
Sonny Rollins will be released in this series? No where is announced ...

Rashers's picture

The RSD reissue of Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section is exceptional: I would have paid £300 for an ERC copy of the mono version - even repressings have become extremely rare and expensive and the mono really is the definitive version. Unfortunately the Analogue Productions / Craft reissue series seems to be the Stereo records rather than Contemporary records versions. For these early releases the monos are much better. Hopefully Way Out West or Contemporary Leaders (Rollins) will get a mono reissue - please not the extremely limited RSD release, though.