Original Jazz Classics
(a division of Fantasy Jazz) has released the first of two new sets of samplers featuring the label’s mighty catalog of historic jazz recordings from the 1940’s through the 1970’s. Labels such as Riverside, Contemporary, Pablo, Debut, Fantasy, and Prestige are a part of the Original Jazz Classics family and each is featured on their own unique sampler collection.
The Contemporary Records Sampler
spans the years 1955 to 1961, the golden years for "West Coast"jazz. Contemporary Records was the brainchild of music enthusiast and film producer Lester Koenig, who had begun a sister label, Good Time Jazz, in 1949. Good Time Jazz was dedicated to the music of the Dixieland revival and featured artists such as Lu Watters Yerba Buena Jazz Band and The Firehouse Five. Koenig founded Contemporary Records to capitalize on the cool, bop-influenced music of artists like Shorty Rogers, Art Pepper, Shelley Manne, Chet Baker, and Jimmy Giuffre, who had established themselves in the Los Angeles music scene.
Those familiar with the Contemporary Records artist roster will find an expected representation of classic albums here, including "Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section", "You Get More Bounce With Curtis Counce", "The Poll Winners" (Barney Kessel, Shelly Manne, Ray Brown), "Benny Golson’s New York Scene", and Sonny Rollins’ classic "Way Out West." Other artists include Helen Humes, Phineas Newborn, Jr., Harold Land, Teddy Edwards, Andre Previn, Hampton Hawes, and Ornette Coleman’s major label debut.
The choice of music on the Contemporary Records Sampler is outstanding and the newly remastered sound is superb, making this a great starting place for anyone wanting to discover or further their knowledge of the legendary 1050’s "West Coast" sound.