Craft Recordings Launches “Small Batch” Series With One-Step AAA John Coltrane Lush Life

Los Angeles, CA ( January 14,2021)—Craft Recordings today announced its first lavishly packaged and produced “Small Batch” series release: John Coltrane’s Lush Life, an original 1961 Prestige monophonic release recorded by Rudy Van Gelder in his Hackensack, NJ living room studio. The record consists of unissued tracks recorded in three sessions, two in 1957 and one in 1958.

While the release of previously unused material was occasioned by Coltrane’s increasing visibility and success recording for other labels, the record is without question a significant milepost in the Coltrane catalog (five stars from Downbeat), especially the title track—an extended version of Billy Strayhorn’s magnificent ballad, which Coltrane later recorded with vocals by Johnny Hartman. Coltrane is backed on the track recorded in 1958 by Red Garland, Donald Byrd, Paul Chambers and Louis Hayes.

The earlier sessions featuring just Earl May on bass and Art Taylor on drums (Al Heath guests on the closer, “I Hear a Symphony”) provide Coltrane room to fill out and expand his musical balladry on “Like Someone in Love”, and the original “Trane’s Slo Blues” (a re-working of “Slowtrane”).

The production will make even the most cynical take note: Bernie Grundman cut all-analog lacquers using the original master tapes, the lacquers were plated and pressed at RTI using the “one-step” method (one plating, with the resulting “father” used as the stamper). The 180 gram records, limited to 1000 copies, were pressed on Neotech’s semi-transparent VR900 compound.

Each pressing will be individual numbered and packaged in a foil-stamped, linen-wrapped slipcase featuring an acrylic inset of the original artwork. Access to the record, packaged in a “tip-on” jacket is via a unique frictionless ribbon pull tab. Also included are new liner notes for each title written by music educators, historians and journalists.

Said Bernie Grundman about mastering these records: . “When it comes to jazz, all you want to do is present the music in a good way. No gimmicks. No extra compression. Just the pure instruments,” explains Grundman. “We’re taking these old tapes and playing them off of equipment that’s similar to what they were recorded on. We want to preserve the sound as much as we can. My goal is to do all of this by hand as it’s playing. It takes a lot of preparation. It takes choreographing.” In the end, Grundman says, “It’s all about trying to optimize the experience for the listener.”

Release date is February 19th but pre-orders for the $99.99, limited to 1000 copies, numbered edition are now being taken exclusively on the Craft Records website.

AnalogPlanet will post a full review next week. However, here’s a preview: when Donald Byrd enters on the title track, be prepared to lose your @#&%*.

Here’s the unboxing video:

COMMENTS
xtcfan80's picture

This one sounds like a winner!!!

isaacrivera's picture

Can't wait!

Spindle Spinner's picture

I need to know!

Spindle Spinner's picture
TommyTunes's picture
Progvinyl's picture

Good times for Jazz fans

Intermediate Listener's picture

So frustrating. Guess I will have to continue to enjoy my OJC.

volvic's picture

Went back and forth as to whether or not I should get it, I thought $99 is a little high, even though there are unreleased tracks, so abandoned the idea of an impulse purchase and decided to think about it. I hear from posts it's already sold out. Oh well.

AnalogJ's picture

The album, Lush Life, was released AFTER Coltrane left Prestige. It is comprised of tracks previously recorded, and therefore, unreleased at the time when the album came out.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

volvic's picture

Did I wrongly infer from the first paragraph? "The record consists of unissued tracks recorded in three sessions, two in 1957 and one in 1958."

It does say in the second paragraph that "the release of previously unused material was occasioned by Coltrane’s increasing visibility and success recording for other labels."

I took it to mean that the Craft release contained new material.

My bad. The older I get the foggier my brain has become.

Michael Fremer's picture
Material recorded in 1958 not released until 1961 after Coltrane had left Prestige
analogdw's picture

Damn! At least I was able to register for their mailing list so that I can get the next one!

hiwattnick's picture

“Lush Life” is the record that got me into jazz to begin with. I saw the email regarding it, immediately went to buy one, and saw it was sold out. Needless to say, I’m rather sad. Damn...

squeirolo's picture

Sold out???
Come on!!!!!

Intermediate Listener's picture

Craft should increase the quantity for the next one.

tower_of_power's picture

considering how fast this initial release sold out, I think we can expect high pressing numbers for all future releases.

Anton D's picture

Wow!

Gone.

The minus is missing out.

The plus is missing the first one frees my OCD gene to skip the whole thing and saves me money. As a consumer, I really hate artificial scarcity and 'racing' to get a product. I'm an avid buyer, but spare me, sometimes!

I am free of the chains of Craft Records new line.

volvic's picture

Yes, I wanted it but wasn’t willing to pull the trigger for $99. Part of me was glad 1000 buyers made the decision for me.

Rashers's picture

A few years ago Mofi released Abraxas by Santana - same deluxe one-step. Similar price. Same great review on this site. Same sold out within minutes effect. Subsequent releases increased the number of albums pressed and the price went up to $125. Of course, the Mofi release are 2 x 45rpm which means double the number of lacquers. As Craft own the masters to this album they could press as many copies as they want - and easily sell 5000. This is a case of constructed scarcity - to whet the appetite. Really annoying.

AnalogJ's picture

They might have wanted to test the waters, having never done this sort of thing before. Perhaps the followup releases will be done in higher numbers, as this one was clearly successful in terms of marketing.

richiep's picture

Agree about Craft Poor first effort for many. I had a pre-order for the Mofi Santana for over a year and a half even before we knew what was coming and so many accumulated once released their was a limited supply. All their recent 1's are available when released and I've had no problem getting them, I believe they even held my price @ $99.00 for the first couple, that's how you treat a customer!

Andy1974's picture

I think waiting 18 months for a pre-order is not great service. A lt of people have missed out on One Steps too. I had the Mingus One Step on pre-order for over 6 months only for it to be cancelled & unfulfilled. Also, outside of the US, MoFi &Music Direct are very expensive places to order from as they use Fedex who pile on multiple 'handling' charges on top of what are already very high rates.

I think Craft did this right, they tested the water and it it sold out quicker than expected. They will up the numbers next time. They didn't trail it for 6 months only to leave customers disappointed who couldn't make the purchase. I'm sure they will up numbers, & most importantly to me, they have made it available on the international store.

Also, it's not that different from the recent MoFi Dylan Supervinyl release that was ltd to 1000

richiep's picture

Sorry that your location effects the total process and price, same for me the other way. Remember Mofi developed this process and wanted to get it right! If they didn't make sure everything was tested to death and poor product was released what then? Others are still having some issues and Craft hasn't shipped one item yet and maybe why they only did 1000 was CTA for the cost! Only since they see the vinyl recovery have they been interested and pushed aside the real vinyl supporters and conducted some questionable business practices. All the best.

Andy1974's picture

Craft have been doing good AAA vinyl releases for a while at great prices and they haven't been selling as well as anything like this has. Admittedly not John Coltrane, but Joe Henderson Elements was available for ages & was a KG AAA cut ltd to 1000.

They have been working on this release for a minimum of 18 months. I don't think it's as bad, or questionable, as you think. Craft & MoFi are both trying to get great audiophile records out to the public, It's got to be good of we can can get more great , top quality, jazz titles out there.

This really doesn't feel like another company resorting to Music Matters practices to me. If they double the price in 6 months I'll change my mind and agree with you :)

richiep's picture

Once it was clear that there was money in vinyl did Craft get in and stunt the business that had been producing all along. Way out West? Some company spent a-lot of money producing an all analog mastering for the box set, once they realized the opportunity pulled the project and released it digital. I am a customer with no contacts and have had no trouble with Music Matters or the others when purchasing at release!

Andy1974's picture

I think you are referencing the Analogue Productions press, where they got the point of creating Test Pressings of Way out West but for some reason Craft pulled the plug, our host has a good article on this & the craft box set. I think that was bad practice & I hope they made it up to Chad. I'm hoping they're now getting it right though, with AAA releases like Lush Life.

I would be very happy if they got together and issued a decent AAA pressing of Way Out West. The ERC was too rich for my blood & I passed on the Craft box, in the vain hope that they would eventually led AP release the BG cut.

Andy1974's picture

Also, not quite sure what you mean by 'real vinyl supporters'.

richiep's picture

Who purchase for the enjoyment of the music. I have purchased the 1 steps from Acoustic Sounds, Mofi and could have had more than 1 copy of many, but knowing that others would want a copy I thought it only right to allow them to have a chance and secure one was how I thought of real vinyl supporters not greedy flippers, who have these listed on Ebay without a copy in hand for over $500.00 a copy with multiple units of stock!

Andy1974's picture

I don't think you can really blame Craft if some flippers have purchased copies to sell. hopefully they will be able to do more to combat that, but I know they have cancelled pre-orders of Lush Life if more than one order was made from the same person. Hopefully that means the flippers posting copies for sale on Ebay won't actually have any copies to sell. Also, when they realised how quickly the pre-orders where selling they restricted purchases to 1 per customer (it asserted off at 2). I really think your accusation of suspect practices is off the mark. craft are trying to make a good product for its customers & of course turn a profit.

My original argument was that I don't really see the difference between what Craft are doing & what MofI do, and maybe Craft will follow the Mofi model. I honestly don't like the trend of upping prices when stock runs low, but we haven't seen Craft do this yet (hopefully they won't). Obviously Music Matters started the trend, but now Acoustics Sounds (to a lesser extent) and MofI/Music Direct have been guilty of upping the prices of new stock consistently, this is very dubious and should be condemned. On the Toad Hall Mofi Minute this week, they made reference to selling over 50 copies of Jack Johnson at an inflated price, as if this was a good thing. These have been available for a long time at an inflated price. They are currently selling copies of Grateful Dead & Elvis Costello records at $200 each, Superfly is being sold at $150. These are not records that have sold out. This behaviour perpetuates the problem. Stop the flippers, restricting volume sales & sell records at RRP.

Andy1974's picture

After apparently selling out at the weekend at $60 a pop, Music Matters have now listing Jack Johnson as 'in stock' for the very reasonable price of $125. It seems like they just want to double the retail price every now and again.

Michael Fremer's picture
It's a "one-step" so after around 1000 copies the stamper is tired. They'd have to cut another lacquer to produce another 1000 etc...
Spindle Spinner's picture

Do the numbers match the sequence of pressing? If so, can I get #1?

jazz's picture

...this was a fake from the beginning of limited pressings to the disadvantage of the poor hunters of early numbers for anything else than collectors' neurosis

richiep's picture

Being released again, I have the AS Fantasy 45 how much better can this be? Can you help since I have purchased regularly from Craft, no notice of the release and sold out as I even watched for it, do we need to chase these because the flippers may have got us. After supporting the medium for years it feels like we're being shut out. Maybe 2000 is a minimum as was the SRX problem with MD. Poor market research by Craft this just turns customers off by their business practices!

Grant M's picture

It's funny how i guess people that already own a title feel they're the intended market to buy it again, but if you own the Analogue Productions titles, why not be happy with what you have? There are a lot of new vinyl buyers out there that missed all the reissues that have long since gone out of print and go for premium prices. It's also funny that people complain about $99 for a One-Step on SuperVinyl, when a basic 33 rpm Analogue Productions title that's out of stock sells for more than that on discogs now.

richiep's picture

Very Happy, but always interested in new technology, I don't have any issue with $99.00 for a well done 1 step all analog but Craft has not been clear on some of their releases that are digital. The Dylan SuperVinyl was still in normal production and they under estimated (like Craft) the market. Now all the new vinyl buyers out there that missed out can purchase Lush Life on Ebay for over $500.00 a copy! How does that move the needle forward?

Grant M's picture

Limited editions aren't good for real vinyl fans that want availability and sane prices. fortunately Craft is moving in the AAA direction with many recent reissues, and being transparent about who is mastering from which sources (unlike for years the OJC titles have no info, can only see that some have Rainbo pressing codes in deadwax).

Analogue+Fan's picture

This is the side of the road

AAA sold out!

Thank you

Spindle Spinner's picture

...how many they will sell. Cloth-bound boxes, leaflets, vinyl, test prints and mastering efforts must be very spendy and the last thing they'd want is to sit on a stock of unsold copies. The run of 1000 and the price seem reasonable.

isaacrivera's picture

The series is called "Small Batch" for a reason...

Zardoz's picture

that Craft is Sold Out, but that there will be some available at MD, Acoustic, and other sites?

isaacrivera's picture

"The Small Batch series is available exclusively on craftrecordings.com."

https://craftrecordings.com/pages/small-batch

garyalex's picture

As Michael often reminds us, these records won't be available forever. In this case forever meant about an hour. Still it's gratifying to see the continued high interest in new vinyl releases, even if the performance itself isn't new. Thanks to Craft for keeping vinyl alive and well.

volvic's picture

Go to eBay and check out what some sellers are asking to sell their copies. Madness!

gbougard's picture

the madness rages on

dial's picture

There are several CDs of his complete Prestige tracks (labekked 1958 that said) but none of these tracks are on.

ArcAudio's picture

I was late to the party on this one bummer

wkjeffers's picture

Surely if Chad and MFSL can press over 1000 in a one step then Craft can. Such a waste of all that great work when so many more fans want one. And many of the 1000 are bought by flippers and are on eBay for over $500 already.

richiep's picture

Agree, we hear Craft wants to test the waters, they want to be sure the profit is there! Allowing the Flippers to purchase more than one 1 copy eliminates many others to enjoy. If they charged an additional $25.00 ea. and produced another 2000 they would support the market and increase their profit, everyone would be happy with enough to go around and they would make much more profit as that's there business model. Were-as Chad is dedicated to the medium with excellent products while making a buck.

Glotz's picture

And I knew before even looking at the site I was SOL... lol.

But this was nowhere near as hard as finding a PS5 this December!

I'm sure there will be another pressing in a few years...

volvic's picture

Lucky you Glotz, no such luck for me in December, got booted out of the Walmart site three times!! Gave up, drove 90 minutes to the Jersey Shore to buy one of the last Nintendo Switches, at least the kid was happy. Had the chance to get this Coltrane early in the morning but have been committed to the Tone Poet Series and find that price more in keeping with what I am willing to spend. Besides building another LP-12 LOL!!! Like you said it will come out again in a few years.

Glotz's picture

Lol.. I would drive by at 4am in the morning outside of various Gamestop's only to see 30-50 people camped outside in the cold. (I am not THAT dedicated!) I am glad your son had a great Christmas nonetheless!

The key to getting one is using Twitter 'PS5 Restock' and Twitch's streams like Killercam1020. Both sites use a lot of corporate information online to find when actual drops and stock will be available from the majors online retailers.

Twitch streams like killercam1020's actually log into each major website constantly over until a drop hits on any of the major retailer websites. With tracking from the last drops for PS5 or Xbox listed on his stream, one can triangulate whose next and when generally they drop new stock.

Have an account registered and put something in the cart prior to the drop. Voila!

Glotz's picture

That is so awesome! I dig Linn!

I've built 2.5 VPI HW-19's but I am overdue for a Prime 21...

volvic's picture

Sold mine and all the spare bearings, should have kept it, it was and is a fantastic turntable, capable of competing with all the big boys and the VPI SDS is a great companion to that turntable. I wish VPI would bring it back. Yes, I love the LP-12, I have an SME 10 and Xerxes 20plus but the parts availability and flexibility in terms of power supplies, arm boards even substituting the springs for rubber elastomers makes for a very rewarding turntable. This one will be strictly for mono recordings with an SME M2-9r tonearm.

volvic's picture

Get it now so no longer need to go bonkers come December 2021. Still he is very happy with the switch. Thanks for the info.

Glotz's picture

How do you like it? Is it everything you thought it would be??

And yes, I really want an SDS (or and ADS).. the Music Hall CC 2.0 is underpowered for the application, but does work well nonetheless.

Lastly, I hear that Sony and their retailers will be making many more available before and in Spring 2021. The unit reminds me of the Calatrava's Burke Brise Soleil, here in Milwaukee..! If it only could unfurl like it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=eGQJPkQL0fU . The PS5 is also a very nice piece of gear for a game console. To see modern games in HDR is a revelation!

volvic's picture

The SME 10 is a great turntable, set it up and forget it. With the latest power supply, I can adjust the speed at the touch of a button and even has 78 rpm if I ever choose to play old shellac recordings. It is well built and not as colored as say the Linn is, with very well recorded music the detail and resolution is quite impressive. I can see why some say it sounds dead as it is very damped and has very silent backgrounds and isolates the record very well. It has a modest Audio Technica MC cartridge and could probably do better with a higher quality Ortofon. Surprisingly the Linn and Xerxes are not that far behind, just simply cymbals and piano sound more lifelike through the SME.

I heard there will be more PS5s coming out and that Sony will be meeting demand shortly. Will wait and see.

Anton D's picture

This is called "Establishing/setting the market price."

This version at 1,000 copies will sell on the secondary market for about five bills. That will create a market perception of apparent value.

Then, they crank the volume later, but the aura of value persists after the supply is increased.

Genius! I hadn't thought of it. Learned about it from a marketing person who is an audiophile.

audiotom's picture

Well - I missed out on this one

Damn

That is one of my favorite Coltrane records and I have a nice reissue and original

The Acoustic Sounds Verve series are the way to go - 33 1/3 besting the 45s and reasonably priced
Tripling up on recent A Love Supreme and Ballads was nice
Don’t miss out on these titles - The Nina Simone ones are great too

Talking about rare records
I own 3 Electric Recording Company lps
Price used to scare the flippers away from buying them

One is a three record sent of Ravel Orchestral Works and there were only 150 made
It will be worth a fortune, but I am keeping it

audiotom's picture

The ERC Ravel Box set is

150 +1

The esteemed Mr Fremer’s gratis copy

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