Concord Bicycle Music has been an aggressive recent player in catalogue music. The indie giant has succeeded with a variety of jazz, soul and rock titles, controlling such labels as Fantasy, Stax and Wind-Up Records; elsewhere, they've brought the Traveling Wilburys discography back into print and signed a bold deal with R.E.M. to distribute their Warner Bros.-era masters, from 1988 to their final bow in 2011.
With all this activity, Concord's latest step was inevitable: they announced last week the founding of Craft Recordings, a label to handle their back catalogue affairs. This label will handle all reissues from the group, including works under the Fantasy, Rounder, Stax, Vanguard, Prestige, Riverside, Vee-Jay banners, among others.
Sig Sigworth, a power player in the business who counts EMI, Rhino and I.R.S. Records among his list of employers and brokered the deal that brought R.E.M. into the Concord family, will serve as president of the new label. "As our catalog has continued to grow, it became apparent that we needed an over-arching label brand," Sigworth said in a statement. "Our focus is on delivering first-class, creative releases and innovative marketing approaches for our artists. Craft Recordings was an obvious choice, as it reflects that commitment right in the label name."
Among the projects due this year from Craft are a 25th anniversary edition of R.E.M.'s acclaimed 1992 album Automatic for the People, a John Lee Hooker box set honoring his 100th anniversary, follow-ups to the 2016 psych-funk vinyl box set Jazz Dispensary: Cosmic Stash and more.
Craft's first release, available May 26, is a vinyl edition of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane's The Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings, released as a 2CD set in 2006. This 180-gram 3LP set, pressed at RTI from lacquers cut by George Horn at Berkeley's Fantasy Studios, is housed in a file-folder package with rare photos and liner notes from original session producer, the late Orrin Keepnews.
As always, keep it locked here for more information on Craft as it comes (in the meantime, you can follow them on Facebook or Twitter if you wish) and check out specs for the Monk-Trane vinyl set below!
Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane, The Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings (oriigially issued as Riverside Records RCD2-30027-2, 2006 - reissued Craft Recordings, 2017)
Amazon U.S. / Amazon Canada (TBD) / Amazon U.K. (TBD)
- Monk's Mood (False Start)
- Monk's Mood
- Crepuscule with Nellie (Take 1)
- Crepuscule with Nellie (Take 2)
- Crepuscule with Nellie (Breakdown)
- Blues for Tomorrow
- Crepuscule with Nellie (Edited, Retakes 4 & 5)
- Crepuscule with Nellie (Retake 6)
- Off Minor (Take 4)
- Off Minor (Take 5)
- Abide with Me (Take 1)
- Abide with Me (Take 2)
- Epistrophy (Short)
- Well, You Needn't (Opening)
- Well You Needn't
- Ruby, My Dear (Hawkins)
- Ruby, My Dear (Trane)
- Trinkle, Tinkle
Mark B. Hanson says
Is Craft Recordings planned as a vinyl-only label?