Craft Recordings has announced a new series of specially curated and high-quality vinyl reissues: the Small Batch collection. It kicks off with a new pressing of John Coltrane’s Lush Life, due February 19. Each limited edition release in the Craft Recordings Small Batch series is a deluxe affair, combining audiophile-approved mastering techniques, a special vinyl lacquering process, and stunning design – adding up to what the label promises is the highest quality listening experience.
The albums in the series will undergo all-analog remastering, the results of which will be pressed onto special 180-gram vinyl in a one-step lacquering process (similar in concept to that of Mobile Fidelity). By taking out two steps of the usual lacquering process, Craft promises higher “detail, clarity, and dynamics” in each title and reduced surface noise. The Small Batch albums will be available exclusively though the Craft Recordings online storefront and will feature a numbered, foil-stamped, linen-wrapped slipcase with an acrylic inset of the album artwork. The record within can be removed simply with “a unique frictionless ribbon pull tab” and is housed in a tip-on sleeve showcasing a restored reproduction of the artwork. The disc itself is protected inside an anti-static, anti-scratching sleeve. Meanwhile, Craft Recordings has called on music historians and journalists to pen new liner notes.
John Coltrane’s legendary Lush Life will be the first in the Small Batch series, due for release on February 19, in time for its 60th anniversary. Originally tracked by Rudy Van Gelder in his Hackensack, NJ studios, the album now receives a new remastered from original analog tapes by Bernie Grundman. The renowned mastering engineer has gone all-analog for this issue, with a custom tube preamp, analog mixing console, and a Scully solid-state lathe. Grundman’s approach has been decidedly pure: “When it comes to jazz, all you want to do is present the music in a good way,” he says in a press release. “No gimmicks. No extra compression. Just the pure instruments,” His process utilizes vintage equipment to present the tapes properly. “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. It’s all about trying to optimize the experience for the listener.” Grundman’s lacquers are pressed and plated at RTI using that one-step process in which a convert disc is made from the lacquers to create a stamper. It’s then pressed on 180-gram vinyl that boasts Neotech’s VR900 compound. Accompanying the disc is a new essay by John Coltrane historian, Ashley Kahn.
In all, Craft Recordings’ Small Batch series seeks to create the ultimate presentation of some of the great gems in the label’s vast catalogue. Coltrane’s Lush Life, featuring ballads, standards and originals recorded from 1957 and 1958, is no doubt worthy of such presentation. The pressing is available to pre-order now and will be released in a strict limited edition of 1,000 copies on February 19.
John Coltrane, Lush Life (originally released as Prestige LP PRLP 7188, 1961 — reissued in “Small Batch” edition by Craft Recordings, 2021) (Craft Recordings Online Shop)
- Like Someone In Love
- I Love You
- Trane’s Slow Blues
- Lush Life
- I Hear A Rhapsody