A very good friend of jazz, Lester Koenig was the founder and head of Contemporary Records. The company he started in 1951 was, along with Pacific Jazz, one of the top L.A.-based jazz labels active during the cool era. A large number of Contemporary's releases became classics, including numerous sets by Shorty Rogers, Shelly Manne, Art Pepper, Hampton Hawes, Chet Baker, the Lighthouse All-Stars, Benny Carter, Helen Humes, Phineas Newborn, and Sonny Rollins. Koenig kept an open mind towards newer developments, and in the late '50s released recordings by Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman (the latter's first two dates). In addition, his love for Dixieland resulted in the Good Time Jazz subsidiary, a label most notable for the recordings of the Firehouse Five Plus Two, Kid Ory, Lu Watters' Yerba Buena Jazz Band (earlier sessions which were acquired), Bob Scobey, and Turk Murphy, among others. Although both labels became less active in the '60s, Koenig helped keep the names of Art Pepper and Hampton Hawes alive during their prison sentences by gradually releasing "new" recordings stockpiled from the '50s. In the '70s, Koenig revived Contemporary, helped Art Pepper out during his comeback, and recorded some newer classics before his death. The Contemporary and Good Time Jazz labels live on thanks to the extensive reissue policies of Fantasy, which eventually acquired the companies, keeping Lester Koenig's legacy quite relevant. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi

Morning (Official Audio)
Over The Rainbow (Official Audio)
All The Things You Are (Official Audio)
Stardust (Official Audio)
Day By Day (Official Audio)
Flip (Official Audio)
Stablemates (Official Audio)
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