Contemporary RecordsContemporary Records

Los Angeles, CA


Number represents reach distance in miles from city

Los Angeles 60 Irvine 40

Founded in 1951 by Lester Koenig (December 3, 1917 – November 21, 1977), Contemporary Records is a uniquely Hollywood story. An intellectual who loved the arts, Les Koenig (pronounced Kay-nig) fell in love with jazz as an adolescent in New York, where he grew up, the son of a judge. Record collecting led to a lifelong friendship with future music industry icon John Hammond, seven years his senior, who took the young Koenig along to recording sessions he, Hammond, was producing, sparking in Koenig the passion to own a jazz record company one day. In fact, Koenig might not have devoted himself to music as a career had he not, years later, been targeted by political persecution.

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Year established: 1951

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Genesis of Genius: The Contemporary Albums

Ornette Coleman
published: April 25, 2022

Everybody Likes Hampton Hawes

Hampton Hawes
published: September 02, 2004

Smack Up

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published: April 16, 2004

Smack Up

Art Pepper
published: March 19, 2004


Victor Feldman
published: February 25, 2004

Sail Away

Tom Harrell
published: February 02, 2004

Plays For Lovers

Barney Kessel
published: November 22, 2003

Burning Spirits

Sonny Simmons
published: August 25, 2003

Li'l Abner

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published: March 19, 2003

Art Pepper + Eleven: Modern Jazz Classics

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published: January 17, 2003

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