Acoustic Sounds
Craft "Small Batch" Monk "Brilliant Corners"
By: Tracking Angle

September 6th, 2023



Monk's "Brilliant Corners" is Craft Recordings Next "Small Batch" Release

limited to 4000 copies, set for September 8th release

Los Angeles, CA (September 6, 2023) – Craft Recordings’ acclaimed Small Batch vinyl series returns with an audiophile pressing of Thelonious Monk’s Brilliant Corners. A landmark title in the pianist’s celebrated catalog, the 1957 album not only introduces several Monk originals, but also features an all-star line-up of talent, including Sonny Rollins, Max Roach, and Paul Chambers. Shipping September 8th and limited to just 4,000 copies worldwide, Brilliant Corners can be pre-ordered today exclusively at

As with previous "Small Batch" releases, Brilliant Corners features lacquers cut from the original tapes (AAA) by Bernie Grundman and pressed on 180-gram vinyl at RTI using Neotech’s VR900 compound. This one-step lacquer process (as opposed to the standard three-step process) allows for the utmost level of musical detail, clarity, and dynamics while reducing the amount of surface noise on the record. The limited nature of these pressings guarantees that each record is a true representation of the original lacquer and is as close as the listener can get to the original recording.

Each copy is individually numbered and encased in a foil-stamped, linen-wrapped slipcase featuring an acrylic inset of the original artwork. The vinyl disc ­– extractable through a unique, frictionless ribbon pull tab – is housed in a reproduction of the album’s original tip-on jacket from Riverside Records and protected by an archival-quality, anti-static, non-scratching inner sleeve. New liner notes from the GRAMMY® Award-winning music historian, journalist, and producer, Ashley Kahn complete the package.


  • 2023-09-06 04:06:42 PM

    Bret wrote:

    Will we be getting a review? I'd love to hear how this compares to the Analogue Productions 45 RPM reissue. I had read that the Relaxin and Cast Your Fate to the Winds reissues from Craft Small Batch were not as good as the AP 45 RPM reissues and am curious if this is worth the cost.

    • 2023-09-06 06:05:10 PM

      Come on wrote:

      Correct, the AP 45’s of Lush Live and Relaxin’ sound bigger, more palpable and organic, less analytical and richer with some other advantages of 45 RPM.

      The Craft One steps have tighter bass, more top end dynamics and energy, and sharper transients which can make horns sound more real but also thin out the sound a bit. But on a well balanced setup, both sound nice their way.

      I ordered the Monk (which I also have on AP45), as it’s such a fantastic recording (and music) and there’s always also an advantage to the Craft.

    • 2023-09-06 06:35:31 PM

      David wrote:

      I own all the Craft SBs and nearly all of Chad's reissues, 45RPM & 33RPM, along with, in this title, a Classic Records reissue & a VG++ 1st repress. The Craft Recordings Small Batch reissues are GREAT sounding plus the best reissue presentation, easy. If you like this title, better scoop it up!

      • 2023-09-07 02:32:20 AM

        Come on wrote:

        If we include the Craft non one steps, too, of which there are also 45 and 33 RPM AP releases which I also own in parallel to the Craft, just to place an alternative opinion, I would say overall and although “softer”, the 45 RPM are always first, the 33 AP second and the Craft third (although the Craft have their own merit).

  • 2023-09-07 06:01:55 AM

    Ronan O’Gorman wrote:

    I do not have the AP 45 RPM, and have ordered the Craft SB. The price is right and I enjoyed the Miles Davis and Vince Guaraldi. The Craft SB packaging is elegant and takes up the appropriate amount of shelf space. My hope is that the reviewer (Malachi/Michael) has a copy of the ERC Brilliant Corners and if so, comments on AP 45, ERC and Craft SB.

  • 2023-09-07 06:52:47 AM

    PeterPani wrote:

    I wonder - tape is very expensive. But, on the other hand, buying all these reissues in the hunt for a better sounding record. Maybe, buying the tapes is more fulfilling (at least as long, as no other resissues are made on tape :) I own the Tapeproject 15 ips Brilliant Corners and that's it for me.

    • 2023-09-08 01:08:18 PM

      Robert Charbonneau wrote:

      If your tape sounds great, it gives me hope that the masters are still in good condition. My vinyl is on it's way, looking forward for the listen, such a great album.

  • 2023-09-07 10:36:20 AM

    Michael Fremer wrote:

    I will be reviewing this one and comparing it to the Analogue Productions double 45 and to an original pressing I bought in 1964 and to the ERC. That's all I've got...

    • 2023-09-07 02:50:05 PM

      Anton wrote:

      The game is afoot! Really looking forward to the comparisons!

      • 2023-09-07 04:22:12 PM

        Come on wrote:

        Regarding the reissues I guess magic and air increases from Craft over AP to ERC, precision, transients and detail in the opposite direction.

        • 2023-09-08 12:35:53 AM

          Anton wrote:

          This will be fun to see!

          • 2023-09-08 06:59:55 AM

            Come on wrote:

            What I experienced in the past is, that for example an often cited “upgraded mastering chain” and the generally latest remastering not always makes a better sounding release than a previous one, at least not in all characteristics, sometimes not at all.

            • 2023-09-08 01:17:42 PM

              Robert Charbonneau wrote:

              I often wonder if masters are the best source available, for example a better condition copy even if not a direct copy might sound better, but making it from the master sells better.

  • 2023-09-08 04:15:43 PM

    Alan wrote:

    Query. Does anyone know if this reissue is cut in mono or stereo?

    • 2023-09-09 01:03:11 AM

      bwb wrote:

      if recorded in 1956 is it really stereo or just the hard left-right like early Blue Note "stereo" ?

      • 2023-09-09 02:31:44 PM

        Alan wrote:

        With all due respect, the artistic choices that a mastering engineer makes concerning channel mix are only relevant in stereo and have nothing to do with the fundamental differences between a mono and stereo recording. The grooves of a record are the analog representation of the original sound waves. In a mono recording, the grooves are etched only in the lateral plane. Conversely, in a stereo record, the grooves are cut both laterally and vertically. This particular Monk recording was originally released by Riverside in 1957 and was recorded in mono at Reeves Sound Studios. The original master tape was monophonic. In 1958 Riverside released a stereo pressing. Obviously, a new recording session did not take place. Riverside took the original mono tape and had it remastered in stereo. Why does this matter? Because the two recordings do not sound the same. These differences are far more apparent when the listener has, as I do, a dedicated mono cartridge. Craft Recordings could choose to cut this reissue either in mono or stereo. The marketing material does not give us that information. That is why I reached out to the Tracking Angle community.

        • 2023-09-09 05:11:45 PM

          bwb wrote:

          What's with the "With all due respect," ?? I'm not calling you out. I'm just asking if there is a stereo tape (highly unlikely) or perhaps a 2 channel tape like RVG was doing at Blue Note early on, which are the source of those hard left-right pressings I mentioned. RVG himself states these were never intended to be released as stereo. If the only original tape is mono then there is no way to get a true stereo "mix". A mono recording remastered in stereo as you stated just makes no sense. You can get "Electronically enhanced to simulate stereo" but that's not really stereo. Or you can digitize it and do a lot of sophisticated digital processing to separate things out and put them back together like they've been doing with some of the Beatles stuff lately, but that is surely not the case here if it is a stereo version. In any case, no matter how they created a stereo version, with all due respect, of course it will sound different. BTW I also have a mono cartridge and I understand how that works too. I would not consider buying this until they tell us the provenance of the recording.

  • 2023-09-09 09:23:31 AM

    bwb wrote:

    The link above isn't to Craft?? , it is which appears to be a service for artists to promote their music

  • 2023-09-13 06:23:24 PM

    Alan wrote:

    For those readers who care, I have learned this reissue is a mono pressing.

  • 2023-10-08 01:24:17 AM

    Rob wrote:

    Having both the AP 45 edition and now the Craft Small Batch one, I can say that they're both top-notch on my high-end system. That being said, having done a bit of initial comparison, I have a bit of a preference for the AP 45s- perhaps part of that being due to what the 45 format brings out- the AP has a bit more sense of space, a bit better dynamics, and a bit more fine detail- but the differences are modest to my ears. The Craft does seem a smidge 'tonally denser and richer,' and slighter more forward in its presentation (the latter aspect of which some will prefer, though not as much me). Out of a possible 10 for LP sound for reissues- or just in general- I'd give the AP a 9.5-, and the Craft a 9+ - fairly close to each other IMO, and someone else with different tastes might flip those preferences. Both have fairly quiet vinyl. So I'll keep the Craft one as a backup; and anyone with the Craft or considering it should only seek out a very expensive AP 45 copy if they're fanatical about such things (or this title) or have deep enough pockets that the modest differences are worth it to them.

    • 2023-10-08 01:42:05 AM

      Rob wrote:

      Actually more like a straight 9.5 vs a straight 9 on those (obviously subjective) ratings I gave above, but still not a difference/ranking that I think everyone would hold for the two editions- it may be more a case of individual preference.