With a brand-new decade just around the corner, and his finger on the pulse of the bustling, inventive New York City jazz scene, Bob Weinstock must have been reasonably confident that day in 1949 when he christened his record label "New Jazz." But he set his sights even higher when he renamed the label "Prestige" a year into its operations. That lofty moniker, of course, proved prescient when Prestige became home to the likes of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk and other musicians who redefined the art of jazz. Weinstock's controversial practice of refusing to pay artists for their rehearsal time just may have resulted in some of the most spontaneous and immediate improvised music ever.
Prestige was sold to Fantasy as the 1970s began, and today falls under the umbrella of the Concord Music Group. Hardly a year has gone by without a new reissue of a Prestige classic, and 2012 will be no exception. Audiophile specialist label Analogue Productions (the company behind the recent SACD releases for Nat "King" Cole and Pink Floyd, and an upcoming series for The Doors) has announced a two-tiered program that will eventually include a full 50 titles from the heyday of the legendary Prestige label.
The Prestige Mono Series comprises 25 of "the most collectible, rarest, most expensive titles ever," according to the label. The Prestige Stereo Series will be dedicated to "25 of the most audiophile-sounding Rudy Van Gelder recordings ever made," referring to the legendary New Jersey-based engineer behind the console for many of Prestige's recordings. All 50 titles in both series will be mastered from the original analog master tapes, and released on both vinyl (cut at 33 RPM and pressed at Quality Record Pressings) and hybrid SACD. Kevin Gray (a frequent colleague and collaborator of Steve Hoffman, with whom he teamed for the Nat "King" Cole series) will master each title. The mono series has confirmed releases coming your way from Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Hank Mobley, Thelonious Monk, Jackie McLean and more! (Rollins recently made headlines as a recipient of a 2011 Kennedy Center Honor!)
Analogue is promising a lavish packaging style for these reissues, with "deep groove pressings [for the vinyl releases], just like the originals where there is a deep groove that appears to be cut into the record label area of the disk, the result of the die that was used in the old presses in the '50s." That's not all. The new Prestige series will feature "original tip-on jacket facsimiles with the original thick cardboard stock. The monos are pressed with a flat-edge, no groove-guard flat profile, just like the originals. The SACDs will be packaged in mini-'old style' gatefold jackets. These jackets feature printed wraps mounted to chipboard shells, producing an authentic, 'old school' look and feel. Some people call these 'mini-LP' jackets." In summation, Analogue states, "the sound, the pressing quality, the look - everything will surpass the original Prestige LPs."
The first 1,000 LP copies of each title in both lines will be numbered. Analogue is offering a subscription series for diehard collectors interested in owning each title. LP series subscribers can reserve their same serial number for each title in the series, and series subscribers will enjoy free shipping and be charged for their records only as they ship. More information is available directly from the label at (800) 716-3553. Each title will, of course, be available individually through the usual channels. The standard MSRP is $30.00 for both vinyl and SACD.
The 25 mono titles have already been announced, with the stereo slate to follow soon. Hit the jump for a complete list of all 25 mono releases!
Each title may be pre-ordered from Acoustic Sounds, and will later appear at other retailers such as Amazon.com. As is common with Analogue's releases, an exact ship date is not yet available.
Various Artists, Prestige Records Mono Series (Analogue Productions, 2012 - Hybrid Stereo SACD and 33 RPM Vinyl)
- Phil Woods Quartet - Woodlore
- George Wallington Quintet - Jazz For The Carriage Trade
- Jackie McLean - Lights Out!
- Elmo Hope - Informal Jazz
- Sonny Rollins - Tenor Madness
- Jackie McLean - 4, 5, and 6
- Thelonious Monk Quintet - Thelonious Monk Quintets
- Hank Mobley - Mobley's Message
- Jackie McLean - Jackie's Pal
- The Prestige All Stars - All Night Long
- The Prestige All Stars - Tenor Conclave
- Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus
- Phil Woods and Donald Byrd - The Young Bloods
- Hank Mobley - Mobley's 2nd Message
- Miles Davis - Cookin' with the Miles Davis Quintet
- Sonny Rollins - Rollins Plays For Byrd
- John Coltrane - Coltrane
- Miles Davis - Bags Groove
- Art Taylor - Taylor's Wailers
- John Coltrane - With The Red Garland Trio
- Miles Davis Quintet - Relaxin' With The Miles Davis Quintet
- Tommy Flanagan - Overseas
- John Coltrane - Soultrane
- John Coltrane - Lush Life
- Miles Davis - Steamin' With The Miles Davis Quintet