Fans of early Miles Davis ought to clear off some space on the shelf and mark their calendars for December 6. Craft Recordings continues their celebration of Prestige Records’ 70th anniversary that day with a deluxe vinyl reissue of The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions.
Originally released on CD in 2006, the 6-LP set features every track from the classic albums Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet (1956), Cookin’ (1957), Relaxin’ (1958), Workin’ (1959), Steamin’ (1961), plus “‘Round Midnight” from Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants (1959), a bonus disc of music from the group’s radio and TV appearances. The pivotal albums included a stellar lineup of pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Philly Joe Jones, and tenor saxophonist John Coltrane.
With this stable lineup, Miles not only experienced new levels of fame, but he was also able to convince executives at Columbia to buy out his Prestige contract. The terms were that Miles would move to Columbia, but the new label would not be allowed to issue any recordings until after Davis had fulfilled the remaining sessions. And so, the group convened at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio – Miles sessions took place on November 16, 1955 while the latter four albums were recorded on May 11 and October 26, 1956 – to fulfill the terms. But these sessions, presented chronologically on the collection, don’t sound like some hastily cobbled, contractual obligation material. Instead, the interpretations of pop and jazz standards reach new and still-inspiring heights that came to define the hard bop genre.
Each disc in the luxurious new box set is pressed on 180-gram vinyl at RTI and housed in a linen-wrapped folio that features 20 pages full of archival photos and detailed liner notes from jazz historian Bob Blumenthal. You can see more of the box set in the video below and pre-order your copy, too! It’s due from Craft Recordings on December 6.