Miles Davis Quintet ‘The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions’ comes to vinyl

Vinyl edition celebrates 70th anniversary of Prestige Records

Craft Recordings is pleased to announce the release of the vinyl box set edition of The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions from The Miles Davis Quintet on November 8th. Celebrating the 70th anniversary of Prestige Records, the deluxe six LP set presents the quintet’s marathon sessions for the iconic jazz label, recorded between 1955–56, which resulted in classic albums such as Cookin’, Relaxin’, Workin’, and Steamin’. Plus, the box set offers a bonus LP with audio from radio and TV appearances by the group. Pressed on 180-gram vinyl at RTI, the discs are housed in a collectible 20-page hardcover linen-wrapped portfolio-style book, featuring stunning photographs of Davis and the band, plus in-depth liner notes from esteemed jazz historian Bob Blumenthal.

Miles Davis’ First Great Quintet was assembled in 1955 — a pivotal year for the trumpeter and bandleader. Following a triumphant set at the Newport Jazz Festival, Davis was at the top of his game, and enjoying newfound recognition by industry leaders, critics, and fans alike. With a lineup that featured pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Philly Joe Jones and a relatively unknown tenor saxophonist named John Coltrane (replacing Sonny Rollins), the unit became the dominant small jazz group of the late 50’s and helped define the hard-bop genre. In his liner notes, Bob Blumenthal writes “The Miles Davis Quintet heard here was Davis’ means of seizing the moment when his physical health and his musical concepts were on an upswing…This is the band Davis organized when he wanted his recordings to stand for more than snapshots of his momentary interests.”

Over the course of a year — from November 1955 to October 1956 — the quintet recorded three exceptionally productive sessions with famed engineer Rudy Van Gelder, simulating nightclub sets at Van Gelder’s Hackensack, New Jersey studio. The resulting 32 tracks — presented in chronological order in this collection—would make up five complete and significant albums: the quintet’s 1956 debut release, Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet, Cookin’ (1957), Relaxin’ (1958), Workin’ (1959), and Steamin’ (1961). The quintet’s recording of “’Round Midnight” would represent this ensemble’s lone contribution to the album Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants (1959). The majority of these tracks are pop and jazz standards, along with several original compositions from Davis. Highlights include a rendition of Thelonious Monk’s “’Round Midnight,” which Davis would adopt as a signature tune, a scorching drum solo from Jones on “Salt Peanuts,” Davis’ exquisite use of the Harmon mute on the intimate ballads “My Funny Valentine” and “It Never Entered My Mind,” Garland’s inspiring solo on “If I Were a Bell,” and a standout performance from the rhythm section on “Blues by Five.”

Blumenthal writes that during this era, “Davis understood the potential of the new, longer 12-inch album format, and used it to create definitive performances in a variety of moods.” Adding, “The key was contrast, which began with the juxtaposition of Davis’ concision, Coltrane’s complexity, and Garland’s sparkle; extended to the textural variety the rhythm section provided each soloist; and was capped by the distinctive range of the band’s repertoire.”

Because much of the Quintet’s material was performed outside of the studio — in nightclubs and concert halls — a bonus LP is included, which features eight TV and radio appearances, including live performances at Café Bohemia, the Blue Note in Philadelphia and on Tonight Starring Steve Allen, offering a broader view of the group’s exceptional work together.

The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions was originally released as a CD box set in 2006, garnering wide critical acclaim. Jazz Times wrote that “To sit down with the 32 [tracks], from “Stablemates” to “My Funny Valentine,” is to fall in love all over again with irreplaceable music whose magic is utterly manifest yet elusive of description.” All Music proclaimed, “Miles freaks…will have to have this,” while Pop Matters declared the collection to be “Perfect.” Upon its release, it peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart.

6 LP

LP 1:

1. Stablemates
2. How Am I to Know?
3. Just Squeeze Me
4. There Is No Greater Love
5. The Theme
6. S’posin

LP 2:

1. In Your Own Sweet Way
2. Diane
3. Trane’s Blues
4. Something I Dreamed Last Night
5. It Could Happen to You
6. Woody’n You

LP 3:

1. Ahmad’s Blues
2. Surrey with the Fringe on Top
3. It Never Entered My Mind
4. When I Fall in Love
5. Salt Peanuts
6. Four
7. The Theme (take 1)
8. The Theme (take 2)

LP 4:

1. If I Were a Bell
2. Well You Needn’t
3. ‘Round Midnight
4. Half Nelson
5. You’re My Everything
6. I Could Write a Book
7. Oleo

LP 5:

1. Airegin
2. Tune Up
3. When Lights Are Low
4. Blues by Five
5. My Funny Valentine

LP 6:

1. Steve Allen Intro
2. Max Is Making Wax aka Chance It
3. Steve Allen Intro 2
4. It Never Entered My Mind
5. Tune Up
6. Walkin’
7. Four
8. Bye Bye Blackbird
9. Walkin’
10. Two Bass Hit

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.