Concord Music Group released its 3-cd box set of complete prestige recordings by miles davis's classic 1950s quintet with bonus cd of rare live recordings on May 23.
"This is the great Miles Davis Quintet. In addition to Trane, each of the musicians—Philly Joe, Red Garland, and Paul Chambers—was the epitome of style and taste." — Sonny Rollins (saxophone contemporary of Miles who recorded with him in the ’50s)
"While everyone was checking out the latest clothes fashion or getting the newest television set, we were very busy imitating and trying to be “the Miles Davis Quintet.” — Ron Carter (bassist in Miles’s ’60s quintet)
"Most of the major innovations in jazz can be traced back to this group. Listening to this music puts everything in perspective." — Adam Holzman (keyboardist in Miles’s late-’80s bands)
Los Angeles, CA -- In 1955, after his triumphant appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival, Miles Davis (May 26, 1926–Sept. 28, 1991) came into his own as an innovator destined to take jazz into new frontiers. Shortly after Newport, the trumpeter formed his seminal 1950s quintet, comprised of youthful up-and-comers John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones. Over the course of three studio dates, the quintet changed history, recording five albums for Prestige Records that are still, a half-century later, heralded as masterworks.
On May 23, these bebop, hard-bop, and balladic recordings, largely from five albums—The New Miles Davis Quintet, Cookin’, Workin’, Relaxin’, and Steamin’—will be released together as the Prestige boxed set The Miles Davis Quintet: The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions by the Concord Music Group. The music, all of which was taped by Rudy Van Gelder at Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, NJ, has been remastered in 24-bit from the original analog masters and presented in the sequence recorded at sessions beginning in November 1955 and concluding in October 1956.
The box contains 32 selections, including such compositions as “Four,” “Trane’s Blues,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Tune Up,” and “When Lights Are Low” that are to this day essential tunes of the standard repertoire. A bonus CD features eight previously unissued radio and television audio performances. Included on Disc 4 are two tunes from The Tonight Show With Steve Allen: a fiery, hard-swinging romp through Oscar Pettiford’s “Max Is Making Wax” and a lyrical rendition of Rodgers and Hart’s ballad “It Never Entered My Mind,” both introduced by the television talk show host.
The set is packaged in an attractive box that features cover art by Davis (the painting “New York by Night”) and includes five complete musical transcriptions of Miles’s solos (suitable for framing) and a 40-page booklet with insightful annotations by Bob Blumenthal.
Blumenthal points out in the liners that 1955 was a tipping-point year for the trumpeter/bandleader, noting that “the Miles Davis Quintet heard here was Davis’s means of seizing the moment when his physical health and his musical concepts were on an upswing, and when the public and the music industry had finally begun to pay attention.” Blumenthal adds: “This is the band Davis organized when he wanted his recordings to stand for more than snapshots of his momentary interests.”
The Miles Davis Quintet: The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions celebrates not only the 80th anniversary year of Davis’s birth but also the 50th anniversary of the bulk of these recording sessions.
Prestige Records, founded in New York in 1949 and operated by Bob Weinstock, was a prominent independent jazz label of the 1950s and ’60s that documented the giants of the music, including Davis, Coltrane, and Garland as well as Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Coleman Hawkins, and Jackie McLean. It was acquired in May 1971 by Fantasy, Inc., which in turn was purchased by the Concord Music Group in November 2004.
The Miles Davis Quintet:
The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions
(Prestige PRCD4-4444-2) ~ $59.98 list