The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions [Box Set]

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Barnes & Noble - Ted Panken
It would be hard to find a working jazz musician under 60 who has not been influenced at one point or another by the 32 performances contained on the first three discs of The Miles Davis Quintet: The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions. Recorded a half century ago on three separate dates and issued programmatically as The New Miles Davis Quintet, Workin’, Steamin’, Relaxin’, and Cookin’, these tracks, quite simply, are lingua franca in the vocabulary of post-Charlie Parker jazz. Himself a master of tension-and-release in his waste-no-notes, tone-rich improvisations, Davis applied these strategies in molding the assertive, contrasting tonal personalities of tenor ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ted Panken
It would be hard to find a working jazz musician under 60 who has not been influenced at one point or another by the 32 performances contained on the first three discs of The Miles Davis Quintet: The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions. Recorded a half century ago on three separate dates and issued programmatically as The New Miles Davis Quintet, Workin’, Steamin’, Relaxin’, and Cookin’, these tracks, quite simply, are lingua franca in the vocabulary of post-Charlie Parker jazz. Himself a master of tension-and-release in his waste-no-notes, tone-rich improvisations, Davis applied these strategies in molding the assertive, contrasting tonal personalities of tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones into a cohesive, thrilling unit that was even greater than the sum of its considerable parts.

The opportunity to hear the process documented sequentially will induce even longtime fans of this music to spring for the four-CD set. The first six tracks, from November 16, 1955, are undervalued in the Davis canon. They include several masterpiece Davis solos ("Stablemates," "Just Squeeze Me," and "S’Posin’ "), a string of bursting-at-the-seams Coltrane declamations, Garland’s unfailingly a propos comping and swinging Bud Powell-meets Basie-meets-Ahmad Jamal solos, Chambers’ irresistibly propulsive bass lines, and Jones’s crisp, aggressive, top-of-the-beat rhythmic flow.

In order to fulfill his contractual obligations to Prestige before moving to Columbia Records, Davis scheduled marathon sessions on May 11 and October 26, 1956, to produce the next 26 tracks, all executed in one take. Here the quintet, now thoroughly road-tested, offers a virtual nightclub set of then-fresh modern jazz standards (“In Your Own Sweet Way,” “When Lights Are Low,” “Well, You Needn’t,” “Woody ‘n You,” “Half Nelson,” “Four,” “Oleo,” “Airegin," “Tune Up”) and medium-bouncing, melody-rich show tunes (“If I Were a Bell," “Surrey with the Fringe on Top," “I Could Write a Book”). There are haunting Davis ballad features (“My Funny Valentine," “It Never Entered My Mind," “You’re My Everything”) and Red Garland’s inclusive “Blues by Five.” Foreshadowing the shape of jazz to come, the music stands beyond criticism. That being said, the ensembles are occasionally ragged. Coltrane was still formulating his concept, and he solos less than coherently on several tracks. As might be expected, the October date is at once edgier and more consistent.

For value added, see Disc 4, which contains authorized releases of decent-sounding quintet location air checks from 1955, 1956, and 1958, and an enhanced portion with transcriptions of five Davis solos.Fronted by a Basquiat-esque Davis painting, the packaging is elegant. The remastering is superb, and Bob Blumenthal’s liner notes are characteristically authoritative and precise.

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
What you get on Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions is a rather unwieldy four-disc box set in a longbox; remember those? containing the complete recordings of the Miles Davis Quintet with Red Garland, Paul Chambers, John Coltrane, and Philly Joe Jones recorded for Prestige, and remastered and repackaged according to chronology rather than release dates from the albums Miles, Workin', Relaxin', Steamin', Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants, and Cookin'. The fourth disc contains radio and television appearances which have never been released before. The first four tracks are from the Tonight Show in 1955, with Steve Allen as he gives two different spoken intros that are fine to hear once, but a drag after that and one wonders what Miles must have thought of them, and result in two quintet performances, "Max Is Making Wax Chance It" by Oscar Pettiford and the standard "It Never Entered My Mind." The six cuts are from different live shows from radio broadcasts of live gigs at the Blue Note in Philadelphia in 1956 and the Café Bohemia in New York in 1958. There are two performances of "Walkin," one each of "Four," "Bye Bye Blackbird," and Dizzy Gillespie's "Two Bass Hit." In addition, the second portion of disc four is enhanced and contains Miles solo transcriptions that are suitable for printing, two of "Tune Up" the original version and the one from the Blue Note gig, and "Four" both the original studio version and one from Café Bohemia. There is also a transcription of the solo played during "Max Is Making Wax Chance It" from the Tonight Show. There is a longbox booklet with a solid essay by Bob Blumenthal and it's full of groovy black-and-white photos. Miles freaks -- and trumpet players, perhaps -- will have to have this, one supposes. But as real bonus material designed to get you to buy the original recordings over again, or unless you're an an audiophile, it's rather difficult to discern the upgraded quality of sound, and seems rather pointless. The high marks are for the music, not the box set itself.
Boston Globe - Steve Greenlee
The tracks Miles's quintet recorded for Prestige between November 1955 and October 1956 still reigns as some of the most perfect music ever laid down in a studio.... Heard in its entirety, the music in this box set is stunning, as much now as it was 50 years ago.
Los Angeles Daily News - Ryan Ritchie
The group is arguably the most heralded in jazz history, and this set shows why. The 32 songs here showcase bebop and hard bop at their finest with remastered classic tracks.

The tracks Miles's quintet recorded for Prestige between November 1955 and October 1956 still reigns as some of the most perfect music ever laid down in a studio.... Heard in its entirety, the music in this box set is stunning, as much now as it was 50 years ago.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/23/2006
  • Label: Prestige
  • UPC: 025218444422
  • Catalog Number: 4444

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Stablemates (5:24)
  2. 2 How Am I to Know? (4:41)
  3. 3 Just Squeeze Me (7:28)
  4. 4 There Is No Greater Love (5:21)
  5. 5 The Theme (5:52)
  6. 6 S'posin' (5:17)
  7. 7 In Your Own Sweet Way (5:47)
  8. 8 Diane (7:51)
  9. 9 Trane's Blues (8:37)
  10. 10 Something I Dreamed Last Night (6:15)
Disc 2
  1. 1 It Could Happen to You (6:40)
  2. 2 Woody'n You (5:04)
  3. 3 Ahmad's Blues (7:28)
  4. 4 Surrey with the Fringe on Top (9:07)
  5. 5 It Never Entered My Mind (5:27)
  6. 6 When I Fall in Love (4:27)
  7. 7 Salt Peanuts (6:10)
  8. 8 Four (7:17)
  9. 9 The Theme (2:02)
  10. 10 The Theme (1:06)
  11. 11 If I Were a Bell (8:20)
  12. 12 Well, You Needn't (6:20)
Disc 3
  1. 1 'Round Midnight (5:25)
  2. 2 Half Nelson (4:49)
  3. 3 You're My Everything (5:21)
  4. 4 I Could Write a Book (5:11)
  5. 5 Oleo (6:31)
  6. 6 Airegin (4:27)
  7. 7 Tune Up (5:41)
  8. 8 When Lights Are Low (7:35)
  9. 9 Blues by Five (10:26)
  10. 10 My Funny Valentine (6:01)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Steve Allen Intro (1:51)
  2. 2 Max Is Making Wax (Chance It) (3:05)
  3. 3 Steve Allen Intro 2 (2:01)
  4. 4 It Never Entered My Mind (2:58)
  5. 5 Tune Up (4:23)
  6. 6 Walkin' (5:22)
  7. 7 Four (4:54)
  8. 8 Bye Bye Blackbird (6:55)
  9. 9 Walkin' (6:35)
  10. 10 Two Bass Hit (3:17)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Miles Davis Quintet Primary Artist
Steve Allen Announcer
Miles Davis Trumpet, Indexed Contributor
Bill Evans Piano
Red Garland Piano
Philly Joe Jones Drums
John Coltrane Tenor Saxophone
Guy Wallace Announcer
Technical Credits
Dave Brubeck Composer
Miles Davis Composer, Cover Painting
Red Garland Composer
Dizzy Gillespie Composer
Ahmad Jamal Composer
Oscar Pettiford Composer
Sonny Rollins Composer
Richard Rodgers Composer
Dorothy Parker Composer
Andy Razaf Composer
Frank Loesser Composer
Greg Allen Art Direction
Bill Belmont Project Assembly
Kenny Clarke Composer
John Coltrane Composer
Duke Ellington Composer
Sammy Fain Composer
Rudy Van Gelder Engineer
Benny Golson Composer
Oscar Hammerstein II Composer
Lorenz Hart Composer
Ray Henderson Composer
Edward Heyman Composer
Isham Jones Composer
Herbert Magidson Composer
Thelonious Monk Composer
Marty Symes Composer
James Van Heusen Composer
Harry Warren Composer
Spencer Williams Composer
Jack Yellen Composer
Victor Young Composer
Jack King Composer
Joe Tarantino Mastering
Jamie Putnam Project Assembly
Abbey Anna Project Assembly
Joe Young Composer
Terri Hinte Project Assembly
Rikka Arnold Project Assembly
Mort Dixon Composer
Paul Denniker Composer
Lee Gaines Composer
Lew Pollack Composer
Chris Clough Project Assembly
Kelly McFadden Authoring
Erno Rapee Composer
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