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Miles Davis Quintet: The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions

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Miles Davis

There are a few classic jazz recordings whose appeal to the jazz reissue industry knows no bounds. Kind of Blue is one. Bill Evans’ 1961 Village Vanguard material is another. And of course there are Miles Davis’ last five albums for Prestige. The fact that they have already been reissued in every type of package and playback format known to postmodern man has not kept the Concord Music Group, new owner of the Prestige catalog, from coming at them once again in this new four-disc set.

The story of these recordings has been retold many times in jazz literature. In the late summer of 1955, Davis recruited four mostly unknown musicians for his first working band (the “First Great Quintet”): John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones. They recorded six tracks in Rudy Van Gelder’s Hackensack studio on November 16, 1955, that became the Prestige LP The New Miles Davis Quintet. Then Davis was offered an attractive recording contract by Columbia. In order to sign it, he had to satisfy the terms of his Prestige contract by making four more albums. In two epic sessions, on May 11 and October 26, 1956, Davis’ band recorded 26 tracks, all first takes. They became the Prestige LPs Workin’, Steamin’, Cookin’ and Relaxin’. Probably no jazz artist has ever recorded so many masterpieces in such a condensed window of studio time.

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