51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miles' "PreColumbian" Period Gets an Upgrade
Considering the size of Miles Davis' 1951-56 Prestige Records catalogue, it's surprising that only a single, all-encompassing fifteen-disc effort has been made to compile it - and that well over a decade ago. Wonderful remastered editions of many of the trumpeter's more important mid-fifties albums, including most of those featured on THE LEGENDARY PRESTIGE QUINTET...
Published on May 29, 2006 by Richard B. Luhrs
7 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Packaging issues - not the music!
I've read mixed reviews about Prestige box set releases and I have to say, the packaging for this set is HORRIBLE. The cover is nice - Miles Davis artwork, but the inside contains unnecessary CARDBOARD holders for the discs, unlike the clear plastic ones Columbia uses. One of the cardboard holders isn't even lined up right. It looks like an elementary school art project...
Published on September 12, 2007 by B. Hornback
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miles' "PreColumbian" Period Gets an Upgrade,
This review is from: Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Audio CD)Considering the size of Miles Davis' 1951-56 Prestige Records catalogue, it's surprising that only a single, all-encompassing fifteen-disc effort has been made to compile it - and that well over a decade ago. Wonderful remastered editions of many of the trumpeter's more important mid-fifties albums, including most of those featured on THE LEGENDARY PRESTIGE QUINTET SESSIONS, have since followed; but this is the first boxed edition to present all of and only the original Miles Davis Quintet's Prestige work. In the current "Let's release everything!" era, it's safe to call this a welcome addition to Miles' ever-growing discography.
With John Coltrane blowing tenor sax, Red Garland tickling the ivories, Paul Chambers handling the low end and Philly Joe Jones alternately keeping and reinventing time, Miles' first great quintet would have qualified as a major force in jazz on the strength of its personnel alone. The music this unit crafted, however, was of course some of the finest jazz of its era, and forged a link between the bop and cool schools which would influence practically everything that followed. Most of the compositions here may be covers; but if anything that only emphasizes the power and importance of this band's approach to a piece of music.
Amazingly, three discs - none much over an hour in length - are sufficient to tell the complete story of the Quintet's tenure at its first label, with most of the material recorded in a two-day marathon so that Miles and Company could move to the ostensibly greener pastures of Columbia Records. As a result, there are no outtakes or (except for Miles' set closer "The Theme") alternate versions here; what you get is basically a long live gig as performed in the studio, which is really all you could want from such a distinguished combo.
As for the box itself, the packaging is beautiful and quite protective of the discs, with a removable book providing all necessary details and some classic photos to complement these classic sounds as they issue from your speakers. The fourth disc, featuring television and club recordings from both the band's Prestige and Columbia eras, makes for a fine coda and connects this material to the later music represented in Columbia's ongoing series of Miles Davis boxed sets. A first-class job, in short, and one which Prestige would do well to follow up with similar packages chronicling Miles' early years on the label.
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prestige knocks one out of the park again!,
This review is from: Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Audio CD)Let me start by saying that I own a few Prestige sets already: Dexter, Sonny, Coltrane, etc. So when my birthday started coming up, I began researching the Miles set. I was hesitant about asking people to shell out $125 for the 8-disc "Chronicle" set, or to spend a bunch of time looking for a used copy that looked new. Imagine my surprise to find this 4-disc set for a fraction of the price! And I only wanted the "good" stuff anyway, right? Perfect!
First impressions after taking it from the Fed Ex guy: the fold-out design like Blue Note used on the Dexter and Herbie sets is waay easier to use one handed when you're changing discs. It's simple, functional, slim on the shelf, and is something you want to show off - thanks to the elegant cover painting by Miles. There is the usual overflowing booklet (40 pages) that I've come to expect from Prestige. It slips nicely inside a holder right in the middle, so it doesn't get all creased to hell when you go to thumb it out as in some previous Prestige sets.
Now for the music. I hate to be the one to say this, but even if you own "Chronicle", you're going to want/need to pick this set up as well. The reason is this: only the first 3 discs are the studio recordings. All tracks on disc 4 are previously UNISSUED!! Tracks 1-4 are from the Tonight Show w/ Steve Allen in '55, 5 & 6 are from the Blue Note in '56, 7-10 are from Cafe Bohemia in '58. So not only are they "live & rare", but you get to hear some development as well. The icing on the cake is that if you pop disc 4 into your pc, you can access Pete Estabrook's transcriptions of 5 Miles solos. I haven't had a chance to verify this yet, but Prestige claims these are suitable for printing.
So, to recap - excellent packaging, excellent sound, unexpected special features. If I could give more than 5 stars I would!
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Among the first of many giant steps made by Miles Davis!,
This review is from: Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Audio CD)With this 4CD boxed set, Prestige falls right in line with the outstanding series of Columbia-era Miles Davis boxed sets. In this case, the label's recordings by what many regard as Miles' first great small group gets freshly remastered and packaged. Yes, with the exception of the bonus tracks this material has been -- and still is -- available in a number of configurations. This just happens to be the best attempt yet to organize all of the quintet material (1955-1956) into a one-size-fits-all set. Furthermore, although the cover artwork could have gone either way -- classic or contemporary -- to good effect, I like the choice to use 1980s-era artwork by Miles himself, which sort of symbolizes the timelessness of the music.
Putting aside the details of the music itself for a moment, I've always been fascinated by the fact that the majority of the tracks included here were rush-recorded in two marathon sessions, solely aimed at fulfilling Davis' contract with Prestige after he had signed and already begun recording for Columbia (which is why most of the music here was recorded AFTER the earliest sessions on the Sony boxed set THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA RECORDINGS 1955-1961). For the 1956 dates, Miles basically decided to take his current working group into the studio and in effect play two concerts (sans audience), with one-take run-throughs of his live repetoire. As happened so often during Miles' career, his unconventional approach resulted in music with an electricity and level of inspiration that stays fresh no matter how many times one listens to it, or how much time has passed since the recording dates.
Although the result is that for the most part no new compositions are performed, that loss is not felt because the focus is less on the songs -- as great as the mix of tunes is here -- than on the personnel. At the time some questioned Miles' choice of sidemen (reedman John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones). Yet what is obvious from every track here is how well the parts quickly came together to produce a greater sum than what might have been predicted beforehand. The tunes generally fall into two categories: 1) pop standards (including some ballads associated with Frank Sinatra), and updated versions of classic bebop-era compositions. Lastly, the studio cuts comprise the first three discs, while the fourth CD presents several tv and radio airchecks that are officially released for the first time (more great music, but not quite-as-good sound quality as the brilliantly-recorded studio cuts). There's some interesting ECD material as well. Overall this set is a must for first-time buyers and a great way to upgrade for those who already own some or all of this material.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Collection of the Quintet's Prestige Recordings,
This review is from: Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Audio CD)This box set is a great value! The first three discs contain all of the tracks from the Quintet's 5 Prestige albums:
- Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet
- Cookin' with the Miles Davis Quintet
- Relaxin' with the Miles Davis Quintet
- Workin' with the Miles Davis Quintet
- Steamin' with the Miles Davis Quintet
(Note: Some of the track listings on Amazon are mislabeled, but all of the tracks from these 5 albums are here)
All of the tracks are presented in chronological order by recording date. These sessions are:
Nov 16, 1955
May 11, 1956
Oct 26, 1956
In addition a forth CD is included that has live performances from three different points in the Quintet's history as well as transcriptions of some of Davis' solos in pdf format.
If you don't already own all of the Quintet's Prestige albums, I highly recommend buying this box set!
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars on a high end system the sound IS a serious improvement !,
This review is from: Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Audio CD)the sound of Miles trumpet is significantly better here. less "digitalis" (overly bright highs) but not at the expense of rolled off highs. this is sonically better then the rvg 2006 remaster of relaxin'.
in fact it sounds more like the MOSAIC records vinyl pressings then any 16 bit release so far. it may even surpass them in some ways but I did not do an a/b comparison yet so I couldn't say. But some of what I heard hinted at it: it sounded as if the tapes were fresher here.
my search for truely enjoyable cd masterings of this incredible work is finished. Thanks Joe Tarantino for working a wonder!
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fifties jazz at it's best,
This review is from: Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Audio CD)It's been written the difference between Blue Note records and Prestige records were a couple of practice sessions before the formal recordings. Listening to this box set reveals this as being very true. Alfred Lion spent the money, Bob Weinstock recorded on the cheap. This is why you're treated to Trane stumbling through the changes on disc 1, stumbling so badly on a few selections that even Bob Blumenthal couldn't ignore it and mentioned it in his liner notes.
Fortunately as time progressed Coltrane grew immensely as did this band. Discs 2 and especially 3 reveal the quintet in full glory.....Miles in particular sounds tremendous; and kudos have to be give to bassist Paul Chambers and to Philly Joe. The sound is in glorious mono, and although sounding a bit better than earlier releases of this music, there's no enormous leap in fidelity with this boxed set. The fourth disc of bonus tracks are all fine and good but definately not a good enough reason to buy this box if you already own the individual albums that comprise this set.
I see another reviewer took issue with my view on fidelity of this box set. I did say there was an improvement in fidelity......but I still don't hear the massive difference he does. So I'll bow to his sound system on this.
So there you go, another Miles boxed set. If you've never heard this quintet, this is a MUST have. If you already own the individual Prestige albums......pass.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Music, Another $$$ Grab,
This review is from: Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Audio CD)The labels will be repackaging Miles long after I'm dead, and I'm relatively young. The extras tracks here aren't particularly special (the Steve Allen intros are actually painfully clumsy) the booklet is a yawner (nice photos, tho) and the sound quality is only marginally better than recent releases of this stuff (and not as bright as the vinyl.)
If you already own this in digital format, I see zero reason to make this purchase. But if you are a completist, or newly discovering Miles, it is recommended for the wonderful music. The tracks are packaged sequentially, rather than in original album order.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Collection! Miles Fans Must Have This!,
This review is from: Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Audio CD)Beautifully packaged. Flawless remaster. Classy photos. Fantastic music from Miles' legendary quintet,what more could you possibly want from a set like this? This is by far my most frequently played and favorite Miles Davis Box Set. I love this stuff. And that's ironic...
I started off getting very, very deep into Miles' electric stuff from 68 - 75. Then for the heck of it, I picked up the stuff he did in the early to mid 60's and loved it all. I've had Kind of Blue for almost 30 years and then picked up Round About Midnight and really enjoyed it. When I purchased this I sort of figured I needed to own it since I was learning so much about Miles and his music. I figured I'd listen to it once in a while, learn a little bit from it. WRONG. This stuff is great. My favorite track is the beautiful "It Never Entered My Mind".
It's funny but when I listen to this music and the music Miles did with Gil Evans, I can really understand why his loyal fans got so upset when he went electric. Now, that said, I love it all! But I can see why the original fans took exception. This music is just so beautiful, so expressive. Nobody plays the trumpet with as much personality as Miles, nobody.
It's all wonderful folks! If you like Miles, you must have this!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Could You Not Want This?,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Audio CD)The first problem I read with other people is the way the cds are packaged. I must say, that as a box set collector, owning coltranes heavyweight, most of the 8 metal spine box sets by miles and other various keith jarrett and bill evans box sets, that this is a nice set. I love the art work on front which is said to be done by miles and the box so far has held up perfectly fine. Amazon shipped it nice and tight with my complete miles and trane, both of which did not have a scratch on. I love the packaging in general, the feel of the box is pretty nice, different from most. As for the music, I think we all know how amazing these five musicians were. If you've never listened to the first great quintet, then this is definitely a great place to start because it contains the four albums cookin, workin, relaxin and steamin which were all pushed out back in 1956. If you're a fan of miles and trane or a box set collector such as myself, then you definitely must own this collection. In a digital age, it's always scary to think my computer could crash losing all my music, until i look up and see that i physically own most of it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Audio CD)-Miles Davis,
This review is from: Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Audio CD)I am not one that speaks eloquently. So my revew will be short.
Since my first miles cd was Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud. After the the first playthrough I was just stunned I had to have every Davis cd. I had a Christmas gift card for a retail chain book store I saw Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions picked it up and again I was stunned by Davis. I had this set on my phone, in the kitchen, den, car. I could not get enough of this music along with it's dynamic range. You can't go wrong with it. Just
don't play it to death like I dead.
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