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The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions [4 CD Box Set] Box set, Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, Original recording remastered, May 23, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A special newly remastered four disc box set featuring eight previously unreleased performances, five complete musical transcriptions, original artwork and a 40-page booklet with insightful liner notes by Bob Blumenthal. The famed quintet sessions featuring John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones on 4 CD's Includes BONUS disc consisting of 8 previously unreleased radio and television audio performances Five complete musical transcriptions of Miles' solos (suitable for printing) 24-bit remastering from the original analog master tapes Housed in a beautiful box featuring the original Miles Davis painting New York By Night on the front cover Includes a 40-page booklet with annotation by esteemed Jazz historian Bob Blumenthal. To be released just 3 days before what would have been Miles' 80th birthday. Quintet artists have Sound Scanned more than 15 million units to date

So which was the greater Miles Davis quintet, the legendary postbop band of the '60s featuring Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and Ron Carter or the proto-bebop unit of the '50s featuring the emerging John Coltrane? As properly celebrated as the former is, a strong argument can be made for the latter, which in pouring out five albums' worth of material for Prestige in three marathon sessions (to fulfill a contract) took the group aesthetic to dazzling heights--and has been endlessly imitated ever since. Driven by the rhythm section of Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Philly Jones, this band was a remarkable blend of whiplash power and airy emotion--not always perfect or polished, but with the sublimely contained Davis and fiercely uncontainable Coltrane playing off each other, always eventful. (The familiar songs include "Oleo," "If I Were a Bell," "Four" and "My Funny Valentine.") To entice those who already own Chronicles: The Complete Prestige Recordings (1951-1956) or the individual quintet albums (including "Cookin'" and "Relaxin'"), The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions offers a bonus disc featuring previously unrecorded radio and TV performances from 1955-58 of acceptable sound quality. Two tracks are from a 1955 installment of The Tonight Show with Steve Allen (whose hipster reputation is retroactively diminished by his painfully square remarks). An intriguing later track, pointing toward Kind of Blue, features Bill Evans at the piano. The enhanced portion of disc four includes transcriptions of five Davis solos. Though the package's cover painting by Davis won't make anyone forget Picasso, the 40-page booklet boasts characteristically incisive notes by Bob Blumenthal. --Lloyd Sachs

More Miles Davis


Chronicle: The Complete Prestige Recordings (1951-1956)

Prestige Profiles

Kind of Blue

The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions

The Complete Columbia Recordings
, Miles Davis & John Coltrane

Track Listings

Disc: 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
  7. In Your Own Sweet Way
  8. Diane
  9. Trane's Blues
  10. Something I Dreamed Last Night

Disc: 2

  1. It Could Happen To You
  2. Woody'n You
  3. Ahmad's Blues
  4. Surrey With The Fringe On Top
  5. It Never Entered My Mind
  6. When I Fall In Love
  7. The Theme
  8. S'Posin
  9. The Theme
  10. The Theme
  11. If I Were A Bell
  12. Well, You Needn't

Disc: 3

  1. 'Round Midnight
  2. Half Nelson
  3. You're My Everything
  4. I Could Write A Book
  5. Oleo
  6. Airegin
  7. Tune Up
  8. When Lights Are Low
  9. Blues By Five
  10. My Funny Valentine

Disc: 4

  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

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 23, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set, Original recording remastered
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Prestige
  • ASIN: B000F5GNXS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,219 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richard B. Luhrs on May 29, 2006
Format: 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.
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Format: 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!
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Format: 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.
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