The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions

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The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions
The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions.jpg
Box set by Miles Davis
Released May 23, 2006
Recorded November 16, 1955
May 11, 1956
October 26, 1956
Genre Jazz
Label Concord Music Group
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]

The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions is a four compact disc box set of recordings by the Miles Davis Quintet released in 2006 by the Concord Music Group. It collates on three discs the entire set of recordings that made up the Prestige Records albums released from 1956 through 1961 — Miles, Cookin', Relaxin', Workin', and Steamin'. The track "'Round Midnight" was released on the album Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants. The fourth disc contains live material from a television broadcast and in jazz club settings. It peaked at #15 on the Billboard jazz album chart.


In the summer of 1955, Davis performed a noted set at the Newport Jazz Festival, and had been approached by Columbia Records executive George Avakian, offering a contract with the label if he could form a regular band.[2] Davis assembled his first regular quintet to meet a commitment at the Café Bohemia in July with Sonny Rollins on tenor saxophone, Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums.[3] By the autumn, Rollins had left, and at the recommendation of Jones, Davis replaced Rollins with John Coltrane.[4]

In January 1951, Prestige Records owner and producer Bob Weinstock signed Davis to a one-year contract;[5] Davis would continue to record for the label into 1956. Weinstock gave Davis an advance of $750, but the company's artists' contracts were often manipulative with low royalties, paying nothing for rehearsal time.[6] With his success at Newport and the formation of the Miles Davis Quintet, Davis convinced Avakian to buy out his contract with Prestige.[7]

The terms of the deal between Avakian and Weinstock allowed Davis to record for Columbia but not release any of the material until Davis fulfilled his remaining duty to Prestige.[8] Davis took the quintet into the studio for three marathon dates over a one-year period, meeting his contractual obligations efficiently.[9] Prestige released the first album Miles in 1956, with the remaining results of the sessions appearing on albums with homophonic titles released from 1956 up to 1961.


Recording sessions took place at the studio of Rudy Van Gelder in Hackensack, New Jersey, on one date in 1955 and two in 1956. Discs one, two, and three contain selections in the order they were taped, all five Prestige LPs assembled from this material. The songs were mostly pop standards, mixed with jazz standards that would have been commonly played by hard bop groups during the 1950s. Disc one, tracks one through six, were recorded on November 16, 1955; disc one, tracks seven through ten, and disc two, tracks one through ten, were recorded on May 11, 1956; and disc two, tracks eleven and twelve, and disc three were recorded on October 26, 1956.[10]

Disc four contains previously unreleased live performances. Tracks one through four are from Tonight Starring Steve Allen, taped on October 18, 1955.[11] Tracks five and six derive from a radio broadcast at the now-defunct Blue Note club in Philadelphia on December 8, 1956.[12] Tracks seven through ten derive from a show at the Café Bohemia in New York City on May 17, 1958, with Bill Evans in place of Garland. The show was broadcast on the Bandstand USA radio program.[13]

Track listing[edit]

Disc one[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Stablemates"   Benny Golson 4:51
2. "How Am I to Know?"   Dorothy Parker, Jack King 4:38
3. "Just Squeeze Me"   Duke Ellington, Lee Gaines 6:31
4. "There Is No Greater Love"   Isham Jones, Marty Symes 5:18
5. "The Theme"   Miles Davis 5:45
6. "S'posin'"   Paul Denniker, Andy Razaf 6:09
7. "In Your Own Sweet Way"   Dave Brubeck 5:42
8. "Diane"   Lew Pollack, Erno Rapee 7:49
9. "Trane's Blues"   John Coltrane 8:33
10. "Something I Dreamed Last Night"   Sammy Fain, Jack Yellen,
Herbert Magidson

Disc two[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "It Could Happen to You"   Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen 6:37
2. "Woody'n You"   Dizzy Gillespie 5:01
3. "Ahmad's Blues"   Ahmad Jamal 7:24
4. "Surrey with the Fringe on Top"   Rodgers and Hammerstein 5:27
5. "It Never Entered My Mind"   Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart 5:22
6. "When I Fall in Love"   Edward Heyman, Victor Young 4:21
7. "Salt Peanuts"   Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Clarke 6:07
8. "Four"   Miles Davis 4:23
9. "The Theme" (take 1) Miles Davis 2:01
10. "The Theme" (take 2) Miles Davis 1:05
11. "If I Were a Bell"   Frank Loesser 8:15
12. "Well You Needn't"   Thelonious Monk 6:18

Disc three[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "'Round Midnight"   Thelonious Monk 5:25
2. "Half Nelson"   Miles Davis 4:45
3. "You're My Everything"   Harry Warren, Mort Dixon, Joe Young 5:18
4. "I Could Write a Book"   Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart 5:11
5. "Oleo"   Sonny Rollins 6:22
6. "Airegin"   Sonny Rollins 4:24
7. "Tune Up"   Miles Davis 5:41
8. "When Lights Are Low"   Benny Carter, Spencer Williams 7:30
9. "Blues by Five"   Red Garland 10:23
10. "My Funny Valentine"   Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart 6:04

Disc four[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Steve Allen Intro"     1:52
2. "Max Is Making Wax" (Tonight Starring Steve Allen performance) Oscar Pettiford 3:01
3. "Steve Allen Intro 2"     2:06
4. "It Never Entered My Mind" (Tonight Starring Steve Allen performance) Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart 2:56
5. "Tune Up" (live at the Blue Note) Miles Davis 4:25
6. "Walkin'" (live at the Blue Note) Richard Carpenter 5:21
7. "Four" (live at the Café Bohemia) Miles Davis 4:52
8. "Bye Bye Blackbird" (live at the Café Bohemia) Ray Henderson, Mort Dixon 6:55
9. "Walkin'" (live at the Café Bohemia) Richard Carpenter 6:34
10. "Two Bass Hit" (live at the Café Bohemia) Dizzy Gillespie, John Lewis 3:17


Production personnel[edit]


  1. ^ The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions at AllMusic
  2. ^ Richard Cook. It's About That Time: Miles Davis On and Off Record. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN 978-0-19-532266-8, pp. 44-45.
  3. ^ Cook, p. 45.
  4. ^ Cook, p. 46.
  5. ^ Cook, p. 25.
  6. ^ Farah Jasmine Griffin and Salim Washington. Clawing at the Limits of Cool: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the Greatest Jazz Collaboration Ever. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2008. ISBN 978-0-312-32785-9, pp. 85-86, 160.
  7. ^ Griffin and Washington, p. 86.
  8. ^ Cook, p. 47.
  9. ^ Cook, p. 50.
  10. ^ Miles Davis retrieved 10 August 2011.
  11. ^ Miles Davis retrieved 10 August 2011.
  12. ^ Miles Davis retrieved 10 August 2011.
  13. ^ Miles Davis retrieved 10 August 2011.