This was a forerunner of the Miles Davis Quintet as it was his first session with Red Garland and Philly Joe Jones. Up to then his Prestige dates had been of the "all star" variety. (Oscar Pettiford fills that bill here.) By the fall, John Coltrane and Paul Chambers would come aboard to help form the first of a continuum of great Davis working groups. On "A Night in Tunisia" Philly Joe used special sticks with little cymbals riveted to the shaft. Recorded June 7, 1955 at Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, NJ. With Red Garland, Oscar Pettiford, Philly Joe Jones.
Any 1950s Miles Davis recording could easily be called a “collector’s item,” but these selections have special claims to this description. The first four offer Charlie Parker in his only recordings in support of Miles, who had begun his disc career as Bird’s sideman. The last four feature a unique Davis/Mingus encounter. In between is Miles just before launching his first great Quintet, heading two groups loaded with top talent of the “post-bop” period. Recorded on January 30, 1953 (1-4) WOR Studios, New York City and March 16, 1956 (5-7) at Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, NJ.
Bag's Groove was recorded in 1954 for Prestige Records but was not released until 1957. Most of the album was recorded on June 29, 1954, but the title track was recorded at one session on December 24 of the same year. Several of the tracks on the album were written by Sonny Rollins and would go on to become jazz standards in their own right. Recorded June 29 & December 24, 1954 in Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ.
John Coltrane (1926-67) was the most relentlessly exploratory musician in jazz history. He was always searching, seeking to take his music further in what he quite consciously viewed as a spiritual quest. In terms of public recognition, this quest began relatively late. The tenor saxophonist, a native of North Carolina who later moved to Philadelphia, was 28 when he joined the Miles Davis quintet in 1955, after years of paying dues in the big band and combo of Dizzy Gillespie (where he played alto before switching to tenor) and as a supporting player behind saxophonists Johnny Hodges, Eddie "Cleanhead” Vinson, and Earl Bostic. Coltrane’s anguished tone and multi-noted, rhythmically complex solos with Davis quickly elevated him to the front ranks of jazz…
Recorded in one day (August 23, 1957) at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in Hackensack, NJ. This date of ballads and burners features the young tenor saxophonist John Coltrane leading a quartet comprised of pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Arthur Taylor. Liner notewriter (original and reissue) Ira Gitler remarks, “In the ‘50s I was called upon to name many of the untitled songs at Prestige. Traneing In came to me because of the way [Coltrane] homed in after Garland’s opening solo [on the song].” This album is significant in that it took place halfway through Coltrane’s break with Miles Davis’ classic quintet of the ‘50s and it was the same year that the tenor saxophonist hooked up with Thelonious Monk to record the recently discovered live Carnegie Hall masterpiece.
Soultrane is one of the essential albums in John Coltrane’s career. Recorded during the first year of his Prestige contract, between his critical service in Thelonious Monk’s quartet and his return to the band of Miles Davis, it finds the tenor saxophonist displaying a new level of both technical and conceptual refinement, dispensing torrents of notes that annotator Ira Gitler famously dubbed "sheets of sound." The Red Garland Trio, a key component on many Coltrane recordings of the period, is at its eloquent best; and the program, with two compositions from the early days of modern jazz, two lesser-known standards, and a recently penned requiem for the late Ernie Henry…
In the spring of 1957, John Coltrane had gone through two years of artistic growth so concentrated it was astonishing even in the jazz world, where compressed musical development is far from unknown. As the other horn in the Miles Davis Quintet, Coltrane had moved from virtual obscurity to acclaim as the tenor saxophone innovator of the decade. Although major stylistic departures were to come, Coltrane was at a peak of the probing lyricism and strength of his middle period. With the interestingly contrasted baritone saxophonists Cecil Payne and Pepper Adams, and a rhythm section of great smoothness and swing, Dakar is a gem in the Coltrane discography.
In addition to their positions of importance in the Miles Davis quintet of the mid-fifties, John Coltrane and Red Garland a series of studio dates for Prestige in 1957 and '58. Here, as in several of the others, Paul Chambers is the bassist and Arthur Taylor is the drummer, with Donald Byrd on trumpet making it a quintet. There are only three numbers, the title song "Black Pearls", an extremely swift version of "Lover Come Back To Me", and the fast "Sweet Sapphire Blues" which begins with Garland soloing from the gitgo in a long, upbeat exploration before Trane unfurls his "sheets of sound". Byrd gets into that rapid fire mode, in and among his evenly-cadenced lines and Chambers (plucked) and Taylor (brushes into sticks)…
With THE SOOTHSAYER, Wayne Shorter fronts a large ensemble for the first time in his solo endeavors. Like his previous sessions, Shorter's assorted guests are drawn from the most notable groups of the time. McCoy Tyner from Coltrane's quartet, rhythm-mates Ron Carter and Tony Williams from Shorter's employer Miles Davis, and Freddie Hubbard who shared horn duties with the saxophonist in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers are all present, producing a huge sound lead by Shorter's artistic vision.
For ADAM'S APPLE Wayne Shorter returned to the simple quartet format for the last time in his solo career. This date from 1966 shows the saxophonist firmly between his modal style of the early '60s and his more experimental avant-garde period that was to come with albums like SCHIZOPHRENIA and SUPER NOVA. The effect of Shorter's membership in Miles Davis' legendary group is evident, as his improvisations here are more adventurous and his rhythmic drive more pointed and angular than previous efforts. Above all, this session gives us one last look at Shorter at his most unveiled.