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Miles Davis Quintet: Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet

Read "Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Relaxin' With the Miles Davis Quintet was the second of four releases resulting from Davis' famous May and October 1956 marathon sessions. The other three recordings were Cookin' with the Miles Davis Quintet (1957), Workin' with the Miles Davis Quintet (1959), and Steamin' with the Miles Davis Quintet (1961). All of the music from these sessions would eventually collected and released on The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (2006). Chronologically, Relaxin' shows up between Bag's Groove (Prestige, 1957) and Miles Davis ...

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Jazzmeia Horn: A Social Call

Read "A Social Call" reviewed by James Nadal

Coming from a gospel oriented family in Dallas, Texas, given a unique name and early tutelage by her piano playing grandmother, Jazzmeia Horn was destined to be a jazz singer. After relocating to New York City to pursue music studies, she went on to conquer the 2013 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Competition, topping that by winning the Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition in 2015. All of this preparation and recognition has culminated in her debut release A Social Call, ...

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Gene Ammons: Boss Tenor

Read "Boss Tenor" reviewed by Matthew Aquiline

Tenor saxophonist Gene Ammons' tone can be best described using the qualities of an ideally brewed cup of joe: rounded, bold, smooth, and exhilarating after first taste. Widely regarded as an original founder of the “Chicago school of tenor sax," Ammons' nonchalant, yet indelible sound--echoing the soft, breathy tone of Lester Young--drove him to a great deal of fame within the post- World War II jazz crowds of the '50s. Ammons, famously nicknamed “Jug," had an inherent ability ...

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Thelonious Monk: Thelonious Monk

Read "Thelonious Monk" reviewed by Chris Kompanek

The remastered Monk is actually two mini-sets melded into one with the first quintet consisting of the underrated trumpeter Ray Copeland, tenor saxophonist Frank Foster and bassist Curly Russell, with the legendary Art Blakey holding it all together on drums. These first four tracks (including a beautiful rendition of the Jerome Kern classic “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes") are upbeat and decidedly lighter in tone. This half ends with a masterfully syncopated solo by Blakey on the jaunty “Hackensack," named ...

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John Coltrane: Side Steps

Read "John Coltrane: Side Steps" reviewed by Chris May

John Coltrane Side Steps Prestige Records 2009 The 5-CD Side Steps follows two other Prestige box sets--the 6-CD Fearless Leader (2006) and 5-CD Interplay (2007)--which together catalogue saxophonist John Coltrane's recordings for the label 1956-58. The three boxes, each packed with extraordinary music, chronicle on parallel paths the years during which Coltrane's revolutionary style began to emerge, but before he achieved iconic status first, from 1959, on Atlantic, and then, from ...

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John Coltrane: Dakar

Read "Dakar" reviewed by Chris May

Often cited as saxophonist John Coltrane's first album as leader, Dakar--recorded on April 20, 1957--is a usurper. Originally credited to the Prestige All Stars (and released as part of a short-lived experiment with 16-rpm discs), it was only credited to Coltrane on its re-release in 1963, when the saxophonist's star was firmly in the ascendant. The Dakar session was one of several Coltrane appeared on as a sideman that week--on the 16th with pianist Thelonious Monk, on the 18th with ...

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Andy and the Bey Sisters: 'Round Midnight

Read "'Round Midnight" reviewed by David Rickert

One of the best things about all of the limited edition series out there is that occasionally an obscure oddity gets released. Not necessarily a record that people have sought after, but more like one that many never even knew existed and thus never clamored for its release.

Such is the case with 'Round Midnight, recorded in 1965 and one of only three records that Andy and the Bey Sisters made. Andy, Salome, and Geraldine Bey were siblings ...

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Thelonious Monk: Thelonious Monk Trio

Read "Thelonious Monk Trio" reviewed by Chris May

Pianist, composer and ranking bop pioneer Thelonious Monk made a heap of recordings during his lifetime (1917-82) and, generally speaking, the further back in time you go the more magical they are. Thelonious Monk Trio (Prestige, 1954), here in a Rudy Van Gelder remaster edition, is early Monk and amongst the most eternal of his albums.

The disc catches Monk playing with the same revolutionary zeal as characterized his earlier masterpieces Genius Of Modern Music Volume 1 (Blue Note, 1947-48) ...

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Roland Kirk with Jack McDuff: Kirk's Work

Read "Kirk's Work" reviewed by Troy Collins

Technically his third album, following Introducing Roland Kirk (Chess, 1960), and a previously unissued R&B session (Triple Threat), Kirk's Work pre-dates the boundless surrealism of his post-Rahsaan era. Sharing the bill with organist Jack McDuff, the record is commonly regarded as a fairly straight-ahead date made years before Kirk gradually transformed from a stunning virtuoso multi-instrumentalist into an iconic musical shaman. While not as outrageous as some of Kirk's later albums, this sublime 1961 date has its fair share of ...

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Booker Ervin: The Freedom Book

Read "The Freedom Book" reviewed by Troy Collins

The first of four thematically linked albums, tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin's The Freedom Book is an overlooked classic. The Song Book, The Blues Book and The Space Book were all subsequently recorded in 1964 for Prestige, but this seminal 1963 recording is a masterpiece of unconventional, advanced hard bop.

Less free than the title suggests, the album remains challenging and utterly contemporary. While not as willfully avant-garde as his contemporaries Eric Dolphy and Ornette Coleman, Ervin (best known ...

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Richard "Groove" Holmes: Soul Message

Read "Soul Message" reviewed by Samuel Chell

The Hammond B-3 organ, even more than the Fender Rhodes electric piano, simply refuses to surrender to the proponents of digital synthesis, be they manufacturers of keyboards or aging keyboardists looking for less strenuous gigs. The instrument continues to exert a universal appeal, offering a soul-stirring Sunday-morning message at a time and place that suits Saturday-night sinners. All the more reason this RVG edition of Soul Message, a popular recording by one of the instrument's more effective evangelists, is likely ...

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Etta Jones: Don't Go to Strangers

Read "Don't Go to Strangers" reviewed by Jim Santella

"Don't Go to Strangers was Etta Jones' trademark song. She could make any jazz standard come alive, though, and she did on this 1960 Prestige album with a line-up of jazz all-stars. Together, band and vocalist tell the stories with a genuine spirit. The sound is superb. Jones and the band are in sync, and the mood fits pure jazz like a glove.

Some readers are apt to confuse Etta Jones with Etta James. We remember Jones because ...


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