Prestige RVG Remasters, Part 1 of 2

C. Andrew Hovan By

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It's no surprise that following the success of his retooling of the classic Blue Note catalog that Rudy Van Gelder would eventually be asked by other labels to bring his touch to classics from vaults. Earlier this spring, the Concord Music Group decided to have Van Gelder take a new look at items from the Prestige catalog. Like many of the iconic Blue Notes, Van Gelder had originally recorded the majority of these records and it's worth the effort to give a listen to how he thinks these dates should sound with the benefit of modern technology.

Miles Davis
Prestige/Concord Music Group

Among the early Prestige sides, Walkin' is definitely one that any jazz fan worth his weight will want to have in his collection. For the session's leader, Miles Davis, it also meant that his star would be on the rise based solely on the title track, essentially a jam session blues. Of course, there was much more to admire on this one, including "Solar and "You Don't Know What Love Is. Horace Silver can be heard fostering the type of funky piano licks that would shortly launch him on his own solo career as one of the originators of hard bop. Also worth hearing is the alto saxophone playing of Davey Schildkraut, a little known musician who is certainly worthy of wider recognition. Van Gelder's original mono sound is rendered with a bit more clarity and sharpness, making this the definitive version.

John Coltrane
Prestige/Concord Music Group

A truly perfect album in every way, Soultrane is one of John Coltrane's early masterpieces. In front of Miles Davis' rhythm section of the period (Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Art Taylor), Coltrane plants the seeds of his developing "sheets of sound approach, particularly on the brisk "Russian Lullaby. Those who most closely associate the tenorist only with fast arpeggiated runs will want to check out Coltrane's moving ballad statements on "I Want To Talk About You and "The For Ernie (interestingly enough, Coltrane's future pianist, McCoy Tyner, would later cover this wonderful composition on his own Reaching Fourth). Van Gelder's handiwork on this one is just fine, although I prefer by a hair Steve Hoffman's gold disc from many years back.

Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis
The Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Cookbook, Vol. 1
Prestige/Concord Music Group

A mainstay on Prestige for several years, Eddie "Lockjaw Davis championed the organ-tenor combo format with his recordings with organist Shirley Scott in the late '50s. The Eddie "Lockjaw Davis Cookbook Vol.1 is often cited as a classic of the genre. The smoldering groove of "In the Kitchen is an acknowledged classic, with Scott proving that she was indeed a very tasteful organist. Jerome Richardon's flute adds additional color to the ensemble and the varied program makes for a solid listening experience. Due to a recent discovery, this session is heard in stereo for the first time on this RVG release. By aware, however, that Van Gelder has minimized the stereo spread so that the end results sound more like the mono version than your typical stereo mix.

Jack McDuff
The Honeydripper
Prestige/Concord Music Group

Another progenitor of the organ combo sound, Jack McDuff had a prosperous run on his own series of Prestige albums, however his most unforgettable session remains' the 1961 landmark The Honeydripper. Guitarist Grant Green makes an early appearance on record here and saxophonist Jimmy Forrest goes for a gutsy approach with that heavy tone not unlike that of "Lockjaw Davis. The shuffle groove of "Whap! is quintessential soul jazz of the period with a then unknown Ben Dixon keeping the pots on as he would later do on countless other organ trinkets for a variety of labels.

Etta Jones
Don't Go To Strangers
Prestige/Concord Music Group

Finally, vocalist Etta Jones would debut on a major label with 1960's Don't Go To Strangers. She certainly couldn't have asked for a better supporting cast with Frank Wess, Richard Wyands, George Duvivier, and Roy Haynes on hand. With a nod towards Billie Holiday, Jones had a way of bending the notes at the end of a phrase as she does so eloquently on the opening "Yes Sir, That's My Baby. Wess blows coolly on flute and tenor and the program of old chestnuts can't be beat. Not only does Van Gelder's remastering come as a nice improvement over the previous OJC release, but the cover and its' pink gel appear here as intended for the first time on disc.

Tracks and Personnel


Tracks: Good Bait; I Want To Talk About You: You Say You Care; Theme For Ernie; Russian Lullaby.

Personnel: John Coltrane: tenor saxophone; Red Garland: piano; Paul Chambers: bass; Art Taylor: drums.

The Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Cookbook, Vol. 1

Tracks: Have Horn, Will Blow; The Chef; But Beautiful; In The Kitchen; Three Deuces; But Beautiful (Alt.); Avalon.

Personnel: Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis: tenor saxophone; Jerome Richardson: flute, tenor saxophone (#5); Shirley Scott: organ; George Duvivier: bass; Arthur Edgehill: drums.


Tracks: Walkin'; Blue 'N' Boogie; Solar; You Don't Know What Love Is; Love Me Or Leave Me.

Personnel: Miles Davis: trumpet; J.J. Johnson: trombone; Lucky Thompson: tenor saxophone; David Schildkraut: alto saxophone (#3, #5); Horace silver: piano; Percy Heath: bass; Kenny Clarke: drums.

The Honeydripper

Tracks: Whap!; I Want A Little Girl; The Honeydripper; Dink's Blues; Mr. Lucky; Blues And Tonic.

Personnel: Jack McDuff: organ; Jimmy Forrest: tenor saxophone; Grant Green: guitar; Ben Dixon: drums.

Don't Go To Strangers

Tracks: Yes Sir, That's My Baby; Don't Go To Strangers; I Love Paris; Fine And Mellow; Where Or When; If I Had You; On The Street Where You Live; Something To Remember You By; Bye Bye Blackbird; All The Way.


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