Craft Recordings announces the relaunch of Original Jazz Classics – the acclaimed reissue series that faithfully presented more than 850 memorable jazz albums over three decades. Original Jazz Classics will relaunch with two of its foundational releases: the seminal Workin' With the Miles Davis Quintet on April 28 followed by Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane on May 26. Both albums have been cut from the original master tapes ( AAA ) by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio. Each LP is pressed on 180-gram vinyl at RTI and housed in a replica of its original tip-on jacket.
First launched in 1982 under Fantasy Records, the imprint served as a home for the label's impressive jazz catalog – which had grown to include thousands of celebrated titles from Prestige, Galaxy, Milestone, Riverside, Debut, Contemporary, Jazzland, and Pablo. Fantasy also had its own place in jazz history, beginning in 1949 with its very first signing, Dave Brubeck. The Bay Area label was also home to the likes of Cal Tjader, Gerry Mulligan, and Vince Guaraldi. In the '80s and '90s, Original Jazz Classics became the go-to imprint for jazz reissues on vinyl, CD and cassette. Its extensive catalog not only boasted some of the most important albums ever recorded, but also long-out-of-print favorites – all of which featured original cover art and liner notes, as well as superior audio. Original OJC vinyl pressings are still praised and much sought after by jazz fans and audiophiles alike, who have gone to great lengths to document and share how to find the best-sounding pressings. However, with the relaunch of Original Jazz Classics, there is no need to search any longer.
Culled from Miles Davis' storied Prestige sessions with Rudy Van Gelder, 1960's Workin' With the Miles Davis Quintet captures Miles Davis and his First Great Quintet at their peak. Assembled in 1955, the all-star line-up showcased the talents of Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers ( Bass) , and Philly Joe Jones ( Drums ). Replacing Sonny Rollins on the tenor sax was a relatively unknown musician, named John Coltrane. For the two-year period that they were together, the quintet became the defining hard bop group, while their standing engagement at New York's Café Bohemia was the hottest show in town. Between November 1955 and October 1956, the group recreated the magic of their live shows with three marathon sessions, which resulted in five exceptional albums for Prestige: Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet ( 1956 ), Cookin' ( 1957 ), Relaxin' ( 1958 ), Workin' ( 1960 ), and Steamin' ( 1961 ).
From poignant balladry to uptempo numbers, Workin' offers a range of moods and material, including standards (Richard Rodgers' "It Never Entered My Mind," Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way"), originals (Davis' "Four" and Coltrane's "Trane's Blues" among them), and a trio number – Ahmad Jamal's "Ahmad's Blues." Throughout, there's a palpable sense of immediacy, as the deft interplay between the musicians takes center stage: from the excitement of a young John Coltrane to the informed, melodic swing of Red Garland; the tremendous snap and pop of the rhythm section; and Miles' intense swing.
To add additional context to the importance of these Prestige sessions, the esteemed music historian Bob Blumenthal writes, "Davis understood the potential of the new, longer 12" album format, and used it to create definitive performances...The key was contrast, which began with the juxtaposition of Davis' concision, Coltrane's complexity, and Garland's sparkle; extended to the textural variety the rhythm section provided each soloist; and was capped by the distinctive range of the band's repertoire."
Miles Davis, trumpet
John Coltrane, tenor saxophone
Red Garland, piano
Paul Chambers, bass
Philly Joe Jones, drums