Prestige Records

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Prestige Records is a music label founded in 1950 by Bob Weinstock .

It emerged from the New Jazz label. The label's catalog included classic jazz musicians such as Miles Davis , John Coltrane , Sonny Rollins , Thelonious Monk and others. Weinstock campaigned for an authentic sound for the artists and encouraged them to go to the recording studio without prior rehearsals.

Sound engineer Rudy Van Gelder worked with the label in the 1950s and 1960s, and jazz critic Ira Gitler occasionally produced albums in the early 1950s . In 1958 Prestige Records began to make its musical program more diverse and used the former label New Jazz again, and released albums by talented new musicians. Two sub- labels Swingsville and Moodsville were created, but were only active for a short time. Their recordings were re-released on Prestige Records in the 1960s. A more durable sub-label was called Bluesville .

Without rehearsals, Weinstock could produce faster, around 75 albums a year. Another quirk of Weinstock was to reuse and release failed tapes, which explains why Prestige Records has so few alternate takes .

Some of the characteristics of the prestige label were:

  • The albums usually consisted of five tracks (three on the A-side, two on the B-side) and some of them lasted well under forty minutes.
  • The majority of the pieces consisted of standards, partly because the musicians were not given time to rehearse, and partly because Prestige retained the rights to its publications, which is why few musicians decided to use their own material.
  • Sometimes the B-side contained a long blues (10 to 15 minutes) (e.g. on Saxophone Colossus by Sonny Rollins and Kenny Burrell & John Coltrane, and on Shirley Scott Plays Horace Silver the Señor Blues ). Sometimes he was on the A-side (e.g. Screamin 'for the Blues by Oliver Nelson , a rare example of a prestige album made entirely from original material). On the other hand, on one of the first albums of the Modern Jazz Quartet ( Modern Jazz Quartet-First Recordings , PR 7749), the Two Bass hit was recorded four times, each time with a different instrument. It has been renamed La Ronde Suite . Weinstock allowed such an approach when there was not enough material to fill the plate

Weinstock had a keen sense of talent. He supported many jazz careers (he had recorded the debut album John Coltranes as Leader, Two Tenors ) and produced other fundamental albums, including the aforementioned saxophone Colossus .

Mention should be made of the pre- Columbia recordings of Miles Davis (which Weinstock made from 1951 to 1956), which included the albums Cookin ', Relaxin', Workin ' and Steamin' and made the quintet successful.

On the other hand, the method of only recording without rehearsing often led to rather mediocre albums. Therefore, the good recordings of many artists were made for other record labels.

In the 1960s, Weinstock left the production work to Chris Albertson , Ozzie Cadena , Esmond Edwards, Don Schlitten, and other producers. Prestige Records had u. a. the pianist Jaki Byard and the tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin under contract. The artistic standard was still high, but the prestige label was not as successful with its new recordings as it was with the albums by Miles, Coltrane and Monk. The label survived with commercially successful soul jazz artists such as Charles Earland , Richard "Groove" Holmes and Brother Jack McDuff .

In contrast to the Blue Note label , Prestige couldn't pay the musicians a two-day rehearsal. This is also seen as a reason that the productions with comparable possibilities - they had partly the same musicians and studios - and claims did not come close to the success of Blue Note.

In 1971 Fantasy Records bought the label. The prestige albums that made jazz history in the 1950s and 1960s were re-released in the Original Jazz Classics series.

Discographic notes

Sonny Stitt “Count Every Star” 78 single from the early 1950s

Web links


  1. Published on Swingsville a . a. Records by Coleman Hawkins (some of which were also released by Moodsville ), such as Coleman Hawkins with the Red Garland Trio or The Hawk Flies High
  2. With albums like Red Garlands Moodsville, Vol. 1 , Prestige Records tried to profit from the growing market of catchy and jazz-related light music.
  3. Recordings from December 1952
  4. ^ Italian Wikipedia