Miles Davis Quintet — Relaxin’

The music on “Relaxin” originates from two days of sessions in 1956 with Davis’ “first quintet”, featuring John Coltrane (ts), Red Garland (p), Paul Chambers (bs), and Philly Joe Jones (dr).  There were four albums released from what was recorded on those two days, and they remain today the blueprint for hard bop.

This is a second (still early) pressing on Prestige with the Bergenfield, NJ address.  Both the cover and vinyl are in clean condition, grading at EX. This is important music and the LP is collectible, but I’ve read that some consider these early Prestige LP’s to be not so great sonically.  Maybe so, but it sounds quite good me, and compares well to the OJC CD reissue that I’ve had forever.  As far as I know the OJC is an analog transfer and sounds excellent for the price.  (Details: Prestige 7129/NJ address/RVG/deepgroove)

Miles Davis — If I Were a Bell

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8 Responses to Miles Davis Quintet — Relaxin’

  1. dottorjazz says:

    everyone should have these four: Workin’, Steamin’, Cookin’ and Relaxin’.
    the whole series of Davis on Prestige is made of 15 records.
    Slowly, in many years, I succeded in having them all originals.
    they have no Blue Note sound but the music in most of them is great.
    let me write what I think of Miles: he never invented somethin’ new but he played it the best way anyone could, from Parker to Jarrett.

    • vinyltim says:

      I have most of that on CD, and a few on vinyl so far. I’ll chip away at it and hopefully end up with a nice collection of them.

  2. The magic number with Prestige 7000 series is 7141, when the address changed from NY to Bergenfield NJ. So for 7129, the original is on NY labels, your copy is Bergenfield NJ address, so it is a later pressing. 7141 and above, originals will be on NJ labels. Prestige gives me a headache as they had a habit of reissuing records under a new number (unlike Bluenote where the number didn’t change)

    I have only a handful of Prestige originals, but my general conclusion is that, in common with most records, very early recordings (before 1955) sound quality is generally poor due to limitations in the recording technology – microphones and such. Mid fifties to early sixties the audio quality improves but is never up to the mark of Plastylite for Blue Note, despite RVG engineering and mastering.

    Come the early sixties Prestige made a major error by economising on vinylite, using recycled vinyl with microscopic fragments of detritus, causing a sonic hiss through out play. I always audition before buying or ask seller about hiss, as it is very intrusive. I already have mild tinnitus, so hiss is really horrid

    As regards OJC reissues, these were introduced in 1983, and I have never found them a satisfactory. Like many pressings after the oil crisis 1973, the vinyl is wobble-thin, reduced volume, dynamic range compressed and the result is dull and flat sound with the life sucked out of it. Digital equipment had replaced analogue and things never sounded the same again. One of those exceptions where the CD is usually superior sound to OJC on vinyl, though not as good as original pressings. Your mileage may vary, as they say, but its worth hanging out for originals, or those tasty UK Esquires, which are a lot cheaper usually than original Prestige and often better cared for.

    • vinyltim says:

      This one sounds good to me–as does the OJC CD. I have a handful of OJC LPs and they also sound good to me, if not exceptional. Well worth the $4-7 I usually see them for. The CDs are also a good value in that same price range used.

      That said….I’ll be looking for originals!! Around what time in the catalog did the original LPs take a turn for the worst?

  3. My Rollins 7326 Saxophone Collosus is one of the hissy ones (re-release of 7079) in 1964. I don’t have enough Prestige on vinyl to judge more accurately, so I figure its somewhere around early-mid Sixties they go from acceptable to not.
    With original vinyl you are paying for an artefact, an antique, very few in existence and they don’t make any more. CD has no intrinsic value as it can be reproduced indefinitely at next to no cost. Nothing to do with the sound quality but will always be “good value” in comparison to collectible vinyl.
    I collect original (pre-1973) vinyl solely because they sound infinitely superior to anything else I have ever heard. It wasn’t always so – there have been times on the hifi upgrade path when streamed CD sounded better than vinyl. They are not absolutes.
    The turntable setup is so much more revealing now, it reveals how good a pressing is, and of course how bad one is too. It’s a curse really. As you improve your equipment, a lot of things that used to sound quite good sound start to sound worse. Seemingly counter-intuitive but that’s what happens.

    • vinyltim says:

      Sure–it’s just nice too see great music available on CD for such reasonable prices. Used CD’s are so inexpensive now that I’m looking for those as well. Getting educated on that as well–which reissues are good transfers and sound great. OJC’s are pretty strong, they sound excellent. I didn’t realize that the older Blue Note CD’s I’ve had forever are much preferred to the more recent RVG reissues. I’ve been comparing those to each other and to LP pressings when possible. The RVG versions are often pretty bright, harsh, and “squashed”, but others are ok and great way to check out the music for small $$. I’m still having a lot more fun with LP’s…….

      My hi-fi setup is modest for sure, but working well. I’ll upgrade over time.

      • You have the right idea Tim- music first, hifi later. For some guys the hifi takes over. They have a collection of six or seven tonearms, spend vast sums on valves and resistors, stands, interconnects, but if you ask what music they listen to they go blank. They have maybe five different pressings of “Dark Side of the Moon”, and that’s it. You have to laugh.
        Keep growing that music collection!

        • vinyltim says:

          I can see why that’s interesting and fun too, but I’m not going to mess with it much, just change components out when I can. I’m happy with how it is now.

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