Miles Davis was still basking in the glow of the landmark “birth of the cool” sessions when he made his 1951 debut on Prestige Records. Rollins also was forming his own sound, stepping out of the shadow of his mentor Charlie Parker. This two- CD set gathers previously released tracks (22 songs, including three alternate takes) from five sessions held over six years.
Those are the numbers. But the music speaks for itself—this was an especially fertile period that found these innovative young jazzmen putting their own stamp on bop and paving the way for the next generation. Both swing with remarkable confidence on such tracks as “Out of the Blue” and soar on the dizzying-fast bop of “Denial.” They’re aided by a Who’s Who of Golden-Era Jazz Players that includes Parker, John Lewis, Horace Silver, Tommy Flanagan, Paul Chambers, Percy Heath, Roy Haynes, and Philly Joe Jones, among others. These guys play phenomenally well—you can’t help but feel that you’re witnessing history in the making.
The recordings seem a bit compressed at times, but the transfers were painstakingly made from the analog mastertapes at 24-bit resolution. All this and the strikingly minimalist cool heard on “Bluing” to boot. What jazz fan could ask for more?