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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Straight No Chaser is the place for jazz lovers (and those who will soon be jazz lovers) to enjoy podcasts with their favorite music and artists. Winner of the 2017 JazzTimes Readers' Poll for Best Podcast, your host Jeffrey Siegel will take you inside the world of jazz, from the new releases to the best festiva;s to remembrances of jazz legends.

Miles Davis & Sonny Rollins: A Winning Pair

Aug 4, 2009

By the late 1950s, trumpeter Miles Davis and saxophonist Sonny Rollins had already established themselves as two of the most influential jazz musicians of their generation. Five decades later, their iconic status is undisputed - not just in jazz, but in the performing arts in general.

The first glimmers of their greatness were already evident in the early 1950s, during a series of intermittent sessions they recorded together for the Prestige label between 1951 and 1956. During this relatively brief but seminal period, they assimilated the fundamental elements of bebop - the prevailing jazz language of the day - and developed distinctive voices that launched brilliant individual careers and ultimately reverberated throughout jazz for the next half century and beyond.

Concord Music Group has assembled these Prestige sessions in their entirety - 25 tracks in all - on a two-disc set entitled Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins: The Classic Prestige Sessions, 1951-1956,that showcases the early genius of these two iconic figures.  

"Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins proved to be two of the most influential artists in the history of jazz, and here we hear them together early in their respective careers, while both artists were quickly developing their distinctive individual voices," says Nick Phillips, Vice President of Jazz and Catalog A&R at Concord and producer of the compilation. "It's interesting to hear these recordings more than fifty years after they were made - to hear that budding genius while also knowing what these two artists went on to do separately later, and knowing the indelible impact they both ultimately made in the history of jazz. So aside from being a collection of great music, it's also a really important historical document. In one two-CD collection, we can hear everything that these two iconic artists did together on Prestige, at the genesis of their extraordinary careers."

The Classic Prestige Sessions traces five recording dates in various locations in New York and the famed Rudy Van Gelder studio in New Jersey between January 1951 and March 1956. In addition to Davis and Rollins, the sessions also feature performances by Art Blakey, Tommy Flanagan, Roy Haynes, Charlie Parker, Horace Silver and several other talented session players who went on to establish prolific and influential careers of their own in subsequent years.

Click here to listen to the pair on the first of two takes of "The Serpent's Tooth". The players at the January 30, 1953 sessions are all certified legends: Miles Davis (trumpet) Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins (tenor sax) Walter Bishop Jr. (piano) Percy Heath (bass) and Philly Joe Jones (drums).