Prestige Records is such a cool label, such a historically important label, that we couldn’t limit ourselves to just one way to bring to you our favorite titles from its catalog of classics. So, we’re bringing you two… Prestige Done Two Ways Some Want The Most Collectible Mono – Got You Covered Others Want The Ultimate Audiophile Stereo – Ain’t Gonna Let You Down
That’s right: 50 Prestige titles will make up these two series. We’ve got 25 of the most collectible, rarest, most expensive jazz titles ever in our Prestige Mono Series. And then 25 of the most audiophile sounding Rudy Van Gelder recordings ever made with the Prestige Stereo Series. All cut at 33 1/3 RPM and released on Hybrid SACD.
And you know they’re all – all 50 – mastered from the original analog master tapes. In the case of the monos, that’s the original mono masters. Yup, mastering maestro Kevin Gray handles the job for both series. And, of course, the LPs will all be pressed at our own state-of-the-art, rave-reviews-coming-in-weekly pressing plant, Quality Record Pressings, and plated there by Gary Salstrom.
And there’s more: We’re kicking it all-out old-school here. Deep groove pressings, just like the originals where there is a deep groove that appears to be cut into the record label area of the disk, the result of the die that was used in the old presses in the ‘50s. Original tip-on jacket facsimiles with the original thick cardboard stock. The monos are pressed with a flat-edge, no groove-guard flat profile, just like the originals. The SACDs will be packaged in mini “old style” gatefold jackets. These jackets feature printed wraps mounted to chipboard shells, producing an authentic, “old school” look and feel. Some people call these “mini LP” jackets.
Make no mistake: The sound, the pressing quality, the look – everything will surpass the original Prestige LPs.
So, let’s jump in the time machine and head back to the 1950s and ‘60s, when jazz was king and the world was awash in the sounds of these masterpieces.Founded in 1949 by Bob Weinstock, Prestige Records would become one of the most renowned jazz labels of all time. Weinstock began the label after he’d opened a record store next door to New York City’s Metropole Jazz Club. The musicians who performed at Metropole began frequenting Weistock’s store, and he soon got the idea to start recording them. He first called the label New Jazz but changed the name to Prestige the following year.
The legendary roster of Prestige musicians rivals that of any jazz label before or since and includes Miles Davis, Gil Evans, Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane, Hank Mobley, Jackie McLean, Sonny Rollins, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and Tommy Flanagan. Weinstock is famous – or infamous – for refusing to pay his artists for their rehearsal time. He instead captured a more live, unplanned sort of groove, different than other jazz labels of the day. Certainly, history has appreciated hearing artists that would go on to become legends playing in a looser, off-the-cuff manner.
Rudy Van Gelder handled recording engineering duties for most of the Prestige run, another fact that has positioned Prestige so well in the history of jazz and collectible records. Actually, some of these original monos now go for well over $2,000.These Prestige titles will be available individually and as part of two separate series – The Prestige Stereo Series and The Prestige Mono Series. The first 250 LP copies will be numbered editions and will only be available to series subscribers. LP series subscribers can reserve their same serial number for each title in the series, and series subscribers will enjoy free shipping and be charged for their records only as they ship. To subscribe call 800-716-3553.
Of course, these Prestige LPs will be pressed at Quality Record Pressings. Check out what Harry Pearson of The Absolute Sound
said about QRP recently:
"These (two new LPs from Reference Recordings) and Analogue Production's remastering of Tea for the Tillerman were both pressed at Quality Record Pressings, the superb Salina, Kansas, facility, and they are the best and the quietest LPs I've heard of recordings made during the LP era. In a sense, the silences of QRP's pressings, their lack of those hard-to-define anomalies of stylus-in-groove sonics, are comparable to the kind of quietness inherent in a magnetic-drive turntable...QRP has put its best feet forward. 'Spectacular' in this case means a freedom from defects (snaps, crackles, and pops) and an absence of groove noise and what I would call vinyl 'rumble,' hard to define except by contrast with normal pressings." - Harry Pearson, The Absolute Sound, January 2012 (or Issue 219)
to learn more. - Marc Sheforgen