Prestige

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Prestige Records was a record label founded in 1949 by Bob Weinstock (October 2, 1928–January 14, 2006). The label’s name was initially New Jazz, but changed to Prestige Records the next year. The label’s catalog contains a significant number of classics, including renowned works by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk and many other giants of the idiom. Weinstock was known for encouraging the performances to be unrehearsed for a more authentic, exciting sound. To this effect, Prestige Records, unlike Blue Note Records, would not pay musicians for rehearsals. Another Weinstock practice, of rewinding the tapes after “bad” takes, has resulted in very few alternate takes from the classic Prestige years surfacing.

For most of the 1950s and 1960s, the recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder was responsible for recording the company’s releases and Ira Gitler occasionally fulfilled the role of producer in the early 1950s. Around 1958, Prestige began to diversify, reviving the “New Jazz” name, usually for recordings by emerging musicians, and introduced the Swingsville and Moodsville lines, though these were relatively shortlived, many albums being re-released later in the 1960s on Prestige itself. Bluesville Records was also a subsidiary label of Prestige.

During this period, Weinstock ceased supervising recording sessions directly, employing Chris Albertson, Ozzie Cadena, Esmond Edwards, Don Schlitten, and producer/music supervisor Bob Porter, among others, to fulfil this function.

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