Craft Records, the custodians of the Prestige, Contemporary, Riverside, Fantasy, and Milestone labels’ catalogues, is set to reactivate the iconic Original Jazz Classics reissue imprint with two new audiophile releases: Workin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet (1960), available on April 28, and Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane (1961), due out on May 26. Both albums will be reissued on 180-gram vinyl with all-analogue mastering by Cohearent Audio’s redoubtable and in-demand sound guru, Kevin Gray; they will also be available digitally in 192/24 High Definition audio.
Original Jazz Classics (OJC) is a familiar name to seasoned jazz collectors as it was responsible for reviving many long-out-of-print jazz albums in the CD era. The label was founded in 1982 by Fantasy Records as a means of reissuing the label’s huge catalogue of jazz titles, which at the time drew also from the Prestige, Galaxy, Milestone, Riverside, Debut, Contemporary, Jazzland, and Pablo labels.
Miles Davis’ classic LP Workin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet was released in 1960 but was recorded four years earlier during a marathon recording session for Prestige Records to fulfill a contractual obligation to the label that enabled the trumpeter to join the major label Columbia Records. His quintet at the time – saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones – was one of the most important in modern jazz at the time and hugely influential.
Regarded by many as the father of modern jazz, pianist-composer Thelonious Monk was dubbed “The High Priest of Bebop” and forged a distinctive and highly personal style defined by infectious melodic hooks, jarring dissonances, and hard-swinging rhythms. Monk persuaded Coltrane to join his band in the summer of 1957 after the saxophonist was regrouping following his departure from Miles Davis’ band. Their collaboration was brief but resulted in the iconic album Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane, a meeting of two compatible but very different musical geniuses, which captured them on stage at the Five Spot Cafe in 1957 but was not released until 1961.
Says Sig Sigworth, President of Craft Recordings: “Given Craft’s shared passion for meticulous curation and quality, it was a natural step to relaunch Original Jazz Classics. Its popularity and iconic status have endured decades and many audio formats, but its mission remains the same. We are excited for longtime fans of the series to rediscover these historic titles as well as introduce them to an entire new generation of jazz fans.”
Click here to pre-order Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane
Click here to pre-order Workin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet