Like several other prominent jazz producers of the fifties, Prestige founder Bob Weinstock started out as a traditional jazz (New Orleans/Dixieland) fan but soon found himself standing at the cutting edge of “modern jazz.” He launched his own label—originally called New Jazz, soon renamed Prestige—in 1949 and, during the next decade, recorded such giants as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Eric Dolphy, and the Modern Jazz Quartet, often in informal “blowing” sessions. Weinstock turned over the reins to other producers in 1958, and Prestige soon became the leading purveyor of Soul Jazz (also known as Acid Jazz) with its recordings of Jack McDuff, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Charles Earland, and others. Prestige became part of the Fantasy group of labels in 1972, and ever since Concord Music Group‘s acquisition of Fantasy and its family of labels in 2004, it has been a flagship label in CMG’s jazz reissues program.
In early 2006, Concord Music Group launched the critically acclaimed Prestige Rudy Van Gelder Remasters series—a collection of reissues of some of the most iconic albums in the Prestige catalog, carefully remastered from the original analog master tapes with state-of-the-art 24-bit digital technology by the legendary and original recording engineer, Rudy Van Gelder. This popular series has grown to more than 60 volumes, boasting the definitive editions of some of the most important recordings in the history of jazz.
“I was the engineer on the recording sessions and I also made the masters for the original LP issues of these albums. Since the advent of the CD, other people have been making the masters. Mastering is the final step in the process of creating the sound of the finished product. Now, thanks to the folks at the Concord Music Group who have given me the opportunity to remaster these albums, I can present my versions of the music on CD using modern technology. I remember the sessions well, I remember how the musicians wanted to sound, and I remember their reactions to the playbacks. Today, I feel strongly that I am their messenger.”
—Rudy Van Gelder