Prestige Records

Prestige Records

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Prestige Records

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Prestige Records was a jazz record label founded in 1949 by Bob Weinstock. The company recorded hundreds of albums by many of the leading jazz musicians of the day, sometimes issuing them under the names of several subsidiaries. The company was sold to Fantasy in 1971, which was later absorbed by Concord.


Weinstock opened a record store for collectors in 1948 while still a teenager. The store was next door to the Metropole Jazz Club in New York City. Jazz musicians would hang out and rehearse at the Club, and then migrate upstairs next door to Weinstock's store. Weinstock got the idea to record these jazz stars by offering them cash payments.

Prestige office was located at 446 West 50th Street, New York City. The label's name was initially New Jazz, but changed to Prestige Records the next year. Its catalog contains a significant number of jazz classics, including renowned works by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk and many others. 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...
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