Track Selection: “My Funny Valentine”
Miles Davis (tp) John Coltrane (ts) Red Garland (p) Paul Chambers (b) Philly Joe Jones (d) Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, October 26, 1956
I had been Workin’, Diggin’, and Relaxin’ with Miles and Coltrane for some time. All that remained of the four “missing ‘g” series in my collection was Cookin’. Judge the quality of the Cookin’ for yourself.
Standout tracks include an initially tender then swinging rendition of “My Funny Valentine”, which according to Ira Gitler’s liner notes was the tune’s first recorded performance by Miles. Miles muted trumpet picks out the tune with great economy. Coltrane sits this one out and it is left to Red Garland to deliver a delicate but delicious piano solo, with Paul Chambers stepping beyond “walking” to explore the melody. “Great!”.
The low catalogue number 32-048 (PRLP 7094) dates it as a mid-to-late Fifties pressing. Hallmark RVG mastered, mono, very heavy 220 gm vinyl in the UK to a standard no different to original Prestige. A little occasional low-level surface noise almost adds to the charm, stepping back in time away from the austere purity of modern playback.
Sitting in a large collection of Miles on eBay, an UK Esquire copy of Cookin’ appeared. It attracted enough interest to push the price up to £45, but these UK releases of Prestige titles are often quite sought after, with the most desirable titles going into three-figure territory.
The only downside of UK Esquires is the usually very basic alternative cover, but uniquely, Cookin’ was among the few Esquires which adopt the original US cover by Reid Miles, Blue Note’s graphic designer. A very tasty dish for a change, all for 37 shillings nine and a half pence precisely (local taxes and service not included)