Miles Davis All Stars “Walkin’ ” (1954)



Side A: Sextet: Miles Davis (tp) J.J. Johnson (tb) Lucky Thompson (ts) Horace Silver (p) Percy Heath (b) Kenny Clarke (d) Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, April 29, 1954

Track Selection “Walkin'” (long, 13:15)

Side B: Quintet: Miles Davis (tp) Dave Schildkraut (as) Horace Silver (p) Percy Heath (b) Kenny Clarke (d) Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, April 3, 1954

Track Selection: “Solar” featuring David Schildkraut on alto  


Miles in transition: 1954 – classy old-school players including JJ Johnson, Lucky Thompson, Horace Silver and David Schildkraut (on track selection  “Solar”), soon to be replaced by the arrival of the New Miles Davis Quintet – introducing Red Garland and some up and coming young tenor player called John Coltrane. Miles sought the best new talent, in a similar fashion to Art Blakey, providing up and coming musicians a space in which to establish themselves before moving on. Sadly, Schildkraut disappeared off the scene, but his solo on alto on Solar is a delight of economy and elegance.

Vinyl: PRLP 7076

Well, is it or isn’t it original Prestige? It has common parentage with the recent Quinichette/Coltrane posting – the “quarter”-sized die imprint on Side Two.(or “sixpence” as we Brits say, immortalised by Tommy Steele in the Sixties musical “Half a Sixpence”)

It is clearly not the first press on NYC labels. But is it a “genuine” second press on NJ labels? Goldmine identifies an address change from NYC to NJ as a 1958 release (at half the value)

The stamper matrix code looks right, with hand-written RVG initials, and an AB (Abbey pressing plant?) inscribed at 5 o’clock on Side One. A very light deep groove as the vinyl is not especially heavy. Indeed all my Prestiges have a similar mid-weight.

There is no formal reissue number in the matrix, which was the stereo release PRST 7608 (in 1969)  and it is not the much later OJC reissue. My educated guess is this is the 1958 mono 2nd press on NJ labels, in an original jacket still showing the NYC address of the first pressing. Phew!! It’s an original second pressing, from the same pressing plant as the Quinichette (same quarter-size die-imprint on one side)

What the significance is of the letter “H” next to RVG I am not sure, but in all probability it is a reference to the stamper of origin, as I have other similar Prestiges with different letters in the same position.(Incidently, marks in the deadwax are enhanced through layers in Photoshop to make them more visible, in case you might be thinking they are somehow magically white)




Collectors Corner

From a London suburban specialist 50’s/60s record shop where the proprietor occasionally shows me his near-mint pair of Blue Notes Lexingtons, at eyewatering prices, just in case I come up on the Euro Millions one day. In the mean time he has a good eye for collectible jazz. This one was a score from last year, but the recent questions about identifying “original Prestige” records caused me to rummage through my small Prestige collection in search of better answers than “I don’t know, probably”

The Prestige research is taking shape, and will be published in the Prestige pages before the weekend is out. There is a sorely needed body of knowledge about Prestige, in the shadow of increasingly unaffordable Blue Note. In the mean time, enjoy.

9 thoughts on “Miles Davis All Stars “Walkin’ ” (1954)

  1. Hi,
    Just really started getting into your blog. Been aware of it for awhile, but have really started going through a lot of the posts.
    The H in the deadwax indicates the record was pressed at RCA Records’ pressing plant in Hollywood. There are other letters that RCA used for their other plants (I believe they had a plant in Indiana which was denoted in the deadwax by an I).

    • Hi and welcome, nice to have earlier writing get attention. I’ve been writing this blog nearly four years now but for some reason, a lot of readership is merely the latest post. Since most of what I write about here took place over fifty years ago, the words “latest” doesn’t have the same meaning as writing about contemporary events.

      Whilst I normally agree with comments, anything for a quiet life, I’m not so sure about the significance of the H stamp here.

      Whilst “H” is a well established mark of RCA Hollywood, this record is etched “AB”, which is the mark of Abbey Mfg, Prestige’s main pressing plant in New Jersey. With de facto AB provenance , it is a bit of a stretch to transport metal to Hollywood, though I guess anything is possible.

      RCA Hollywood’s stamp is seen on Contemporary, here,

      The RCA H stamp is always in the direction of the text flow around the runout, here it is 90°CCW. This may be the explanation, or possibly there is another.

      • Yes, the deadwax stuff can be confusing. I just knew that H was common for records pressed at RCA in Hollywood. I have some records that appear to have some sort of letter or number in the deadwax, but they’re so faint you can barely make them out. That’s why I love sites like this – you always learn something.

  2. I think it’s impossible in a visual grading, the only noticeable signs being spindle hole marks.
    I have at least one old Prestige, that looks almost perfect but plays awfully: worn stylus? pressing defects?
    different when a record is play graded: here defects are clear, but most sellers do not play grade, too dangerous for them.

    • As people have said, with eBay you are playing a numbers game. Some of the time you get a nice clean quiet copy, other times its like cicadas chirping at dusk with a little background music. Since almost no-one playgrades, its a lottery.

      You can’t do anything about groove damage, but I haven’t found it that common. Mostly its 50 years of dirt,dust, muck,cigarette smoke, and mould release. All my records on arrival go through a deep clean on the Record Cleaning Machine. Not only does the isopropyl alcohol sort out a lot of the clicks and pops, when you see it first sitting on the surface you notice where the record is “resisting” the cleaning fluid – decades of greasy fingermarks around the first track. If you play,clean, and immediately play again, its amazing how things often improve.

      The other factor is your turntable. Having just upgraded my Avid, I noticed a reduction in surface noise, and that marks and light scratches had become less obtrusive. Its sucking more music out of the grooves, and noises due to vinyl defects are more” drained off” by the mass of the platter and rigidity of the base, and quality of motor. It is like the defects are not so much mixed up with the music, so easier to disregard. There is a lot more to say about TT design, but thats for another day.

    • I have a beautiful looking N.J. pressing of this record I bought off ebay which unfortunately has been “loved to death” by it’s original owner. Evidently he/she either owned a turntable with a very heavy tracking force or let the LP play 24/7 resulting in a nice grey surface color throughout the record.

      Hi-hats have began the devolution into hissy noise and the more aggressive attacks of Miles’ horn have a slight but noticeable halo of fuzz. I also own two copies of Workin’ which appear to be in perfect shape except for telltale rings of tracking wear where the peak treble volumes occur.

      Does anybody have any hints or tricks for identifying/avoiding this kind of record when buying on ebay? It seems to me most sellers either studiously avoid mentioning significant wear or aren’t able to identify it when grading records.


      • I know that “grey”. I’m with Andrew, you can’t say for sure what it is unless you listen to it, which most online sellers don’t do, so you’re bound to run into it.

        I’ve also had LP’s that were played a lot and you could see some “grey”, but it still sounded ok,. Not perfect, but ok. So I guess it depends on if you paid NM prices or VG prices.

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