On October 6, Prestige Records will release Side Steps, a five-disc boxed set documenting John Coltrane’s work as a Prestige sideman for session leaders Sonny Rollins, Gene Ammons, Red Garland, Tadd Dameron and others. This is the third and final installment in a series of Coltrane boxed sets that Prestige began releasing three years ago. As with the two previous sets – 2006′s Fearless Leader and 2007′s Interplay - the 43 tracks on Side Steps were all recorded during Coltrane’s tenure on the Prestige imprint, from the mid- to late 1950s. Furthermore, Side Steps includes the entirety of Coltrane’s output as a Prestige sideman, except for his work with Miles Davis, all of which is available on 2006′s four-disc boxed set The Miles Davis Quintet: Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions.
”It is easy to measure Coltrane’s musical growth through his recordings with Miles, and as a leader, while at Prestige,” writes jazz historian Ashley Kahn in his extensive liner notes for the Side Steps collection. “But it is especially revealing to gauge his progress through impromptu studio sessions with a wider variety of musicians and music. They tested his increasing abilities, and allowed him to apply the techniques and confidence gained from Miles’ tight-lipped tutelage (and his later apprenticeship with Thelonious Monk). They also introduced his name to an expanding community of fans and fellow musicians, and permitted him entry into the rank and file of jazz players, many of whom were destined to become leaders and help shape the future of the music.”
In addition to Kahn’s own commentary, Side Steps also includes a transcript of an interview that Kahn conducted with Prestige founder Bob Weinstock.