The two and a half years represented in this mammoth collection made up a period of great activity and development for young John Coltrane. It was a time in which he worked in the Miles Davis Quintet, then joined Thelonious Monk for his historic Five Spot engagement, and then took his place in the legendary 1958 Miles Davis Sextet. It was a time in which he grew from a somewhat promising tenor player to a supernova about to burst upon the jazz world. It was also a span during which Trane traveled with great regularity to the original New Jersey location of the Rudy Van Gelder Studio, taking part in no less than 25 lengthy Prestige recording sessions.
Coltrane is heard here as leader of his own first albums, as a co-leader, as participant in a number of free-for-all jam sessions, as featured sideman, as frequent collaborator with Red Garland and Donald Byrd–actually in all his Prestige contexts except as a Miles Davis sideman (since those sessions are presently available in the boxed set of Miles's complete recordings for the label). There are 125 selections on these 16 compact discs, totaling almost 1100 minutes of music, an invaluable segment of the full story of one of the truly great creative jazz artists of all times.