THE BEST OF MILES DAVIS AND JOHN COLTRANE (1955-1961)
Miles Davis-Trumpet,John Coltrane-Tenor Saxophone,Hank Mobley-Tenor Saxophone
(9) Red Garland (1-6),Bill Evans (7-8),Wynton Kelly (9)-Piano,Paul
Chambers-Bass,Philly Joe Jones (1-6),Jimmy Cobb (7-9)-Drums.
Track 1-1955, 2-4 1956, 5&6 1958, 7&8 1959, 9-1961.
CK 61090 Miles 75th Anniversary
|1. Two Bass Hit
2. Dear Old Stockholm
3. Bye Bye Blackbird
4. 'Round Midnight
5. Straight No Chaser
7. So What
8.Blue In Green
9. Some Day My Prince Will Come
Perhaps one of the most significant contributions of Miles Davis to jazz
was his introduction and establishment of a series offine instrumentalists
through his live performances and recordings. This disc obviously features
the work of John Coltrane in this context.
Coltrane had two main periods with Davis, the first being from
1955-56. In 1957 Coltrane worked almost exclusively in the quartet led
by the pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. His second tenure with
the Davis band was from 1958-59, although he performed and recorded
with Miles on a more casual basis until 1961.
Tracks 1-4 are interesting as they chart Coltrane's development from a neo-bopper
to his arrival at what critic Ira Gitler refered to as his "sheets of sound"
style. This was basically a method of cramming many substitute chord
changes and derived scale patterns into his improvisations and playing them
at great speed with astonishing clarity and dexterity. This is the style
that has, in one way or another, influencedthe vast majority of
subsequent jazz tenor players and indeed, to some degree, most
performers on whatever their instrument. The later tracks on this disc
illustrate this mmethod of playing at its full fruition-a newcomer to the
music might well consider following this recording by listening to Coltrane's
"Giant Steps". (Recorded in 1959)
Miles Davis was ceretainly at one of the peaks of his career throught the
years of these performances. His playing, both muted and open, is
a model of economy. His style here relies far more onthe careful and
unsual placement of notes and on various tonal devices such as smearing and
bending the pitch.
An extra bonus on many of the tracks is the presence of Cannonball Adderley
on alto saxophone. He serves as an antidote to the intensity of Coltrane
and to the dark broodings of Davis. His style is full of "bluesy" inflexions
whilst still managing to convey the impression of joyous abandon and
enthusiasm. I have always felt that Adderley was easily the equal of
his contemporaries on these recordings. His solo on "Milestones" must
rank highly on my list of all-time favourite moments in recorded jazz.
Another favourite player, Hank Mobley, is featured on "Someday
My Prince Will Come". This is not Mobley at his most assured, but
his performance is still well worth a listen. Mobley can be
heard, with Coltrane, to far better advantage on his own disc "Tenor
Conclave". (This recording also includes Al Cohn and Zoot Sims , but
I feel Mobley outplays the others in terms of coherency of thought and
To anyone not over familiar with Miles Davis and John Coltrane this disc
provides a fascinating introduction. The rhythm sections are superb
and there some excellent piano solos throughout-particularly from the sadly
almost forgotten Red Garland.
The remastering is first-rate and the presentation, complete with new
liner notes and rare photographs, is excellent.
D.S. is a professional reed player and teacher living in