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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke


MILES DAVIS
'ROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT
Miles Davis-Trumpet, John Coltrane-Tenor Saxophone, Red Garland-Piano, Paul Chambers-Bass, Philly Joe Jonnes-Drums. 
Recored New York 1955-6
Columbia/Legacy CK85201 Miles 75th Anniversary Edition
Crotchet  £8. 99

1. Round Midnight
2. Ah-Leu-Cha
3. All Of You
4. Bye Bye Blackbird
5. Tadd's Delight
6. Dear Old Stockholm
*7. Two Bass Hit
*8. Melonae
*9. Budo
*10. Sweet Sue, Just You
* Bonus Tracks

These recordings illustrate the music of one of Miles Davis' classic quintets and mark John Coltrane's first tenure with the band. The material is an interesting mixture of modern jazz tunes and standards with the exception of "Dear Old Stockholm" which is a traditional tune perhaps more famously associated with Stan Getz. This album also marks the debut of Miles Davis for Columbia Records - a partnership which lasted for the rest of Davis' life. 

The playing of Davis is assured throughouy these recordings. He plays muted on many tracks and the characteristic pauses and laying back on phrases are beginning to become more obvious in his performances. He rarely feels the need to use a multi-noted "bop" style. The title track is the epitomy of his style at this time -tight-muted, brooding lines complete with the odd split note but still a masterpiece of melodic economy. On "Ah-Leu-Cha", written by Charlie Parker, he sounds much more in control than when he recorded it with the composer. This track features some interesting contrapuntal lines between the trumpet and the saxophone. 

John Coltrane's style of playing was,  at this time ,  very much in a state of flux. There still many "bop" nuances in the manner of Mobley, Rollins and Stitt-particularly in his rhythmic patterns. At other points the beginnings of the "sheets of sound" conceptcan be heard. After this sojourn with Davis, Coltrane spent the best part of a year playing every night with Thelonious Monk at the Five Spot. Subsequently his multi-noted style was much more in evidence and had achieved greater maturity.  Red Garland was simply one of the best pianists around at this time-both as a solist and as an accompanist. His contributions here are always apt and stimulating.  Chambers and Jones were as good a bass and drums combination as any available and here interact to perfection. Philly Joe, in particular, always seemed to have the ability to drive a band without over-emphasising his role.  The choice of the standards "Bye Bye Blackbird" and "Sweet Sue"are almost worthy, in their obliqueness of selection, of Sonny Rollins. They are not at all what one would expect from this group at this time. "Sweet Sue"was recorded for an album by Leonard Bernstein which illustrated an Omnibus television program explaining the various styles of jazz. It would be difficult to recognise the tune without prior knowledge, as it is a complete re-vamp.  This album represents essential listening for any Davis or Coltrane enthusiast or indeed anyone interested in the music of this era. 

Dick Stafford. 

D. S.  is a professional reed player and teacher living in Coventry. 



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