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

Miles Davies

Early Milestones

Original recordings 1945-1949

Naxos Jazz Legends 8.120607




Crotchet
superbudget
    1. Thriving On a Riff
    2. Billie’s Bounce
    3. Cheryl
    4. Chasin’ the Bird
    5. Buzzy
    6. Sippin’ at Bell’s
    7. Milestones
    8. Little Willie Leaps
    9. Klaunstance
    10. Bird Get’s the Worm
    11. Constellation
    12. Ah-Leu-Cha
    13. Perhaps
    14. Marmaduke
    15. Steeplechase
    16. Merry-Go-Round
    17. Bud-O
    18. Jeru
    19. Godchild
    20. Move

Miles Davies – Trumpet, Charlie Parker – Alto & Max Roach - Drums are on all tracks 1to16

Tracks 17 to 20 Davies – Trumpet Kai Winding – Trombone Junior Collins – French horn Bill Barber – tuba Lee Konitz – Alto Gerry Mulligan – Baritone Al Haig – Piano Joe Shulman – Bass Max Roach – Drums

The absolute stars of this album are David Lennick and Graham Newton, who produced such an amazing sound quality using just the original Savoy 78’s as basic material!

The album is very well produced in its entirety and ought to be compulsory listening for anyone who aspires to play jazz. It also confirms something that I have long suspected that Charlie Parker was a much more important figure in the development of jazz than Davies, who did not provide anything like the level of excitement that Gillespie had brought previously. That isn’t to say of course that Miles wasn’t an important figure in jazz, of course he was. He just seems to me to have been credited with much more influence in the development of the music than perhaps he deserves. This is however the most listenable Parker collection I have come across. Parker is my man, but many of his records, which are for sale, are so poor in recording quality as to make listening a painful experience. Max Roach is his usual reliable self throughout and curiously Diz is on piano on track 1.

On tracks 6,7 & 8 Parker plays Tenor demonstrating that he would have been a tenor star as well if he had decided to play the instrument more often.

The last four tracks are amazing for their time, this was the West Coast ‘Cool School’, long before it had been invented. Recent research has shown that Gerry Mulligan had a much greater influence on these sessions than had been previously thought. Whilst pondering this it occurred to me what a marvellous partner Miles would have made for Mulligan in the Quartet. There is quite a similarity between his playing and that of Chet Baker, who also played with Parker at one time.

This album is an essential in the serious jazz collector’s library, congratulations to Naxos!

Don Mather



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