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




Blue Classic Line

 

MILES DAVIS

PORTRAIT

BLUE CLASSIC LINE

Saban Crescendo 7266

 

 

    1. Floppy
    2. Willie The Wailer
    3. For Adults Only
    4. Compulsion
    5. Tempus Fugit
    6. Tune Up
    7. Down
    8. Morpheus
    9. Blue Room
    10. Whispering
    11. Dig
    12. Itís Only a Paper Moon
    13. Out Of the Blue
    14. Denial
    15. Tasty Pudding

These tracks were recorded in the period 1951 to 1953 and each has Miles in lively and interesting company. The first three tracks have Miles in Company with Al Cohn and Zoot Sims no less in 1953, John Lewis is the pianist and Sonny Truit is on trombone. The top soloists on the first track are the two tenor men with Zoot followed by Al. Personally I preferred Milesí work of this period to his later stuff and this group has a nice clean ensemble sound.

Track 4 has Sonny Rollins and Charlie Parker on tenor; Parker recorded little on tenor, so that makes this an unusual track. The ensemble playing is again neat and well rehearsed and everyone solos well. Parker plays the first tenor chorus, but in truth there is not a great deal of difference between his playing and that of Rollins here.

Tempus Fugit has some excellent trumpet from Davis, this time partnered by J J Johnson on trombone and Jimmy Heath on tenor, Miles is the outstanding soloist here, but J Jís solo is full of his usual good humour.

Tune Up featured in Milesí programme for years and this version with John Lewis, Percy Heath and Max Roach shows his trumpet skills off to good effect.

Tracks 7 & 8 with a front line of Sonny Rollins and Bennie Green have a very similar ensemble sound to the first 3 tracks and once again the ensemble work is tight. Blue Room has the same line up without Sonny Rollins. It has taken at a slow tempo, which does not seem to suit the tune, part of the melancholy that was always around Miles perhaps. Sonny Rollins returns for Whispering, this time the tempo is appropriate, Miles states the theme and there are good choruses from Bennie Green and Sonny Rollins as well as the leader. Tracks 11 to 14 have Jackie McLean joining the band on alto, Sonny Rollins is on tenor and this is a nice bebop band.

The final track Tasty Pudding has the same line up as the first track and is one of the best on the album.

This album gives a good impression of the playing of Miles Davies in this period, with various sidemen, in the days when he was a good swinging jazz trumpet player. I enjoyed it.

Don Mather

 

 



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