2. Bye Bye Blackbird
3. All Of You
4. No Blues
5. Bye Bye/The Theme
6. Love, I've Found You
1. Well, You Needn't?
3. So What
5. If I Were a Bell
Miles Davis - Trumpet
Hank Mobley - Tenor sax
Wynton Kelly - Piano
Paul Chambers - Bass
Jimmy Cobb - Drums
These tracks have been reissued so often, and in so many forms, that
it is difficult to know exactly what you are getting. In fact this
double CD only includes the contents of the original LPs, which were
released in 1961, the year that they were recorded. Later versions
contained as many as 13 extra tracks - enough to fill four CDs, with
some tracks longer than on the LPs.
This was a historic recording in that it was the first time that Miles
Davis's quintet was recorded playing live at a club. However, I don't
share many critics' view that it was historic because of the high
level of MIles's playing. Most of his solos seem to be struggling
for ideas, with long gaps between phrases, and he commits too many
fluffs to count. In contrast, Hank Mobley is not only fluent but also
inventive in his tenor solos. Miles made some caustic remarks about
the tenor player but technically Mobley outpaces Davis. And the rhythm
section is as near-perfect as one could wish, with Wynton Kelly binding
his colleagues' solos together with judicious accompaniment, while
Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb provide a faultless engine-room.
The opening track Walkin' illustrates all these elements.
Miles loses the beat in his introduction to the tune, and his solo
is littered with phrases which seem to be marking time rather than
making a statement. Wynton Kelly salvages some parts of Miles's solo
with sympathetc punctuation. One feels much more secure when Mobley
and then Kelly enter for their solos, and Paul Chambers' arco bass
solo is virtuosic. Miles turns the coda into a mess.
Davis seems more settled in Bye Bye Blackbird but his intonation
is problematical, and his fragmentary solo is as likely to result
from poor technique as from choice. I could say the same about nearly
every track in this collection. At times his trumpet tone is painfully
shrill. Frankly I don't understand the uncritical stance which many
critics adopt towards his playing. This emperor was wearing fewer
clothes than many trendy reviewers imagine.