Saturday, October 29, 2011


Cookin' With Miles Davis Quintet
Cookin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet is the first classic album of four total that emerged from two marathon and fruitful sessions recorded in 1956 (the other three discs released in Cookin’s wake were Workin’, Relaxin’ and Steamin’). All the albums were recorded live in the studio, as Davis sought to capture, with Rudy Van Gelder’s expert engineering, the sense of a club show á la the Café Bohemia in New York, with his new quintet, featuring tenor saxophonist John Coltrane. In Miles’s own words, he says he called this album Cookin’ because “that’s what we did—came in and cooked.” What’s particularly significant about this Davis album is his first recording of what became a classic tune for him: “My Funny Valentine.” Hot playing is also reserved for the uptempo number “Tune Up,” which revs with the zoom of both the leader and Trane.

Relaxin' With Miles Davis Quintet
Relaxin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet is in every way a masterpiece. When the trumpeter (1926-1991) had formed the band in 1955, his colleagues—tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones—were not considered jazz-world A-listers. And before conquering his narcotics addiction earlier in the Fifties, Davis had seen his once-promising career go into eclipse. By 1956, however, his sound, especially when muted, was an achingly personal counterpart to the vocals of Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra. Relaxin’ (plus its Prestige companions, Miles, Cookin’, Workin’, and Steamin’) reestablished Davis, and elevated his quintet as the gold standard of small groups.
With its accent on bright tempos, from medium-bounce to crisply up, Relaxin’ remains one of Davis’s sunniest outings, a prime example of one of the outstanding ensembles of the 20th century reaching the summit of their artistry.

Workin' With Miles Davis Quintet
Undeniably one of the best small bands in the history of jazz, the Miles Davis quintet of the mid-1950s made history at the Cafe Bohemia on Manhattan's Barrow Street and in the New Jersey studio of Rudy Van Gelder for Prestige. This is the third in a series of four LPs taped in two marathon studio sessions, done in the style of sets at the Bohemia and producing music of high energy and immediacy. Preceded by Cookin' and Relaxin' , Workin' is a mix of standards and originals, up-tempos and ballads, and a trio number, "Ahmad's Blues." The music this quintet made in the mid-Fifties period will live forever: the excitement of the emerging John Coltrane; the informed, melodic swing of Red Garland; the tremendous snap and pop of the rhythm trio of Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones; and Miles's poignancy and intense swing.

Steamin' With Miles Davis Quintet
Of Miles Davis's many bands, none was more influential and popular than the quintet with John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones. Davis's muted ballads and medium-tempo standards endeared him to the public. The horns' searing exposition of classics like "Salt Peanuts" and "Well, You Needn't" captivated musicians. The searching, restless improvisations of Coltrane intrigued listeners who had a taste for adventure. The flawless rhythm section became a model for bands everywhere. Steamin' is a significant portion of the music of this remarkable group.

1. My Funny Valentine 6:04
2. Blues By Five 10:23
3. Airegin 4:24
4. Medley: Tune-Up / When Lights Are Low 13:10

1. If I Were A Bell 8:15
2. You're My Everything 5:18
3. I Could Write A Book 5:11
4. Oleo 6:22
5. It Could Happen To You 6:37
6. Woody'n You 5:01

1. It Never Entered My Mind 5:22
2. Four 4:23
3. In Your Own Sweet Way 5:42
4. The Theme (Take 1) 2:01
5. Trane's Blues 8:33
6. Ahmad's Blues 7:24
7. Half Nelson 4:45
8. The Theme (Take 2) 1:05

1. Surrey With The Fringe On Top 9:05
2. Salt Peanuts 6:09
3. Something I Dreamed Last Night 6:15
4. Diane 7:49
5. Well, You Needn’t 6:19
6. When I Fall In Love 4:23

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