Workin' is the third in a series of four featuring the classic Miles Davis Quintet: Davis (trumpet), John Coltrane (tenor sax), Red Garland (piano), and Philly Joe Jones (drums). Like its predecessors Cookin' and Relaxin', Workin' is the product of not one -- as mythology would claim -- but two massively productive recording sessions in May and October of 1956, respectively.
Contradicting the standard methodology of preparing fresh material for upcoming albums, Davis and company used their far more intimate knowledge of the tunes the quintet was performing live to inform their studio recordings. As was often the case with Davis, the antithesis of the norm is the rule. Armed with some staggering original compositions, pop standards, show tunes, and the occasional jazz cover, Workin' is the quintessence of group participation.
Davis, as well as Coltrane, actually contributes compositions as well as mesmerizing performances to the album. The band's interaction on "Four" extends the assertion that suggests this quintet plays with the consistency of a single, albeit ten-armed, musician. One needs listen no further than the stream of solos from Davis, Coltrane, Garland, and Jones, with Paul Chambers chasing along with his rhythmic metronome. Beneath the smouldering bop of "Trane's Blues" are some challenging chord progressions that are tossed from musician to musician with deceptive ease. Chambers' solo stands as one of his defining contributions to this band.
In sly acknowledgement to the live shows from which these studio recording sessions were inspired, Davis concludes both sets (read: album sides) with "The Theme" -- a brief and mostly improvised tune -- indicating to patrons that the tab must be settled. In this case, settling the tab might include checking out Steamin', the final Miles Davis Quintet recording to have been culled from these historic sessions. Very highly recommended for any serious jazz library.
It Never Entered My Mind
In Your Own Sweet Way
The Theme [Take One]
The Theme [Take Two]
Miles Davis - Trumpet
John Coltrane - Tenor Sax
Red Garland - Piano
Paul Chambers - Bass
Philly Joe Jones - Drums
Recorded by Rudy Van Gelder.
Recorded 1956 on the Prestige Label. This was last issued in 1987 and is catalog number P-7166. This is a reissue from that time period.
This Lp, along with his three other classic Prestige albums - Cookin', Steamin', and Relaxin'- is from Miles' first classic Quintet; one of the greatest small goups in jazz history, right up there with the Hot Fives and Sevens and the Kansas City Six. This set is one of the strongest of the four Lps (although, if you like one, you really should get all four) with the surpassing beauty of "It Never Entered My Mind," followed with "Four" - (a beatiful bit of relaxed yet spirited blowing) typifying the cohesion and remarkable flexibility of the band and it's way with both ballads and up- tempo numbers; standards and originals. Miles is really in his early prime and 'Trane is rapidly finding his voice - already showing the searching, adventurous brilliance the Miles had seen in him as a young man and that he would expand on with "Blue Trane" and his appearance in "Kind of Blue" and, of course, take to unbelievable peaks on Atlantic and Impulse. Don't overlook "the best rhythm section in Jazz," either. The interplay of the young Paul Chambers on bass, the somewhat underappreciated Red Garland on piano and the always wonderful Philly Joe Jones on drums really drives the music and is constantly flawless.
In my view, Miles' playing on "It Never Entered My Mind" is some of the most emotional playing he ever did..add to that Garland's superbly understated piano and Paul Chambers going so far as to use a bow on his bass to make it "cry" at the end of the piece, and the emotions come out and then some. A true tour de force for this lp.
No less amazing, and a lot more fun, is Red Garland, Chambers, and drummr Philly Joe Jones working out on Ahmad Jamal's (Miles' favorite piano player) "Ahmad's Blues," in a tight trio setting. The 3 were a great match, with Garland's sublime playing carrying the day. A wonderful selection.
Davis' originals "Half Nelson, " Four," and "The Theme" (which will close all Davis concerts from that point until 1973)all show Davis' impeccible sense of time and space, and all will become concert staples.
A model for Jazz bands everywhere in the 50's, this music can, and should be enjoyed by all fans of the genre.
Vinyl plays completely, very,very low surface noise. Jacket is in new condition, zero edge wear, no split seams, no bar code.
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