Unless you frequented jazz clubs in Baltimore or Philly in the fall of 1955, this would have been your first exposure to the Miles Davis-John Coltrane collaboration (a few tracks recorded for Columbia, the label Miles would soon be joining exclusively, a few weeks before this session weren't issued until much later). Davis settled on Coltrane as his replacement for the departing Sonny Rollins almost by default - no one else fit the bill or new the book. That they would stay together long seemed unlikely because their temperaments differed so much (Davis was a hands-off leader, Coltrane wanted constant input from Miles on his playing and music in general).
STABLEMATES (a Benny Golson tune) is the track that seems to draw the most attention. It's an excellent composition, and although Coltrane sounds somewhat tentative (nervous?), the performance is attractive. But my favorite side is THERE IS NO GREATER LOVE, even though Coltrane sits this one out: Miles plays beautifully, and I love the emotion he wrings from the tune.
True, this is an early effort by the group that would transform modern jazz, but it's a very good session nonetheless. The group plays well, the rhythm section is rock solid, and they are all off and running. Full speed ahead! A solid find for fan of Miles Davis, or historian of jazz.
Just Squeeze Me
There Is No Greater Love
How Am I To Know?
Miles Davis - Trumpet
John Coltrane - Tenor Sax
Red Garland - Piano
Paul Chambers - Bass
Philly Joe Jones - Drums
Liner notes by Ira Gitler
Recorded by Rudy Van Gelder
Recorded on the Prestige Label in 1955. This is a later issue and is catalog number P-7014.
After his supposed "comeback" at the 1955 Newport Festival, Miles Davis realized it was finally time to form a working band. The group that he formed, one of the most important jazz units of the 1950s, is the "New Miles Davis Quintet" of the album title. And though the group had already made a session for Columbia a few weeks earlier, this album (recorded in November '55) was the first taste many fans had of Davis's new group.
The result was pretty remarkable, particularly when you consider the five albums the quintet would record for Prestige and Columbia the following year. Tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, who until this point was almost completely unknown, has some interesting ideas but sounds tentative. The rhythm section (Red Garland, Paul Chambers, Philly Joe Jones) swings but isn't quite as tight as on later recordings. Miles's playing, on both open and mute trumpet, is on par with what you'd expect at this point in his career. The song selection involves a couple of standards and one bebop classic (Benny Golson's "Stablemates").
This LP features the initial recordings by Davis' first great group of Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, Philly Joe Jones on drums, and John Coltrane on tenor. In the next two years this quintet would record "'Round About Midnight" for Columbia and the marathon sessions for Prestige that produced the landmark albums Cookin', Workin', Steamin', and Relaxin'.
Recorded four years before "Kind of Blue" this album is dominated by Miles laidback trumpet, which he plays muted for the first four tracks. Coltrane is uneven and his solos are relatively pedestrian as he was in the "searching period" of his carrer, still a couple of years from his breakthrough "sheets of sound" innovations. Gardland, Jones, and Chambers are rock solid throughout, providing a tight swing for the hornmen to work over.
A highlight is "The Theme", which is kicked off with a nimble bass solo by Chambers who is followed by two solid solos by Miles that are split by one from Coltrane. This is an entertaining and essential recording that is of historical interest, as it offers a look at this influential group at its formative stage. Newcomers should check out some of Miles' additional works, while diehard Davis fans and completeists will search it out for its historical value.
This is a rare glimpse into musicians beginning to shape their sound and vision. Miles is the leader, but each band member is bringing something unique to the studio in what quickly will become highly-anticipated sessions that yield extraordinary music.
This album no longer sealed shrinkwrap developed a tear. Jacket is in new condition, zero edge wear, no split seams, no bar code.
Will come with clear jacket protector as well as a Mo-Fi Inner Sleeve.
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