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The Miles Davis All-Stars - Broadcast Sessions: 1958-59

Broadcast Sessions: 1958-59

The Miles Davis All-Stars

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A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

This is guaranteed to quicken the heartbeat of all hard-core jazz fans. Look at the gents in the line-ups! Cannonball Adderly and brother Nat, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Joe Jones, Red Garland, Gerry Mulligan, Paul Chambers, and a stellar array of gentlemen who figured into the legend's and the genre's history. The recordings are taken from performances in clubs utilized for radio broadcast, so there's a simultaneous rawness and elegance that was a hallmark of the period, especially in Miles' work. Catch Wynton Marsalis' Village Vanguard sessions if you want a modern equivalent.

The selections for Broadcast Session were captured around the ultra-classic Milestones years, showing everyone in top shape. Miles had hit it hot shortly before the dates at the Newport Jazz Fest, becoming an instant property. Nothing he or his ensemble did was less than innovative, and Chambers' arco interlude, the bowed bass solo in Two Bass Hit, demonstrates that quite nicely. Though we now regard this work as prime, it was then looked upon, as the announcer reports (filtered in for heightened authenticity), as "controversial"—that is to say, well ahead of its time.

Coltrane had been in and out of the band—Miles canned him for drug use (Davis had himself just gotten clean)—but the saxist kicked and got back in, showing tasty licks here, always Miles' counterpoint, especially when doubling with Cannonball. Evans appears on the first four cuts but Garland slotted in beautifully after him, not missing a beat and more boppish. Monk's Straight, No Chaser is the wildest cut of the 70-minute set, with everyone taking broad liberties in their own inimitable styles, though What is This Thing Called Love?, with its nonet and three percussionists, isn't exactly Mantovani either. There's a killer guitar solo in there unfortunately going unattributed.

This CD whisks the listener back to the old Harlem / NYC jazz days with its dark, glistening, rainsoaked streets and misty alleys, a pastiche straight out of an old Edward G. Robinson flick, but, 50 years later, the music is just as vital as it ever was. That was Miles' gift: he wrote for the ages. I'm always curious why it took so damn long for materials like this to surface and see print but also take care not to get too pissed about it: after all, had everyone been releasing their entire backlog of such gems, I'd be broke by now………but very very happy.

Track List:

  • Four (Miles Davis)
  • Bye Bye Blackbird (Henderson / Dixon)
  • Walkin' (Richard Carpenter)
  • Two Bass Hit (Gillespie / Lewis)
  • Sids Ahead (Miles Davis)
  • Bye Bye Blackbird (Henderson / Dixon)
  • Straight, No Chaser (Thelonius Monk)
  • What is This Thing Called Love (Cole Porter)
  • Bag's Groovbe (Milt Jackson)
  • All of You (Cole Porter)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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