The Musings Of Miles Miles Davis

Cover The Musings Of Miles

Album info

Album-Release:
1955

HRA-Release:
27.05.2014

Label: Concord Music Group

Genre: Jazz

Subgenre: Bebop

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)

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  • 1Will You Still Be Mine06:25
  • 2I See Your Face Before Me04:47
  • 3I Didn't06:08
  • 4Gal In Calico05:18
  • 5A Night In Tunisia07:24
  • 6Green Haze05:50
  • Total Runtime35:52

Info for The Musings Of Miles

By the time Miles Davis recorded „The Musings Of Miles“ on June 7, 1955, he'd expanded and refined his approach to the bop idiom which had nurtured him, and the cool approach--which he'd championed. He learned to refine and edit his line, discovered what aspects of his style were derivative and which were truly his own, and, most importantly, zeroed in on his own signature sound and style of phrasing.

„The Musings Of Miles“ is a quartet dry run for the first Miles Davis Quintet, which became the most popular, influential band of the 1950s. Already on hand are pianist Red Garland--with his elegant closed voicings and driving comp--and drum innovator Joseph Rudolph Jones (Philly Joe to you). Bassist Oscar Pettiford, who rounds out the quartet, is also a great innovator, perhaps a generation removed from Miles and his young turks. Listen especially to how he makes the band sound on 'Green Haze,' a slow, after hours blues. Miles employs gorgeous long tones and smears, heroically laid-back (a la Billie Holiday), as Garland feeds him lush block chords. Pettiford constructs his solo from a succession of arpeggios, in the manner of Coleman Hawkins. Compare his short attack and centered, uniform beat, with the more resonant, bell-like attack and complex beat of Paul Chambers on this and subsequent recordings of 'A Night In Tunisia.' And dig Miles' nod to his mentor with a Dizzyish ascent into the upper register after several relaxed choruses.

Miles Davis, trumpet
Red Garland, piano
Oscar Pettiford, bass
Philly Joe Jones, drums

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on June 7, 1955

Digitally remastered

Trumpeter Miles Davis grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois, just across the river from St. Louis, Missouri. His parents were affluent, and had the means to support his musical studies as a boy. He began playing the cornet at age nine, and received his first trumpet at around twelve or thirteen. He studied classical technique, and focused mainly on using a rich, clear tone, something that helped define his sound in later years.

As a teenager, he played in various bands in St. Louis, which was rich with jazz, as big bands often stopped there on tours throughout the Midwest and southern states. The most important experience he had was when he was asked to play in the Billy Eckstine band for a week as a substitute. The group included Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sara Vaughan. After playing with these stars, Davis knew he had to move to New York to be at the heart of the jazz scene.

In Pursuit of Parker:

In 1944 Davis moved to New York City where he had earned a scholarship to study trumpet at the Juilliard School of Music. Upon arriving however, he sought after Charlie Parker, and meanwhile spent all of his time in jazz clubs listening to bebop. He was transfixed on the music, and grew utterly bored with his classical studies. After less than a year at Juilliard, he dropped out and tried his hand at performing jazz. Although not particularly stunning, his playing was good enough to finally attract Charlie Parker, and Davis joined his quintet in 1945. He was often criticized for sounding inexperienced, and was compared unfavorably to Dizzy Gillespie and Fats Navarro, who were the leading trumpeters at the time. Both boasted stellar technique and range, neither of which Davis possessed. In spite of this, he made a lasting impression on those who heard him, and his career was soon set aloft.

Cool Jazz and a Rise to Fame:

Encouraged by composer and arranger Gil Evans, Davis formed a group in 1949 that consisted of nine musicians, including Lee Konitz and Gerry Mulligan. The group was larger than most bebop ensembles, and featured more detailed arrangements. The music was characterized by a more subdued mood than earlier styles, and came to be known as cool jazz. In 1949 Davis released the album Birth of the Cool (Captiol Records). Change of artistic direction became central to Davis’ long and increasingly influential career. After dabbling in hard bop as a leader on four Prestige recordings featuring John Coltrane, he signed with Columbia records and made albums that featured Gil Evans’ arrangements for 19-piece orchestra. These were Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess, Sketches of Spain, and Quiet Nights. He rose in popularity with these recordings, in part due to his signature sound, which he often enhanced by using a Harmon mute.

Kind of Blue and Beyond:

In 1959 Davis made his pivotal recording, Kind of Blue. It was a departure from all of his previous projects, abandoning complicated melodies for tunes that were sometimes only composed of two chords. This style became known as modal jazz, and it allows the soloist expressive freedom since he does not have to negotiate complex harmonies. Kind of Blue also featured John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, and Bill Evans. The album is one of the most influential in jazz, and is Columbia Records’ best-selling jazz record of all time. In the mid 1960s Davis changed directions again, forming a group with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, and Ron Carter. This group was known for the excellence of each individual member, and also for its unique performance approach. Each night the tunes would sound different, as the musicians would sometimes only loosely adhere to the song structures, and often transition from one right into the next. Each player was given the chance to develop his solos extensively. Like all of Davis’ previous groups, this quintet was highly influential.

Late Career:

Despite health problems, drug addiction, and strained personal relationships, Davis continued to play, changing his approach with each new project. In the late 60s and 70s, he began to experiment with electronic instruments, and grooves that were tinged with rock and funk music. Two famous recordings from this period are In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew. By the time the 1980s rolled around, Davis was not only a jazz legacy, but a pop icon, whose music, persona, and fashion style were legendary. Davis died in 1991, as perhaps the most influential jazz artist ever. His vast body of work continues to be a source of inspiration for today’s musicians. (Jacob Teichroew, About.com Guide)

Booklet for The Musings Of Miles

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