Friday, December 18, 2009
Miles DAVIS - Steamin With The Miles Davis Quintet 1956
1974 Remastered Lp.
Steamin' is the last of the classic albums Prestige Records released from various sessions trumpeter Miles Davis recorded between November 1955 and October 1956 with his historic "first" quintet, including tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones. Together with Cookin' (also available in an audiophile format), Relaxin' (also available in an audiophile format), and Workin' (also available in an audiophile format), Steamin' completes a series of memorable recordings masterfully engineered by Rudy Van Gelder that remains a definitive manifesto from the hard-bop era. One dynamic that gave this quintet its distinctive edge is the contrast between Davis's introspective playing on ballads ("When I Fall In Love," "Something I Dreamed Last Night") and Coltrane's hard-blowing passion ("Salt Peanuts," "Well You Needn't"). Another is the interplay between Garland, Chambers, and Jones, who are not only consummate accompanists, but all-star soloists as well. The version of "Surrey with the Fringe on Top" here is a quintessential performance by this remarkable quintet.
By Mitchell Feldman.
This classic Prestige session (one of four cut for the label by Davis' first permanent group) has been reissued many times. Davis is heard with his classic quintet of 1956 (which featured tenor-saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones) performing six numbers, all of which are somewhat memorable. Highpoints are Surrey with the Fringe on Top, Diane and When I Fall in Love; Davis's muted tone rarely sounded more beautiful. 6 tracks.
Although chronologically the last to be issued, this collection includes some of the best performances from the tapes which would produce the albums Cookin', Relaxin', Workin', and ultimately, Steamin'. A primary consideration of these fruitful sessions is the caliber of musicians -- Miles Davis (trumpet), Red Garland (piano), John Coltrane (tenor sax), and Philly Joe Jones (drums) -- who were basically doing their stage act in the studio. As actively performing musicians, the material they are most intimate with would be their live repertoire. Likewise, what more obvious place than a studio is there to capture every inescapable audible nuance of the combo's musical group mind. The end results are consistently astonishing. At the center of Steamin', as with most outings by this band, are the group improvisations which consist of solo upon solo of arguably the sweetest and otherwise most swinging interactions known to have existed between musicians. "Surrey With the Fringe on Top" is passed between the mates like an old joke. Garland compliments threads started by Davis and Coltrane as their seamless interaction yields a stream of strikingly lyrical passages. There are two well-placed nods to fellow bop pioneers Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie on a revision of their "Salt Peanuts." Philly Joe Jones' mimicking cymbal speak -- which replicates Gillespie's original vocals -- is nothing short of genius. This rendition is definitely as crazy and unpredictable here as the original. Thelonious Monk also gets kudos on "Well, You Needn't." This quintet makes short work of the intricacies of the arrangement, adding the double horn lead on the choruses and ultimately redefining this jazz standard. Although there is no original material on Steamin', it may best represent the ability of the Miles Davis quintet to take standards and rebuild them to suit their qualifications.
By Lindsay Planer. AMG.
Miles Davis- (Trumpet),
Red Garland- (Piano),
John Coltrane- (Tenor Sax),
Philly Joe Jones- (Drums).
A1. Surrey With the Fringe on Top 9:04
A2. Salt Peanuts 6:07
A3. Something I Dreamed Last Night 6:13
B1. Diane 7:49
B2. Well, You Needn't 6:18
B3. When I Fall in Love 4:24