Given that Round About Midnight was Miles Davis' debut Columbia recording, it was both a beginning and an ending. Certainly the beginning of his recording career with the label that issued most if not all of his important recordings; and the recording debut of an exciting new band that had within its ranks Philly Joe Jones, Paul Chambers, pianist Red Garland, and an all but unknown tenor player named John Coltrane. The title track was chosen because of its unique rendition with a muted trumpet, debuted at the Newport Jazz Festival the summer before to a thunderous reception.
With the release of the spectral title tune, and the efforts of the Columbia marketing and publicity departments behind him, a thirty-year old Miles Davis entered into a period of extraordinary artistic maturity and growth. And Miles instinctively knew how to cultivate his star quality. Looming behind those shades, was the diffident, sensitive anti-hero–proud and defiant–who only spoke to his audience through his horn, and turned his back on them when the other soloists were blowing.
The combination of attitude and intellect was irresistible. Beginning with ROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT and proceeding through a remarkable succession of famous recordings over the next 30 years, Miles Davis became one of the greatest soloists, arrangers and talent scouts in the history of American music. People who didn't own a single jazz record came to know his name–Miles was a jazz icon.
The Levon Helm Band is making more than music in Woodstock, NY nestled in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, they are orchestrating a musical carnival known as The Midnight Ramble. The idea is to recreate, inside Levon Helm Studios, the traveling shows (like F.S. WalcottOs Rabbit Foot Minstrel show) that played in the South where Levon grew up as a boy, embracing the merging musical traditions of the time; blues, gospel, country, rock and roll, bluegrass, rockabilly, soul and jazz. Levon Helm (The Band, R.C.O All-Stars) made a career on stage and screen as a singer, drummer, band leader, writer and actor. He has assembled some of the premiere musicians on the East Coast to take part in the carnival. The room is a unique studio, all wooden (no nails only wooden pegs holding the barnOs towering hemlock beams together) with locally quarried bluestone and the ambiance of a church hall.