Miles Davis’ 20-year association as an artist at impresario George Wein’s renowned Newport Jazz Festival is a thriving tradition celebrated with the release of MILES DAVIS AT NEWPORT 1955-1975: THE BOOTLEG SERIES VOL. 4, released 60 years to the date since Davis’ breakthrough performance at Newport in 1955. The four-CD box set is comprised of live performances by Miles’ stellar band lineups in 1955, 1958, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1973, and 1975, in Newport, Rhode Island, New York City, Berlin, and Switzerland. (All tracks previously unreleased, except where otherwise indicated).
All of the surviving music from the Miles Davis Quintet’s Newport sets of 1966 and 1967 - all previously unissued. Both sets were taken from the original live radio broadcasts and present exactly the same personnel. As a bonus, this disc adds the only two surviving tracks from the same quintet’s performance in Helsinki on November 1, 1967. Miles Davis’ music was (as almost always throughout his career) going through a transitional period in 1966. His quintet, featuring Shorter, Hancock, Carter and Williams, was on the verge of removing standards from the repertoire, to make room for Miles’ compositions, and the group itself would soon change from an acoustic to an electric format.
This CD is masterful. A wonderful opportunity for those who already know Miles and Monk to hear more of the kind of sound you love. Two giants at their best in a live recording. If you are unfamiliar with the music of these two greats, this CD is a fantastic introduction to their sound. One word of caution, however, though this is a great CD recording of Miles and Monk together, it is by no means the last word, or note, on the kind of music the artists are, or were, capable of. This CD only demonstrates a tiny facet of the broad repertoires of Miles and Monk.
Thanks to the research that went into the box set The Complete Miles Davis/John Coltrane Sessions there's a the definitive Newport 1958 date that features the debut live performances to the Miles Davis Sextet's two newest members: drummer Jimmy Cobb and pianist Bill Evans. The gig was part of a festival tribute to Duke Ellington, but that didn't stop Davis from showing off – aggressively – what his new band was capable of (six months later he would show the world when the band went to record Kind of Blue). This is a revelatory performance for fans of Evans. When Cobb kicks off into Charlie Parker's "Au-Leu-Cha," the tempo is breakneck. Davis' solo is all fire, pure heat, and inspiration. The melody goes by in a blink, and Cobb and Chambers carry the dictum to go faster as Davis gives way first to Coltrane, already moving his angular lines to the harmonic breaking point and doing them not in scales but in modes, fast and footloose.
Relaxin' with The Miles Davis Quintet was recorded in 1956, and is considered by many to be among the best performances and recordings of hard bop jazz. This album is a part of the Rudy Van Gelder Remasters series; these albums have been remastered by Rudy Van Gelder (the original session engineer). Recorded May 11 and October 26, 1956 at Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey.
Cookin' With the Miles Davis Quintet is the first of four classic albums that emerged from two marathon and fruitful sessions recorded in 1956 (the other three discs released in Cookin's wake were Workin', Relaxin' and Steamin'). All the albums were recorded live in the studio, as Davis sought to capture, with Rudy Van Gelder's expert engineering, the sense of a club show · la the Café Bohemia in New York, with his new quintet, featuring tenor saxophonist John Coltrane. In Miles's own words, he says he called this album Cookin' because "that's what we did-came in and cooked." What's particularly significant about this Davis album is his first recording of what became a classic tune for him: "My Funny Valentine." Hot playing is also reserved for the uptempo number "Tune Up," which revs with the zoom of both the leader and Trane.
Bag's Groove was recorded in 1954 for Prestige Records but was not released until 1957. Most of the album was recorded on June 29, 1954, but the title track was recorded at one session on December 24 of the same year. Several of the tracks on the album were written by Sonny Rollins and would go on to become jazz standards in their own right. Recorded June 29 & December 24, 1954 in Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ.