Your International #JazzDay primer to tide you over until next week.
" That was some great music we made at both those sessions and I'm real proud of it today." – Miles Davis in 1989, excepted from the book Miles: The Autobiography, written by Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe, 1990, Simon And Schuster, page 205. ISBN 13: 978-0671725822.
As we gear up for the next annual International Jazz Day event next week, a little something to tide you over until the 30th of April.
Our event next week will focus on the “electric” period of Miles Davis from 1969-1974. To compare and contrast, this week, the focus will be on Miles Davis at the end of his Hard Bop phase, which took place in the mid-1950’s. These are the recordings he made with his first and very well received quintet, predating his Modal Jazz masterpiece Kind of Blue in 1959.
Hard Bop is a sub-genre of its predecessor, Be Bop, and includes elements of Gospel and Rhythm and Blues.
Modal Jazz uses musical modes rather than chord progressions as a harmonic framework.
Prior to Columbia Records signing Davis, which would be his home for approximately 30 years, Davis was recording for the smaller independent Jazz label Prestige. He owed them four albums of material. The Prestige contract Davis had signed stipulated that artist had to pay for the sessions, a method of keeping costs for the small label low.
Undaunted, Davis and his band recorded these albums in two different sessions, practically live in the studio, in a period of just two days: one in May 1956 and one in October 1956. These albums are now considered by many Jazz historians to be the best Hard Bop albums ever recorded.
The band consisted of the following members:
- Miles Davis – trumpet, bandleader
- Paul Chambers – double bass
- John Coltrane – tenor saxophone
- Red Garland – piano
- Philly Joe Jones – drums
Miles Davis stands in front of Prestige Records,446 West 50th Street, New York City. Photographer unknown, taken in 1958. Photo courtesy of Fantasy/Concord Records.
The albums that were the result of these sessions were all titled with the words Cookin With, Relaxing With, Steamin’ With and Workin’ With prior to the billing of the band’s name, The Miles Davis Quintet.
So, let that sink in for a moment: this band recorded four of the best and most historically important albums in their genre in just two days with little to no studio gimmickry, live. It is doubtful there is a band today in any style of music who could pull this off today. If so, let me know so we can get a program done for them. The tracks are presented in a continuous sequence. An hour's worth of amazingly superb and uninterrupted Sunday Jazz: What more could anyone wish for?
Our tracks this week: Title, Source.
1. If I Were A Bell, Relaxin' With The Miles Davis Quintet
2. Well, You Needn’t, Steamin' With The Miles Davis Quintet
3. Blues By Five, Cookin' With The Miles Davis Quintet
4. Four, Workin' With The Miles Davis Quintet
5. Salt Peanuts, Steamin' With The Miles Davis Quintet
6. Trane's Blues, Workin' With The Miles Davis Quintet
7. Woody'n You, Relaxin' With The Miles Davis Quintet
8. My Funny Valentine, Cookin' With The Miles Davis Quintet
Love to you all.
Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
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