22 JUN 09 ANNE FARNSWORTH
Having left New York to kick a drug habit, 1955 was an important year for Miles Davis. He returned to begin his tenure as one of the great forces of jazz in the second half of the 20th Century. He was also making the move from Prestige to Columbia. Miles: The New Miles Davis Quintet was one of his last Prestige releases and is now available on CD, newly remastered by Rudy Van Gelder.
Davis was known as a "leader of leaders," because he had a supernatural horse sense when it came to picking sidemen, many of whom went on to become important leaders and innovators themselves. This quintet is a prime example -- John Coltrane (replacing Sonny Rollins), Red Garland, Philly Joe Jones and a 19-year-old Paul Chambers on bass.
There is much to satisfy on this session. For starters, it's a great example of Miles' transition from the manic virtuosity of the Parker years to the laconic style of his later Modal and Cool periods. And it swings like crazy, with Chambers' fat quarter notes and Jones' confident feel driving the rhythm.
Also, the audio sounds great. Not sure what magic dust the great Van Gelder sprinkled on these tapes, but the result is as warm as the best of the mid-century LP's without letting the digitizing inadvertently highlight any of the era's technical limitations.
How Am I To Know?
Miles Davis Quintet, from Miles: The New ...
Sonny Rollins, from Saxophone Colossus ...
in this playlist.