When we talk about the music of Miles Davis, there were many epiphanies that his music had. One was expressed in the album Birth of the Cool, where he broke away form a sound similar to Dizzy Gillespie to start his own distinct tone. The second major epiphany came about with first great quintet. With Red Garland, Paul Chambers, Philly Joe Jones and John Coltrane, Miles was able to extend his themes and developments into longer solos and also stretch the inert abilities of each piece they played. The third epiphany is expressed here on this album, Miles In Tokyo.
Well, George Coleman's time to leave the band came. So, with amounted to a promissory note for Wayne Shorter from Art Blakey, Miles need a tenorist yesterday. Sam Rivers, newcomer to the scene, was selected and to Tokyo the band. Here, available in an American pressing for the first time ever, is the concert date at Kohseinerkin Hall on July 14, 1964.
The sound was different here than any other date Miles did.
The sound is the question, right? Well, if you listen to My Funny Valentine, Live At Plugged Nickel, Seven Steps To Heaven, or Live in Berlin; you know the sound of the early quintet. They are developmental, experimental, polyrhythmic, fluid and (the difference in the early performances) conservative. Everyone, including Miles, is using the musicality of space to enhance his motifs and thematic material. Herbie is, as always, turning the melody into a song length harmonic experiment. Ron Carter is following behind the group with some early elements that would become know as `funky'. `Ant' Williams (R.I.P.) makes the whole song his solo. Tony always had a way of developing his approach to the tempo through the entire piece.
One final note is the presence of Sam Rivers. Well, if you have any of his early works (Fuchsia, Fuchsia Swing; Countors, Inventions and Dimensions, Trio Live) then you already know what to expect. His playing is punchy, dynamic, employing much staccato and almost paying to attention no any time restrictions.
Any fans of the second quintet or Sam Rivers will love this album. Also, give a hard listen to the album Countors (Freddie Hubbard, Sam Rivers (lead), Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams).
Not for the novice, this is jazz as only Miles can do it.