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5.0 out of 5 stars A Low Key Gem, 19 Mar. 2008
This review is from: The New Miles Davis Quintet (Audio CD)
This was John Coltrane's first album with Miles and his first extended exposure as a soloist on record and, fifty years on, it's a little hard to understand the fuss about his recruitment to the band.

Sonny Rollins had famously gone off into the first of his career sabbaticals and had allegedly refused Miles offer to join his new quintet, and so it fell to 29 year old John Coltrane to fill the tenor chair. Although Coltrane had already worked with Dizzy Gillespie, Johnny Hodges and Earl Bostic he had yet to make his mark on jazz. The break with Miles was the start of it all, and, as such, this album deserves a place in the collection of anyone with a serious interest in the saxophonists development.

So what was all the controversy about? It must have largely centered upon Trane's "no-name" status because his playing here contains nothing to upset anyone. There are easily understandable echoes of established tenor stars, notably Dexter Gordon and Sonny Stitt, but Coltrane at this point was already beginning to break the regulated bebop phrasing down into peculiarly effective snippets, giving his playing an almost whimsical air at times. To the ear accustomed to the whirlwind fluency of Stitt or even Rollins at his most virtuosic this was clearly something different, albeit in its formative stage.

Unlike the later Davis-Coltrane Prestige sessions from 1956 (spread over the albums "Workin'", "Steamin'", "Cookin'" and "Relaxin'"), the mood here is more low-key. Even the programming cleverly starts with a easy-tempoed "Just Squeeze Me" and mixes unusual song choices ("S'posin'", "How Am I To Know?") with a couple of out and out jazz themes (Davis own "The Theme" and Benny Golson's new "Stablemates", probably recommended by Coltrane). The result is an album full of charm, especially so when listened to in the light of Coltrane and Miles later music.

This edition of the Davis quintet also recorded for Columbia during autumn 1955, the results of which can be heard on the complete and augmented reissue of "Round About Midnight" on CBS.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 21 Sept. 2014
This review is from: The New Miles Davis Quintet (Audio CD)
very pleased
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