on 13 July 2013
With new MD releases almost a monthly fixture these days I'm not surprised this one seems to have slipped under the radar somewhat. Which is more than a pity because putting my head confidently on the block, I'd suggest it merits near 'classic' status such is the quality of both performance and reproduction. The whole band is in relaxed and playful mood from the start; there's a subtlety here not as apparent on other recordings by this quintet featuring gentle giant George Coleman; an energy, a liveliness and humour as irrepressible as it is irresistible. It helps that the sound quality is top notch, and I mean TOP NOTCH - the clarity of Williams in particular is a revelation. An unconditional 5 star event....
There seem to be many non-Columbia live releases from soundboard and in particular radio broadcasts and some are of lesser fidelity which might put more casual buyers off. This one isn't one of those, it's a joy. Crisp sound and low price, it captures a performance on the evening of evSeptember 20th, 1963 featuring Miles and most of the second great quintet in the process of shaping, with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and an on fire Tony Williams all present. Sax duties are handled by George Coleman. Tracks are:
Stella By Starlight
As with all Miles Davis live CD's don't let the familiar titles put you off as improvisation always takes the tracks somewhere else. Songs are stretched, taken off into new territory, with autumn Leaves in particular giving all the performers a chance to solo. So What is taken at breakneck pace, whilst Stella by Starlight rings the changes being paced slowly. Before the traditional concert closer of the theme there's one of my favourite Miles tracks Walkin' to enjoy too.
Wally Heider, who captured this and other concerts from a mobile truck and he captured everything beautifully. A lovely release well worth purchasing.
on 9 January 2015
I cannot understand why I missed this CD when it first came out. This is a superb performance by the quintet on top form. Miles in particular does sublime improvisations especially on the almost unrecognisable melody of "Autumn Leaves" - deconstructed and wonderful, nothing too romantic about this tune here. "So What" taken at a break neck speed and another excellent rendition of "Stella by Starlight". Although there are many great versions of this song on other live Miles CDs, he always makes it sound fresh and different, this version has to be one the best on record. Great support from all the band, notably George Coleman whom I did not always rate on studio recordings of this quintet. Here he plays his heart out with energetic improvisations. The recording is on a par with any of the live recordings of the same quintet with Wayne Shorter with excellent sound quality. This concert recording is 50 years old - makes you wonder if small band jazz has actually surpassed this level of playing and the sheer energy in the interim years? Should be in everyone's jazz collection.
This superb but overlooked Miles Davis Quintet album was recorded live at Monterey on September 20, 1963 with a band who'd been together for just a few months.
There is electrifying playing from the whole quintet which includes the vastly underrated tenorist George Coleman, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter and the brilliant 17 year-old drummer Tony Williams who "let a big fire under everyone in the group" according to Miles in his autobiography.
I'd like to thank 'Nomad'(see review) for alerting me to the existence of this marvellous album which makes an excellent companion to Miles' 'Live at Antibes 1963' recorded a couple of months earlier with the same band.