All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

420

Miles Davis: Complete In Person Friday and Saturday Nights at the Blackhawk

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
In terms of remote recording, jazz more than any other type of music is most naturally found in its creative element. Musicians are most apt to improvise freely without thought to time limits when on the bandstand, and the nonverbal communication with the audience can certainly boost adrenaline levels, which in turn increases the intensity of the performance. Of the many jazz legends who have recorded in the modern era, Miles Davis was documented in more live settings than probably any other of his peers, thanks in part to the healthy coffers of Columbia Records. As a result, we have a much better picture of Davis’ many classic ensembles over the years as heard “on the job.”

Back in the spring of 1961, Davis was in a period of transition. Tenor saxophone master John Coltrane had left the trumpeter’s employ to lead his own band and Hank Mobley had come on board to take his place. While the new tenor man had his own style, it was less radical than Coltrane’s histrionics and Davis was not always pleased with the end results. Still, the trio of Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb had been together for some time and the chemistry they shared was undeniably strong. It is this band that appeared at San Francisco’s Blackhawk, where all of the music performed on the weekend of April 21st and 22nd was recorded for prosperity.

Initially released in truncated form and with edited performances in some cases, the concerts have been expanded: for the first time we get to hear every recorded note, amounting to nearly four hours of music on four discs and with the best possible sound quality. Seven sets were recorded, with a total of 29 tracks being the net result. Thirteen of these have never before been heard, adding considerably to this cache of Davis memorabilia. There are several takes on familiar tunes such as “If I Were a Bell,” “I Thought About You,” and “Green Dolphin Street,” however each one speaks with an individual sense of creativity, a testament to the resourcefulness of each one of these talented musicians. Miles himself is in solid form, often playing with a mute and stretching out at length. Mobley spins some wonderful yarns despite some reed problems, although his melodic style is similar to Davis’ and as such there’s much less of a contrast between the two lead voices.

Packaging for this boxed set consists of two slim double jewel boxes housed in a hard cover outer box. Notes inside the booklet are nothing all that revelatory, with a reprint of the original liners and a brief remembrance by Eddie Henderson. While more exciting changes were to come for Davis and his ensembles, these two nights in San Francisco solidified his mainstream manifesto and are a valuable addition to the trumpeter’s legacy.


Track Listing: 29 performances, including 12 previously unissued tracks

Personnel: Miles Davis- trumpet; Hank Mobley- tenor saxophone; Wynton Kelly- piano; Paul Chambers- bass; Jimmy Cobb- drums.

Title: Complete In Person Friday and Saturday Nights at the Blackhawk | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Columbia Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Shades CD/LP/Track Review
Shades
by Doug Collette
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Putumayo Presents: Ska Around the World CD/LP/Track Review
Putumayo Presents: Ska Around the World
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Pattern Recognition CD/LP/Track Review
Pattern Recognition
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Just This CD/LP/Track Review
Just This
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Live at Sowieso CD/LP/Track Review
Live at Sowieso
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Displaced Diaspora CD/LP/Track Review
Displaced Diaspora
by Chris May
Published: October 19, 2018
Read "Jubilation!" CD/LP/Track Review Jubilation!
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 25, 2018
Read "Upright Piano - Live At Bar Moskus" CD/LP/Track Review Upright Piano - Live At Bar Moskus
by Jim Worsley
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "Frank Salis" CD/LP/Track Review Frank Salis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 20, 2018
Read "Pattern Recognition" CD/LP/Track Review Pattern Recognition
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 20, 2018
Read "Out of the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Out of the Blues
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: July 29, 2018
Read "Bad Mouthin'" CD/LP/Track Review Bad Mouthin'
by Doug Collette
Published: September 15, 2018