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Miles Davis Quintet: Live Europe 1960 Revisited

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Miles Davis Quintet: Live Europe 1960 Revisited
A high proportion of the studio albums recorded by Miles Davis from the mid 1950s until Bitches Brew (Columbia) in 1970 are landmark ones, so frequent and so momentous were the occasions on which Davis adjusted his direction. With a few exceptions, notably My Funny Valentine (Columbia, 1964), this is less true of the live albums until the early 1970s, when Davis' live performances increasingly anticipated changes later heard on studio recordings, especially as regards his choices of repertoire.

Davis was, for instance, still performing "So What," "On Green Dolphin Street," "Walkin'" and "All Blues," the tunes which make up Live Europe 1960 Revisited and which he first recorded between 1954 and 1959, on the landmark Live At The Plugged Nickel (Columbia) albums made in 1965 with his recently formed, so-called "second great quintet." (It can be argued that the 1963 to 1964 quintet with George Coleman on tenor saxophone is the proper holder of that honorific tag, but that is another story).

Live Europe 1960 Revisited includes some of Davis' historic early live recordings, but that has more to do with John Coltrane's performances on it than those of the bandleader. The March 21st through April 10th European tour on which it was recorded—in Paris and Stockholm—was the last Coltrane made with Davis. By all accounts the saxophonist, keen to pursue his own career, resented every minute he spent on the tour. He agreed to come along out of loyalty to Davis, who had begged him to do so, but then bitterly regretted the decision. In Miles: The Autobiography (Simon & Schuster, 1989), Davis wrote: "[Coltrane] decided to go with us, but he grumbled and complained and sat by himself all the time we were over there. He gave me notice that he would be leaving the group when we got home."

The tension between Davis and Coltrane is palpable on Live Europe 1960 Revisited, on which pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb create strictly impartial, and solidly swinging, platforms for both soloists. Davis' solos, though sublime, do not break any new ground, while Coltrane's extended, impassioned flights are marked by torrents of new ideas expressed with a new-found level of assurance.

Some readers may weary of reviews of ezz-thetics' Revisited series which praise the work of the label's audio jedi Michael Brändli. But Brandli's mastering of the recordings really does lift them to new heights. Credit where it is due.

Track Listing

So What; On Green Dolphin Street; Walkin’; All Blues; So What.

Personnel

Miles Davis: trumpet; John Coltrane: saxophone; Wynton Kelly: piano; Paul Chambers: bass, acoustic; Jimmy Cobb: drums.

Album information

Title: Live Europe 1960 Revisited | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Ezz-thetics

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