Hyperbole aside, this disc's title could hardly be more accurate. Miles Davis. Milt Jackson. Thelonius Monk. John Coltrane. That doesn't even count the legendary rhythm sections (Percy Heath and Kenny Clarke in one, Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones in the other). Miles Davis And The Modern Jazz Giants is made up of two sessions, with four tracks from an all-star group with Jackson and Monk from 1954 (which also yielded the title track to Davis's Bags Groove ) and one track from the first of the famous 1956 Davis quintet's marathon recordings that produced Workin' , Steamin ', Cookin' and Relaxin'. The music is unquestionably excellent, yielding sterling and signature input from each participant. The first of these two sessions is famous for being the one where the cranky trumpeter was miffed by the cantankerous Monk's playing behind his solos. "That's bullshit," according to label owner and session supervisor Bob Weinstock in the recently released The Prestige Records Story box set (and confirmed in this disc's liner notes by Ira Gitler),. "Miles didn't want him to comp on one tune. There was no hostility, no fighting. I've heard that story many times but those guys had total respect for each other." Indeed, the musical evidence bears Weinstock out. The rapport among these leaders however edgy it certainly must have been in the studio on that Christmas Eve day works to the music's advantage. The quintet excels on Davis's "Swing Spring," Monk's "Bemsha Swing" and two very different takes of Gershwin's "The Man I Love." The lone 1956 track is Davis's breathtaking signature reverie on Monk's "Round Midnight," with the trumpeter's familiar and definitive quintet. This collection essentially documents two important summit meetings from some of the greatest individuals jazz has ever known. Hyperbole aside, the results are significant and timeless.
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. After going through Rock 'n Roll, the Beatles and Heavy Metal/Hard Rock phases over the next eight or so years, I finally bought my first jazz album; We're All Together Again for the First Time by Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. I was hooked on jazz, and still am 40+ years later.
I moved from England to the USA in 2002, and founded the Brookfield Jazz Society in 2005.
I became editor of the quarterly IAJRC Journalin 2012. The magazine goes to the worldwide membership of the IAJRC (International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) and many major libraries and educational establishments around the world.
As well as being the editor of the IAJRC Journal, I write about jazz and review CDs, vinyl, DVDs and books on jazz.
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