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Now's the Time: Miles Davis 1945-1989

Jeff Dayton-Johnson By

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Franck Bergerot's Miles Davis: Introduction à l'écoute du jazz moderne (Seuil, 1996) suggests that you can hear a lot of Davis' musical world in his 45-second solo on Charlie Parker's "Now's the Time," beginning at 1:45. This is one among many dimensions of Davis' musicianship—nocturnal, blues-tinged, largely without the mute, alternating between a tenderness and a kind of aggression, as on the desultory attitude toward the composition on "Stella by Starlight." The spacious, ethereal nature of the 1945 solo is echoed in Gil Evans' 1950 arrangement of "Moon Dreams," but also in Davis' 1989 playing on "Mr. Pastorius."

In a thrilling moment of recognition, pianist Red Garland transcribes Davis' 1945 solo, beginning at 7:34, during a vigorous reading of Monk's "Straight No Chaser" (1958). Monk himself is present for an audacious solo on the first take of "The Man I Love" (1954). There are other connections among this all-too-brief selection of tunes. Miles' "Moon Dreams"-like solo on "When Lights Are Low" (1953) is credited, by trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg, as inspiring him to become a musician; Davis would later be the star soloist on Mikkelborg's Aura (Columbia, 1985), represented here by "Violet."

TrackNameTimeArtistAlbum
1Now's The Time3:17Charlie Parker Complete Savoy & Dial Sessions
2Moon Dreams3:20Miles DavisBirth Of The Cool
3When Lights Are Low3:29Miles DavisBlue Haze
4The Man I Love (Take 1)8:28Miles Davis And The Modern Jazz Giants
5 Straight, No Chaser10:40Miles DavisMilestones
6Stella By Starlight13:1Miles DavisMy Funny Valentine
7Pinocchio (Alernate Take)5:8Miles DavisNefertiti
8Spanish Key8:33Miles DavisLive At The Fillmore East (March 7, 1970)—It's About That Time 2
9Violet9:3Miles DavisAura (Complete Columbia version)
10Mr. Pastorius3:32Miles DavisLive Around The World


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