April 15, 1961: The Miles Davis Quintet records "In Person: Saturday Night At the Blackhawk."
Possession of previous editions of this singular set simply won't do. After the Ellington at Newport and The Complete Lady Day reissues, the engineers at Columbia/Sony command respect as experts when it comes to authoritative, definitive, faithfully represented remasters of indispensable jazz recordings.
This transitional group, between Miles' first great quintet with Coltrane and his second with Wayne Shorter, is the equal of the first ensemble and more satisfying than the second. Miles' chops were never better, and as if to make up for the absence of Coltrane, he was playing with uncharacteristic fire and pyrotechnical flare. Jimmy Cobb had practically erased the memory of Philly Joe Jones as the ideal complement to Paul Chambers and Wynton Kelly. No rhythm section ever achieved a greater sense of vitality and vibrancy within the conventional 4/4 walking-bass pattern of mainstream modern jazz. (Many drummers would do well to listen just to Cobb's ride cymbal, noting how little else is required to keep the music fresh and flowing.)
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