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Miles Davis: 'Round About Midnight (Legacy Edition)

Jim Santella By

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Music this good requires reissue and invites special packaging. Most of the material on the second disc of the Legacy Edition of 'Round About Midnight, however, has never been released before. So, we are met with pleasant surprises along with a reissue of some of Miles Davis' greatest music. In all, this double CD brings us Davis at his best in 1955-56, while his stellar quintet, including John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones, reminds us why they were on top of the world.

Trumpet, tenor saxophone, and piano take turns soloing on tracks from the original LP and several others that originated from the same recording sessions. Disc one, first released in late 2001, features Davis' pure, open tone as well as his trademark muted refrains. As the album's original liner notes correctly proclaim, Davis' quintet was "one of the best post-bop jazz groups in the country today." They're reprinted in this package along with Bob Blumenthal's 2001 liner notes, updated 2005 liner notes that address the second CD, and much more.

Disc two starts off with a July 1955 arrangement of "'Round Midnight" that features a different group of sidemen—Thelonious Monk, Percy Heath, Connie Kay, Zoot Sims and Gerry Mulligan—giving this particular track a vastly different sound. Both saxophonists remain far in the background, but it's a chance for Davis and Monk to interact and interpret Monk's tune accordingly.

Gene Norman introduces the other six selections on disc two, which were recorded live in Pasadena on February 18, 1956 for a concert performance that featured other bands as well. While Davis' quintet was in fine form for each selection, the recorded sound isn't as good as their studio recordings. Still, we have a chance to experience the work of this stellar quintet as it explores classic bebop tunes from the stage.

Davis can be heard briefly conversing with Gene Norman as "It Never Entered My Mind" is introduced. His raspy voice, as well as the superb music that he brought us over many decades, will never be forgotten.


Track Listing: Disc One: 'Round Midnight; Ah-Leu-Cha; All Of You Bye Bye Blackbird; Tadd's Delight; Dear Old Stockholm; Two Bass Hit; Budo; Sweet Sue, Just You. Disc Two: 1955 Newport Jazz Festival: 'Round Midnight; 02/18/56 Pasadena Performance: Introduction by Gene Norman; Chance It (aka Max Is Making Wax) Walkin'; Gene Norman & Miles Davis; It Never Entered My Mind; Woody 'N You; Salt Peanuts; The Theme.

Personnel: Miles Davis: trumpet; John Coltrane: tenor saxophone; Red Garland: piano; Paul Chambers: bass; Philly Joe Jones: drums. On Disc Two, track 1: Miles Davis: trumpet; Zoot Sims: tenor saxophone; Gerry Mulligan: baritone saxophone; Thelonious Monk: piano; Percy Heath: bass; Connie Kay: drums.

Title: 'Round About Midnight (Legacy Edition) | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Sony BMG Legacy

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