All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

560

Miles Davis: 'Round About Midnight (Legacy Edition)

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Given Legacy's ongoing efforts to package and reissue thirty years' worth of Miles Davis material, one has to wonder at the audacity of its latest addition to seemingly endless variations on his extensive catalogue, the Legacy Edition of 'Round About Midnight. Certainly the material on disc one—which includes Miles' entire '57 debut for the label, along with four bonus tracks readily available on both the '00 six-CD box, Miles Davis and John Coltrane: The Complete Columbia Recordings 1955-1961, and the '01 single title reissue—will provide no discoveries for those who have heard either release.

Even the first track on disc two—a live rendition of "'Round Midnight from a '55 Newport performance by Miles and an all-star band featuring saxophonists Zoot Sims and Gerry Mulligan, pianist Thelonious Monk, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Connie Kay—is already available, albeit only on the three-CD compilation, Happy Birthday Newport. But what makes this new release unequivocally worth hearing is the thirty-minute performance by Miles' quintet—featuring saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones—from a '56 Pasadena concert four months prior to the group beginning the recording of the original album.

Little needs to be said about this quintet. It provided Coltrane's first major exposure, and while he would ultimately move on to greater extremes, the basic elements were already emerging during his time with Miles, most specifically a vivid sense of invention and endless variation that would evolve exponentially in the coming decade. Garland's block-chord accompaniment and lyrical phrasing would influence a whole generation of pianists. Chambers and Jones were like conjoined twins linked at both the head and heart, with an ability to define groove and swing at any tempo.

And Miles, who in his early years had been criticized for less prodigious technique than Dizzy Gillespie or Clifford Brown, was already demonstrating the powerful midrange tone and fragile vulnerability with a mute that would become his trademark for the next 35 years. The original 'Round About Midnight was an auspicious harbinger of a thirty-year relationship with Columbia Records that would be defined by restless searching and intrepid imagination.

If disc one offers nothing new to the seasoned fan, the Pasadena performance is something else entirely. The depth and breadth of the group is immediate and clear with only thirty minutes to represent the quintet—from the up-tempo burn of "Chance It to the slower but unassailable swing of "Walkin', which would be reinvented as a faster-paced tune in later years, and the tender ballad "It Never Entered My Mind, which demonstrated Miles' ability to turn a simple pop tune into a thing of tender beauty.

If you haven't already heard the '00 box set or '01 single release of 'Round About Midnight, this is clearly the definitive version of the recording, a chance to witness the power and sensitivity of Miles' first quintet at its live best.

Visit Miles Davis on the web.


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

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Alive In The East? CD/LP/Track Review
Alive In The East?
by Chris May
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Love Stone CD/LP/Track Review
Love Stone
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Empty Castles CD/LP/Track Review
Empty Castles
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Myths and Morals CD/LP/Track Review
Myths and Morals
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 22, 2018
Read The Sum Of My Pardon CD/LP/Track Review
The Sum Of My Pardon
by Jim Olin
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Postcard Collection CD/LP/Track Review
Postcard Collection
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 21, 2018
Read "Obsidian" CD/LP/Track Review Obsidian
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 9, 2018
Read "Free Radicals" CD/LP/Track Review Free Radicals
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 7, 2017
Read "Lantern" CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Verisimilitude" CD/LP/Track Review Verisimilitude
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 6, 2017
Read "Fragments" CD/LP/Track Review Fragments
by John Sharpe
Published: May 7, 2018
Read "Good Music" CD/LP/Track Review Good Music
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 18, 2018