Miles Davis Quintet – Workin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet (1960)

FrontCover1Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. He is among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th-century music. Davis adopted a variety of musical directions in a five-decade career that kept him at the forefront of many major stylistic developments in jazz.

Born in Alton, Illinois, and raised in East St. Louis, Davis left to study at Juilliard in New York City, before dropping out and making his professional debut as a member of saxophonist Charlie Parker’s bebop quintet from 1944 to 1948. Shortly after, he recorded the Birth of the Cool sessions for Capitol Records, which were instrumental to the development of cool jazz. In the early 1950s, Miles Davis recorded some of the earliest hard bop music while on Prestige Records but did so haphazardly due to a heroin addiction.

MilesDavis02

After a widely acclaimed comeback performance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1955, he signed a long-term contract with Columbia Records and recorded the 1957 album ‘Round About Midnight. It was his first work with saxophonist John Coltrane and bassist Paul Chambers, key members of the sextet he led into the early 1960s. During this period, he alternated between orchestral jazz collaborations with arranger Gil Evans, such as the Spanish music-influenced Sketches of Spain (1960), and band recordings, such as Milestones (1958) and Kind of Blue (1959). The latter recording remains one of the most popular jazz albums of all time, having sold over five million copies in the U.S.

MilesDavis03

Davis made several lineup changes while recording Someday My Prince Will Come (1961), his 1961 Blackhawk concerts, and Seven Steps to Heaven (1963), another mainstream success that introduced bassist Ron Carter, pianist Herbie Hancock, and drummer Tony Williams. After adding saxophonist Wayne Shorter to his new quintet in 1964, Davis led them on a series of more abstract recordings often composed by the band members, helping pioneer the post-bop genre with albums such as E.S.P (1965) and Miles Smiles (1967), before transitioning into his electric period. During the 1970s, he experimented with rock, funk, African rhythms, emerging electronic music technology, and an ever-changing line-up of musicians, including keyboardist Joe Zawinul, drummer Al Foster, and guitarist John McLaughlin. This period, beginning with Davis’s 1969 studio album In a Silent Way and concluding with the 1975 concert recording Agharta, was the most controversial in his career, alienating and challenging many in jazz. His million-selling 1970 record Bitches Brew helped spark a resurgence in the genre’s commercial popularity with jazz fusion as the decade progressed.

MilesDavis04

After a five-year retirement due to poor health, Davis resumed his career in the 1980s, employing younger musicians and pop sounds on albums such as The Man with the Horn (1981) and Tutu (1986). Critics were often unreceptive but the decade garnered Davis his highest level of commercial recognition. He performed sold-out concerts worldwide, while branching out into visual arts, film, and television work, before his death in 1991 from the combined effects of a stroke, pneumonia and respiratory failure.[9] In 2006, Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,[10] which recognized him as “one of the key figures in the history of jazz”.[10] Rolling Stone described him as “the most revered jazz trumpeter of all time, not to mention one of the most important musicians of the 20th century,” while Gerald Early called him inarguably one of the most influential and innovative musicians of that period.

MilesDavis01

Workin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet is a studio album by the Miles Davis quintet recorded in 1956 and released circa January 1960. Two sessions on May 11, 1956 and October 26 in the same year resulted in four albums—this one, Relaxin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet, Steamin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet and Cookin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet.

Track 2 is a composition written for Davis by Eddie Vinson (see Blue Haze for more details). “Trane’s Blues” (also known as “Vierd Blues”, a tongue-in-cheek reference to Blue Note founder Francis Wolff’s heavily accented verdict on it), also credited to Davis, is in fact a John Coltrane composition (originally titled “John Paul Jones”, and from an earlier session led by bassist Paul Chambers; before the closing statement of theme, Coltrane and Davis play a bit of Charlie Parker’s “The Hymn”).

As his star rose in 1955, Davis formed a new quintet, featuring saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones. In order to fulfill contractual obligations, he recorded lengthy, spontaneous songs with the quintet, which were released over four albums—Workin’, Cookin’, Relaxin’, and Steamin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet. (wikipedia)

MilesDavis05

Workin’ is the third in a series of four featuring the classic Miles Davis Quintet: Davis (trumpet), John Coltrane (tenor sax), Red Garland (piano), and Philly Joe Jones (drums). Like its predecessors Cookin’ and Relaxin’, Workin’ is the product of not one — as mythology would claim — but two massively productive recording sessions in May and October of 1956, respectively. Contradicting the standard methodology of preparing fresh material for upcoming albums, Davis and company used their far more intimate knowledge of the tunes the quintet was performing live to inform their studio recordings. As was often the case with Davis, the antithesis of the norm is the rule. Armed with some staggering original compositions, pop standards, show tunes, and the occasional jazz cover, Workin’ is the quintessence of group participation. Davis, as well as Coltrane, actually contributes compositions as well as mesmerizing performances to the album. The band’s interaction on “Four” extends the assertion that suggests this quintet plays with the consistency of a single, albeit ten-armed, musician.

MilesDavis06

One needs listen no further than the stream of solos from Davis, Coltrane, Garland, and Jones, with Paul Chambers chasing along with his rhythmic metronome. Beneath the smoldering bop of “Trane’s Blues” are some challenging chord progressions that are tossed from musician to musician with deceptive ease. Chambers’ solo stands as one of his defining contributions to this band. In sly acknowledgment to the live shows from which these studio recording sessions were inspired, Davis concludes both sets (read: album sides) with “The Theme” — a brief and mostly improvised tune — indicating to patrons that the tab must be settled. In this case, settling the tab might include checking out Steamin’, the final Miles Davis Quintet recording to have been culled from these historic sessions. (by Lindsay Planer)

BackCover1

Personnel:
Paul Chambers (bass, cello)
John Coltrane (saxophone)
Miles Davis (trumpet)
Red Garland (piano)
Philly Joe Jones (drums)

The rare Esquire edition:
EsquireEdition

Tracklist:
01. It Never Entered My Mind (Rodgers) 5.27
02. Four (Vinson) 7.15
03. In Your Own Sweet Way (Brubeck) 5.45
04. The Theme (take 1) (Davis) 2.01
05. Trane’s Blues (a.k.a. “Vierd Blues”) (Coltrane) 8.35
06. Ahmad’s Blues (Jamal) 7.26
07. Half Nelson (Davis) 4.48
08. The Theme (take 2) (Davis) 1.05
+
Blue Note Club, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (December 8, 1956; excellent braodcast recording; same line up):
09. Tune Up (Davis) 4.22
10. Walkin’ (Carpenter) 

LabelB1

*
**

More from Miles Davis:
More

 

The Band – Rock Of Ages (1972)

FrontCover1Als The Band was a Canadian-American rock band formed in Toronto, Ontario, in 1967. It consisted of four Canadians and one American: Rick Danko (bass guitar, vocals, fiddle), Garth Hudson (keyboards, accordion, saxophone), Richard Manuel (keyboards, drums, vocals), Robbie Robertson (guitar, vocals), and Levon Helm (drums, vocals, mandolin, guitar). The Band combined elements of Americana, folk, rock, jazz, country, and R&B, influencing subsequent musicians such as the Eagles, Elton John, the Grateful Dead, the Flaming Lips, and Wilco.

Between 1958 and 1963, the group was known as the Hawks, a backing band for rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins. In the mid-1960s, they gained recognition for backing Bob Dylan, and the 1966 concert tour was notable as Dylan’s first with an electric band. After leaving Dylan and changing their name to “The Band”, they released several records to critical and popular acclaim, including their debut album Music from Big Pink, in 1968. According to AllMusic, the album’s influence on several generations of musicians has been substantial: musician Roger Waters called Music from Big Pink the second-most influential record in the history of rock and roll, and music journalist Al Aronowitz called it “country soul … a sound never heard before”. Their most popular songs included “The Weight” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”.

The Band 1969.jpg

Music critic Bruce Eder described the Band as “one of the most popular and influential rock groups in the world, their music embraced by critics … as seriously as the music of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones”. The Band was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked them 50th on its list of the 100 greatest artists of all time, while ranking “The Weight” 41st on its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.In 2008, the group received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2014, they were inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame.

TheBand02

Rock of Ages: The Band in Concert is a live album by the Band, released in 1972. It was compiled from recordings made during their series of shows at the Academy of Music in New York City, from December 28 through December 31, 1971. It peaked at #6 on the Billboard 200 chart, and was certified a gold record by the RIAA. An expanded release of recordings taken from the same series of shows, called Live at the Academy of Music 1971, was released in 2013.

The Band booked a residency at the Academy of Music for the last week of 1971, culminating in a New Year’s Eve performance. Robbie Robertson had commissioned New Orleans songwriter and arranger Allen Toussaint to compose horn charts for their recent single “Life Is a Carnival” from the album Cahoots, and decided to have Toussaint write special charts for a five-man horn section to augment the group on their upcoming concerts.[9] Charts written by Toussaint in New Orleans were in luggage lost at the airport, and a new set was composed in a cabin near Robertson’s house in Woodstock.[10] Robertson selected eleven songs to receive horn charts, and all are included on the released album.[11] The horns do not play on “Get Up Jake”, “Stage Fright”, “This Wheel’s on Fire”, “The Weight”, “The Shape I’m In”, and “The Genetic Method.” Selections on the bonus disc also do not feature horn arrangements, although the horn section added spontaneous flourishes to “Down in the Flood” and “Rolling Stone.”

TheBand1959

The repertoire consisted of material from all four of The Band’s studio albums up to that point, and one new original song, “Get Up Jake”, which were framed on the album by covers of the 1964 Motown hit single “Baby Don’t You Do It” by Marvin Gaye, and “(I Don’t Want to Hang Up) My Rock and Roll Shoes”, the b-side of Chuck Willis’ final single. Four nights from December 28 through 31 were recorded, and the balance of the recordings on the released album were derived from the final two nights. Their previous employer Bob Dylan made a surprise visit on the New Year’s Eve show, playing four songs with the group in the early morning hours of January 1, 1972.

Originally released in 1972 as a double album, it was reissued in 1980 as two separate LPs, titled Rock of Ages, Vol. 1 and Rock of Ages, Vol. 2. The first edition for compact disc in 1987 was released as an “abridged version”; “The Genetic Method” (Garth Hudson’s instrumental solo/introduction to “Chest Fever”) was omitted, but later re-instated on the unedited two-disc version released in 1990. On May 8, 2001, an expanded and remastered two-disc edition appeared, with the original album on one disc, and an additional ten tracks on a bonus disc. Included on the bonus disc were the four songs featuring Dylan and another Motown cover, the 1966 hit single “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever” by The Four Tops.

The Band01

The 2005 retrospective Band box set A Musical History contains several Rock of Ages tracks newly remixed from the multitrack tapes, as well as a previously-unissued performance of the song “Smoke Signal” from the December 28 show. A hybrid SACD reissue of the original album was released on the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab label in 2010.[14] The song “Chest Fever” from this album is available as downloadable content for the video game Rock Band.

In 2013, Capitol released Live at the Academy of Music 1971: The Rock of Ages Concerts, a box set consisting of four CDs and one DVD (mostly only audio), and containing all previously released material from the concerts as well as numerous unissued performances (including the December 31 show in its entirety) presented in new stereo and 5.1 surround mixes. (wikipedia)

Booklet01A

Released on the heels of the stilted, static Cahoots, the double-album Rock of Ages occupies a curious yet important place in Band history. Recorded at a spectacular New Years Eve 1971 gig, the show and album were intended to be a farewell of sorts before the Band took an extended break in 1972, but it turned out to be a last hurrah in many different ways, closing the chapter on the first stage of their career, when they were among the biggest and most important rock & roll bands. That sense of importance had started to creep into their music, turning their studio albums after The Band into self-conscious affairs, and even the wildly acclaimed first two albums seemed to float out of time, existing in a sphere of their own and never having the kick of a rock & roll band. Rock of Ages has that kick in spades, and it captures that road warrior side of the band that was yet unheard on record. Since this band — or more accurately its leader, Robbie Robertson — was acutely aware of image and myth, this record didn’t merely capture an everyday gig, it captured a spectacular, in retrospect almost a dry run for the legendary Last Waltz.

This ad for Rock of Ages appeared in the Sept. 9, 1972 issue of Record World:
Ad

New Orleans R&B legend Allen Toussaint was hired to write horn charts and conduct them, helping to open up the familiar tunes, which in turn helped turn this music into a warm, loose, big-hearted party. And that’s what’s so splendid about Rock of Ages: sure, the tightness of the Band as a performing unit is on display, but there’s also a wild, rowdy heart pumping away in the backbeat of this music, something that the otherwise superb studio albums do not have. Simply put, this is a joy to hear, which may have been especially true after the dour, messy Cahoots, but even stripped of that context Rock of Ages has a spirit quite unlike any other Band album. Indeed, it could be argued that it captured the spirit of the Band at the time in a way none of their other albums do. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

BackCover1

Personnel:
Rick Danko (vocals, bass, violin)
Levon Helm (vocals, drums, mandolin)
Garth Hudson (keybords, accordion, saxophone)
Richard Manuel (vocals, keyboards), drums)
Robbie Robertson (guitar, background vocals)
+
Joe Farrell (saxophones, english horn)
Howard Johnson (tuba, euphonium, saxophone)
Snooky Young – trumpet, flugelhorn
Earl McIntyre (trombone)
J.D. Parron (saxophone, clarinet)

Booklet02A

Tracklist:
01. Introduction by Robertson 0.58
02. Don’t Do It (B.Holland/Dozier/E.Holland) 5.00
03. King Harvest (Has Surely Come) (Robertson) 4.05
04. Caledonia Mission (Robertson) 3.38
05. Get Up Jake (Robertson) 3.33
06. The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show (Robertson) 3.53
07. Stage Fright (Robertson) 4.38
08. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Robertson) 4.35
09. Across The Great Divide (Robertson) 3.59
10. This Wheel’s On Fire (Danko/Dylan) 4.07
11.  Rag Mama Rag (Robertson) 4.36
12. The Weight (Robertson) 5.33
13. The Shape I’m In (Robertson) 4.14
14. The Unfaithful Servant (Robertson) December 31 4:48
15. Life Is A Carnival (Helm/Robertson/Danko) 4.23
16. The Genetic Method (Hudson) 7.47
17. Chest Fever (Robertson) 5.25
18. (I Don’t Want To) Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes (Willis) 4.29

LabelsB+D

*
**

Richard Manuel
(April 3, 1943 – March 4, 1986)

Rick Danko
(December 29, 1943 – December 10, 1999)

Levon Helm
(May 26, 1940 – April 19, 2012)

More from The Band:
More