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Bags Groove [Original recording remastered]

Percy Heath, Miles Davis, The Modern Jazz QuartetAudio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)


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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 2 Songs, 2009 $8.99  
Audio CD, Original recording remastered, 2008 $12.58  
Audio CD, Original recording remastered, 1998 --  
Vinyl, 2009 $16.85  
Audio Cassette, 1991 --  

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 20, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Jvc / Xrcd
  • ASIN: B000040OHN
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #583,444 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Bag's Groove
2. Bag's Groove
3. Airegin
4. Oleo
5. But Not for Me
6. Doxy
7. But Not for Me

Editorial Reviews

More than 30 years ago, Miles Davis recorded this music in the company of other giants such as Milt Jackson, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, Percy Heath, Sonny Rollins and Horace Silver. Today the music they made is regarded as classic, Bags Groove, in two versions, is a perfect illustration of the improvisatory process, and the various delights that can develop from take to take; the date with Rollins reveals his development toward major status. It is hard to believe that having heard these 1954 recordings, the critics could have called Davis' triumph at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1955 a "comeback".

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Miles most swinging sessions January 14, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This piece of music is some of Miles Davis best, being recorded christmas eve 1954, at a time where Miles had just ridden himself of his longlasting drug habit, he entered the studio in company with Milt Jackson and his rhythm section at the time: Kenny Clarke, Percy Heath and for this special occasion, Thelonius Monk. The original recording named Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants contained all the recordings from this incredible session, that is the two takes of Bags Groove plus The Man I Love, Swing Spring and Bemsha Swing. The cd release split the two Bags groove takes and the rest, and made two albums out of it: Bags Groove and the other named Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz giants. Both records are a real treat, but Bags Groove is in my mind Miles entering the higher realms of Jazz music, his solos herein are so beatifully constructed, and the groups team effort ranks among one of Jazz finest moments, it's incredible swingin' and contagious, yet tenderly so. The rest of the tracks on this album although from another session earlier that same year, are great too. Sonny Rollins and Horace Silver makes fine performances here, sheer joy.
Few records are worth buying for the sake of one or two tracks, and although this is NOT the case here, I still would have gotten the record just for the sake of the title track - it truly shines.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic September 23, 2000
Format:Audio CD
This had to have been a most bizarre session, what with Miles telling Monk to lay out during his solos and all..
BUT Miles was a man with something to prove at this point..he had more or less kicked his heroin habit and was on the road to full musical recovery, as well, when these sessions went down ( 29 June and Christmas Eve 1954).
The tracks are wonderful, with Milt Jackson's famous "Bag's Groove" leading the way. (reocrded X-Mas eve) With the exception of Monk playing in John Lewis' place, this is Miles recording with the original Modern Jazz Quartet (Percy Heath and Kenny Clarke bass and drums, as well as vibraphonist Jackson)- which could also explain why Miles wanted Monk to lay out... The rhythm section is solid, and Miles' playing great, if not inspired. Jackson's vibes hold the piece together nicely. Alas, other takes from that session, including Monk's "Bemsha swing," "Swing Spring," and "The Man I Love," were not included on this cd...
Sonny Rollins' "Oleo" is another highlight (recorded 29 June with Rollins on tenor, Horace Silver on piano, with Heath and Clarke) and shows both Sonny and Miles in great form. Rollins was THE rising tenor star, and this track, as well as "Airegin," "But Not For Me," and "Doxy," prove full well; a year later, Miles would want Rollins to be in his 1st quintet, but Rollins, like many others in that era, had a heroin problem and would retreat( not for the last time) to clean up and "woodshed"... Rollins suggested an unknown named John Coltrane for Miles' group......
The cd is not as critical to have as others, but it is a great time period cd, showing Miles' growth from just a few months earlier, when he was on heroin. His playing is weak at moments, but vastly stronger, as was Miles' will and creativity. He wouldn't have to wait long before he would express his ideas to the world with his 1st great quintet
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bags (Mostly Without Bags) December 28, 2010
Format:Audio CD
CD reissues often bulk up their content by including either session outtakes or alternate versions of the tunes that appeared on the original album. Sometimes the additions fit, and sometimes they undermine the listening experience. Back when the long-playing album first appeared on the scene, with narrow grooves that could hold lots of music played on slowly-revolving discs, music companies did the same thing. Prestige 7109 is one example of such a product.

Side B of the LP presents music from a 29 June 1954 session recorded with Sonny Rollins on tenor and Horace Silver on piano. Unlike the 10" album of this session, the 12" version tossed in a second take of Gershwin's "But Not for Me." For side A, they plucked one lengthy song (the title track) from a 24 December 1954 session that had Thelonious Monk on piano and Bags (aka vibraphonist Milt Jackson) as the other soloist. Rather than adding more music from that session to round it out, they simply doubled up on "Bags Groove" (leaving the other three tunes from that session to make up part of Quintet / Sextet).

The music itself is strong, as the other Amazon reviews attest, but I have a hard time imagining that most people would want to buy it this way. There are more unified Miles albums from the mid-50s, if you're a newcomer wanting to try it out; examples include Musings of Miles to focus on Miles himself, Quintet / Sextet if you want to hear Bags, or
... Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All-star lineup produces classic September 10, 2004
Format:Audio CD
Unlike other reviewers on here, I consider this album to be a must-have for anybody's jazz collection. I have always given out Miles' "Kind of Blue" as a jazz primer to any jazz virgins wanting to get into the genre. Bags is another way to ease into jazz discovery. However, "Bags Groove" is an essential album for both the experienced and novice jazz fan alike. Milt Jackson's bopping, almost loungy vibes take us on a relaxing ride back and forth through the spaces while Miles' airy crooning is a perfect compliment. Monk almost feels out of place because when his piano speaks, it almost demands that you listen. This is why Miles asked Monk to lay out, to be sure. As an aside, the story of Monk and Miles almost coming to blows has been pretty much debunked by both sides. Monk wouldn't have been aggressive in a million years, while Miles said it best in his autobiography (paraphrasing): Miles was a scrawny thing while Monk was well over 6' and was an imposing specimen. Miles would have lost the fight before it began.

And for the earlier dolt reviewer who claims "Monk was never that good at his instrument (nor was Miles)," maybe you better tell that to the people at Julliard, where both of them studied. One doesn't just get into Julliard because their daddy's a senator. Another example is of Monk having another musician over to his house one day in the mid-50's. Monk opened his piano and began doing a dead-on Bud Powell impression, whose style obviously would NEVER be confused with Monk's. After a brief example of Bud's style, Monk closed the piano, turned to his houseguest and put his finger to his lips as if to say "don't tell anybody".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars match made in heaven
i thoroughly enjoyed this.. I have a few of "bags albums and I love the vibes and when you couple that with Miles Davis its just a match made in heaven.
Published 29 days ago by gee riley
5.0 out of 5 stars THE cool......
What can you say when the album lists sonny, milt, thelonius, horace, percy and MILES on the cover. the epitome of cool/
Published 9 months ago by JeffB
5.0 out of 5 stars Jazz Stars Shine on This One!
There are a multitude of reasons why Bags' Groove remains a cornerstone of the post-bop genre. Of course there will always be the lure of the urban myth surrounding the Christmas... Read more
Published on May 6, 2012 by Jerlaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Joe Goldberg Praises Sonny Rollins, Calls Session 'Perfection'
in his 1966 book Jazz Masters of the Fifties, jazz historian and critic Joe Goldberg has some very positive things to say about Sonny Rollins' involvement with Miles Davis on this... Read more
Published on April 17, 2011 by karlojazz
5.0 out of 5 stars Bags Groove
Best music period of Miles Davis. His improvizations were fresh and he delivered crisp notes.
Published on May 6, 2010 by Frederick H. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars An astonishing remaster of a 1954 mono session
I was in a high-end audio store the other day, and they were using this *mono* CD to demo a $100K system. It sounded like Miles, et al. Read more
Published on August 23, 2009 by HRS
5.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of Cool Grooves
The album title is a nod to vibraphonist Milt "Bags" Jackson, who appears on the album with Sonny Rollins (s), Thelonious Monk (p), Horace Silver (p), Percy Heath (b) and Kenny... Read more
Published on March 9, 2009 by Best Of All
5.0 out of 5 stars Pay No Attention To The Other Reviewer
"Bags' Groove" is an awesome recording. The sheer volume of jazz stars speaks for itself. Miles, Monk, Rollins, Milt Jackson, Horace Silver, Kenny Clarke, and Percy Heath. Read more
Published on December 20, 2008 by Transfigured Knight
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Yet
This is still not the complete Bags' Groove session. The complete Bags' Groove session, Miles Davis, Milt Jackson, Thelonious Monk etc. Read more
Published on April 5, 2008 by John M.
5.0 out of 5 stars Before the Quintet: Miles Davis & Modern Jazz Giants
Bags' Groove title cut (both takes) was recorded in the same December 24 1954 session that gave us Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants. Read more
Published on September 13, 2007 by Mark
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