Live At The 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival Live
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In some respects, this is but yet another example of what is known as Davis' "transition period" (1960-1964) between his "first great quintet," with tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, and "second great quintet," with Wayne Shorter. On this instance, the playing is good enough to make a listener wish the transition had lasted indefinitely. First, there was the fascinating contrast between Davis' free approach and reedman Sonny Stitt's systematic bebop vocabulary, then there was Davis' sophisticated urbanity contrasting with the musky, bluesy, unashamedly soul-baring tenor of Hank Mobley, and here it's the restless and searching Davis vs. the pure, open sound and "singing" approach of tenor saxophonist George Coleman. The fact that the band had been together only several months adds to the freshness and excitement of the performance--perhaps more so than anything that would follow during Miles' "acoustic" period.
On the opening "Autumn Leaves" Davis, on harmon-muted trumpet, conducts a Hamlet-like, alternately meditative and morosely malcontent dialogue with his 23 year-old pianist Herbie Hancock who, quickly reacting to some hints from bassist Ron Carter, provides harmonic substitutions that momentarily reshape the tune's character.Read more ›
Yet it is well worth picking up this release even if you have all of these discs. The playing on this Moneterey concert is amazing, from all parties. Miles' soloes are long and energetic. I think this may be the best version of "Autumn Leaves" I've heard from this band, and George Coleman's solo on "So What" is full of vibrancy. In 1963 this was a new band, and you can feel the enthusiasm even when the band is playing such well-worn tunes.
And in case you were wondering, this is NOT a bootleg release, it was released with the blessing of the Miles Davis Estate. The sound quality is fantastic!
This was some kind of quintet Miles had assembled back in 1963 with George Coleman (tenor sax), Ron Carter (bass), Herbie Hancock (piano), and a seventeen-year-old phenom named Tony Williams (drums). Miles was sitting on top of the jazz world at the time, and this recording is a prime example of why. His majestic, muted style is simply electrifying and it's also easy to see why he was consistently winning the Down Beat poll as the best jazz trumpet player of the year. The always traditional, conservative Coleman is solid throughout, nothing too spectacular, but then again, sans mistakes (which actually didn't appeal to Williams who hated the fact that Coleman's playing always sounded so perfect and mistake free. He actually preferred musicians who made mistakes, like playing out of key).
Another reason this recording is so memorable and special are the extraordinary performances of Hancock and Williams. These guys were really out to prove themselves and Williams in particular, became the talk of the jazz world after this appearance. Just listen to him at the end of "Autumn Leaves" and tell me anyone could have done it better or sound as unique. And I just love Herbie, he and Miles always seemed to be on the same page and he just kills it on his swingin, smooth, sophisticated solo on "Stella by Starlight". However, these are just two small examples of this near perfect, live recording.
All in all, this is a really nice suprise and one not to be missed. I had no idea it was going to be as great as it was, and can't recommend this one enough!
All around, a great new series of recordings and a must have for the old Miles Davis collection!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Somehow this recording had passed under my radar. This era of Miles Quintet is one of my favorites, and glad that there is another recorded document out there.Published 23 months ago by Jeremy Manasia
Regardless the flood of albums issued after his death, this "Live at the 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival" is a good example of Miles power and influence in the music of an era. Read morePublished on July 9, 2013 by Jose Mario Serra
Bought this for my mother-n-law for christmas she just loved it. I would recommend this cd for easy listeningfor anyone.Published on January 3, 2013 by beboop
The sound of this recording is indescribable.That the music matches it makes it indispensable for music lovers.Never heard GC in such swinging command.Unreal.Published on June 17, 2012 by monks time
I know this was a transitional band for Miles. He was waiting for Wayne Shorter to become available to join his band, and utilized George Coleman in the tenor sax chair until Wayne... Read morePublished on December 13, 2011 by Dean Robb
I own a large number of Miles Davis CDs (too many) and only yesterday added "Winter In Europe", a recent release, to the collection. Read morePublished on December 3, 2008 by Big Miles Davis Fan
I can't really ever get enough enough of Miles. My i-Pod says it all - the most played MP3s = Miles and Miles and Miles of Miles. This is a great performance.Published on September 10, 2008 by D. Donohue
This is a live performance of the quintet with Miles, George Coleman on sax, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams. It opens up quite nicely with "Autumn Leaves". Read morePublished on February 20, 2008 by Anthony Cooper
Isn't it amazing when a quality package FAILS to credit the folks who made the recordings?
Wake up, CONCORD and MJFR - when the Amazon reviewers can hear the sound... Read more