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Musings of Miles
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2008
Format: Audio CD
"The Musings of Miles" from 1955 is an often overlooked album in the vast catalog of the great trumpeter Miles Davis. In fact, I was unaware that it even existed until its recent reissue as part of the ongoing Van Gelder remastered series. Despite it not being better known, "Musings" is a classic Miles Davis album and even more importantly, an historical one for within a few months after its recording, he would assemble what would come to be known as his First Great Quintet with John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones.
Garland and Jones are already in place on this album with bass duties being handled by the legendary Oscar Pettiford. Davis's trumpet is the sole horn to be heard here but the stylings of what was to come are already apparent. His warm muted sound is heard in remarkable beauty on the ballad "I See Your Face Before Me" and the swinger "A Gal in Calico". On the original "I Didn't" (based on Thelonious Monk's "Well You Needn't") and Dizzy Gilespie's "A Night In Tunisia", Miles and his quartet let it all come loose with some great improvisation. Likewise goes for the remaining two tracks, the opening laid-back "Will You Still be Mine" and the burning blues closer "Green Haze" (which is my personal favorite on the album).
With this album having been remastered and reissued, maybe "The Musings of Miles" will start to become better known. It certainly is in every way as good as the classic quintet albums that would follow and in my opinion, it also ranks up there with "Kind Of Blue". If you love the music of Miles Davis, you'll definitely love the six "Musings" heard on this album.
35 minutes of classic Miles Davis from 1955 goes a long way.
Highly recommended!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Red Garland (p), Oscar Pettiford (b) and Philly Joe Jones (d) join Miles on this June 7, 1955, release that should be shuffled to the top of any collector's library.

The six selections clock in at 35:47, with each number being an exploration in unbridled artistry; the soundscapes capture special subtleties that makes for classic short stories. The standouts are Will You Still Be Mine?, A Night in Tunisia and Green Haze.

Each musician is walking the extra miles to deliver bebop that are for Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin'.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Jazz history is a funny thing. As it is written, the conventional wisdom is that Miles made his greatest recordings with one of his classic quintets, either the earlier one with Coltrane or the later one with Wayne Shorter. But this view rather ignores the fact that some of Miles' most beautiful playing is on transitional albums, recordings on which he was piecing together a new band or trying out new sidemen. In 1963, between the Trane and Shorter bands, for instance, he made 'Seven Steps to Heaven', which features two different rhythm sections but some of the most sublimely lyrical playing of Miles' career. And then there's this album, made in 1955. Miles has already recruited pianist Red Garland and drummer Philly Joe Jones into what would shortly solidify into his first great quintet, but Coltrane has yet to join. Again, at this transitional moment, Miles pulls out all the stops in his own playing, which is inspired and swinging throughout, lacking any of the intellectual coyness or cool reticence of some of his work in the years to follow. There's a lot of playing on an open horn, with forcefulness and ease - and a remarkable technical finesse that Miles would sometimes later struggle to attain. For the quality of Miles' work alone, irregardless of his sidemen, 'Musings of Miles' is easily one of the greatest Miles Davis recordings.

But this band is now slouch, either. Garland, in 1955, had begun deploying his famous block chords and could drop into a lush, Ahmad Jamal-ish style per the demands of Miles, but his playing was also still heavily influenced by Bud Powell, and his solos on this album include brilliant, swinging single-note runs. Doing bass duties here is Oscar Pettiford, who may not have been a soloist in the league of Paul Chambers but who gives Miles' musings on this album a meaty propulsiveness that Chambers would never provide. With Philly Joe reining in some of his wilder horses, the quartet on 'Musings of Miles' turns in work that is controlled, precise, cerebral, and soothing, yet unfailingly swinging and joyous, too. It's really a unique moment in the recording career of Miles Davis.

(A final note: why doesn't anyone ever rerelease this record with the original album cover art, a fantastic pen-and-ink sketch of Miles with great 1950's graphic design?)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2009
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
this is my favorite period of miles davis, mid to late 50's. this album made just before his teaming with clotrane features just him and rhythm. but the rhythm includes pettiford. a very enjoyable listen as miles comes into his prime. if you like this period for miles, you will enjoy this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: MP3 Music
I am going to try to refrain from heaping the same superlatives on this album that other reviewers have bestowed. They are all true, but I prefer to let the sound samples on this page tell the story - and a great story they tell.

This album came to my attention completely by serendipitous accident: I purchased a value-priced, two album set titled Alone Together and this was one of the two albums. On first listen I was in love. In fact, until this album I had always considered Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers' rendition of Dizzy Gillespie's Night in Tunisia to be the definitive version. After listening to the performance in this album I am not as certain. One of the things that makes that track - and the rest of them on this album - work is the solid rhythm section comprised of Red Garland on piano, Oscar Pettiford on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums. They give Miles the freedom to take the melody on every track to places that only he can with his tone and style.

This album was recorded for Prestige at Rudy van Gelder's Hackensack, NJ studio on June 7, 1955. I strongly encourage you to check out the two-album set I mentioned above before making a final purchase decision because it contains another album that was recorded two days later and together they are a wonderful listening experience.
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on November 12, 2011
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
This session is probably best known for previewing (most of) the rhythm section for Miles Davis's 1st Great Quintet. He'd already recorded with Philly Joe Jones in 1953 (the session featuring Sonny Rollins and Charlie Parker available on the album Collector's Items), but now Philly Joe was coupled with pianist Red Garland and bassist Oscar Pettiford.

This music doesn't reach the heights of the quintet's best work. Coltrane's presence on the front line is missed, and the rhythm section isn't as locked-in as it would be in 1956. But it is probably on the same level or better than the quintet's first album (The New Miles Davis Quintet) and the playing is nice - a combination of standards and bebop. The blues, "Green Haze", is particularly nice.

If you like the albums the Miles made with Coltrane in 1955 and 1956, but are hungry for more, you can check this one out without disappointment.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2013
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I don't think there is a bad Miles Davis album. Great music for "in the house" or "in the car" or background for parties. Everybody should have Miles around.
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