What is cool? At its very essence, cool is all about what’s happening next. In popular culture, what’s happening next is a kaleidoscope encompassing past, present and future: that which is about to happen may be cool, and that which happened in the distant past may also be cool. This timeless quality, when it applies to music, allows minimalist debate – with few ... Read more in Amazon's Miles Davis Store
Miles Davis never undertook a project he didn't feel passionately about. He may have lacked passion for his audience, but he always had intense feelings about the music he absorbed into his soul. This transcendence came back in the form of cathartic expression, and while the masses were of little concern, they reaped the benefit of Miles' irrepressible desire to interpret musical form.
" Workin'" commences with the lovely " It Never Entered My Mind". Miles' trumpet rolls wistfully along with some grand piano work provided by Red Garland. The two sounds combine to convey a sentiment of " Had I known, things would have been different." The Miles Davis Quintet, showcase band for Miles at the time, consisted of wide ranging talent, with John Coltrane on board as well as "Philly" Joe Jones ( unbelievable drums) and Paul Chambers.
" Four", the next number, rollicks as the best of big band sounds do. Each member of the instrument section chime in with a sound that is fuller than most forty piece orchestras. Amazing.
Dave Brubecks " In Your Own Sweet Way" receives the Davis overhaul, and for the better. I love Brubeck, but this particular tune had always left me cold. Miles takes it and whips it inside out, giving it a sound that is still smooth and sophisticated, but with an added layer. He plumbs the depths with an alternate arrangement that allows even greater sophistication than its counterpart version. Superb.
All the songs are a pleasure, but the last one worth special mention is "Ahmad's Blues". This is seven and a half minutes of pure meditation, a song that lets the listener experience what sounds like ambivilance. The understated cymbal, with the graceful piano virtuousity, creates a tension that is pleasureable.
It is also worth noting that the drums on this are outstanding, jazz percussion at its finest. A must have for all Davis fans.
The Miles Davis Quintet powered through two days of sessions in 1956 that produced for albums for Prestige Records, which were the last for the label.
Davis (tr), John Coltrane (sax), Philly Joe Jones (d), Red Garland (p) and Paul Chambers (b, cello) are tearing the studio up with a replication of their concert energy over these eight numbers, which clock in at a nice 41:59. The standout cuts are Half Nelson, Four and Trane's Blues.
No matter the music genre, it is oftentimes impossible for bands to crank out their live sound in the confines of a studio. Under the direction of Davis, this is a demonstration on how a studio can groove like a gig.
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Workin' was one of four albums Miles Davis recorded quickly in order to satisfy his Prestige contract. According to the liner notes, Workin' is intended to reflect the live sound of the quintet, made up of John Coltrane on tenor sax, Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, Philly Joe Jones on drums, and of course, Davis on trumpet. This album is a great showcase for this talented ensemble, beginning with the ballad "It Never Entered My Mind". This song is tenderly rendered on muted trumpet by Davis with gentle accompaniment by the rhythm section. Coltrane enters the fray on the next piece, the Davis penned "Four", an excellent hard bop number, before they cover Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way". The group closes what would have been side one of the LP with "The Theme", a short piece, just as if they were closing the first set of a live show.
The "second" set opens with "Trane's Blues", an up-tempo blues boasting fine work from Coltrane and Red Garland in particular. Davis and Coltrane bow out for "Ahmad's Blues", written by Ahmad Jamal, whom Miles greatly admired. This hornless number gives the rhythm section their chance to really shine and they take full advantage, Garland turning in some of his finest work on the album and Chambers providing a thumping good bass solo. The full group returns for "Half Nelson", a song Davis originally penned for Charlie Parker. The group is in full swing here for this hard bop piece. "The Theme (Take 2)" closes the album on a proper note, leaving you with the experience of having heard live jazz or the closest thing you can come to it by way of recordable media. The Van Gelder remaster sounds fantastic, making you feel as if you're in the same room with the players. It's easy to see why these four albums are considered jazz classics as the group plays so cohesively, with such passion and skill. This disc is a must have.