50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
No Mediocre Middle Child,
This review is from: Milestones (Audio CD)This was Miles' second album for Columbia. But because it came in right after his heralded first Columbia album, "Round Midnight," and just before the immortal "Kind of Blue," it tends to be overlooked in the Miles' canon. Make no mistake about it, the album contains some of the most fiery yet organized music of Miles on record. Cannonball, after all, was not on the 1st Columbia album, and "Kind of Blue," as magical as it is, often acquires a kind of meandering, moody quality due to its quiet, introspective nature.
"Milestones" also represents a kind of "second chance" for the members of Miles' sextet. Due to the personal and alcohol/drug-related problems of his sidemen, Miles simply decided to disband the group for most of 1957. When he had a change of heart and resurrected the sextet for this late 1957 recording, the other five members sensed they had to prove themselves to two audiences: the public and Miles himself.
Cannonball not only brings his characteristic fire to each of the selections, but stands up more effectively to Coltrane's advanced harmonies on this date than on the "Kind of Blue" session, in my opinion. The trio number with Red Garland is representative of some of Red's best trio work on the Prestige label but without the Rudy Van Gelder sound (which tends to make all pianists' touches sound the same). Moreover, I can vouch from memory and personal experience that the title tune, "Milestones," had a far greater influence on musicians' moving to modal and "free" harmonies than anything on "Kind of Blue" (perhaps because the latter album's singular beauty is beyond replication). Finally, the alternate takes appear to be first takes because Miles, if anything, sounds fresher and more inventive on these than on the master tracks. Like Sinatra, Miles had little patience with, or reason for, a second take.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 18, 2010 3:40:55 PM PST
Daniel M. Feldman says:
This is Miles' THIRD album for Columbia. His second album was Miles Ahead (1957), not this LP.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2011 1:29:53 PM PST
Samuel Chell says:
I'll give it to you, since All Music Guide (for one) also lists it as 1957, between "Round Midnight" and "Kind of Blue." If I wanted to quibble, it would be on the grounds that I tend to think of "Miles Ahead," "Porgy and Bess," "Sketches of Spain," etc. as uniquely collaborative efforts, with credit belonging as much to Gil Evans (and all the guys in his orchestra) as to Miles. They're albums less under Miles' leadership than dates that "feature" Miles as soloist. But my review doesn't distinguish between Miles' own small groups and his albums as featured soloist, so your point remains well taken.
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