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All of You: The Last Tour, 1960
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Miles Davis' tour of Europe during the spring of 1960 marked the close of his five year association with John Coltrane.
Miles Davis' tour of continental Europe during the spring of 1960 marked the close of his five year association with John Coltrane. Although the controversial saxophonist had already embarked on his own bandleading career and had been lured back to Davis'group only reluctantly, creative sparks flew the instant the band took to the stage. Night after night stunned audiences witnessed the trumpeter and his star sidemen reinventing their regular repertoire like never before. As the tour progressed through Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and Holland, several of the bands appearances were broadcast or privately recorded, with the resulting tapes soon becoming sought after collector's items. This new Acrobat release compiles various recordings made during the trip, documenting the extraordinary creative alchemy of a legendary partnership about to disintegrate. In addition, the collection features a revealing backstage interview with John Coltrane, recorded in Sweden. The release also includes an in-depth essay by saxophonist and writer Simon Spillett.
So What (March 21st 1960 First house
Fran Dance (March 21st 1960 First house)
Medley: All Blues/The Theme (March 21st 1960 First house)
Interview with John Coltrane by Carl-Eric Lindgren
So What (March 21st 1960 Second house)
On Green Dolphin Street (March 21st 1960 Second house)
Medley: Walkin' (March 21st 1960 Second house)
So What (March 24th 1960)
On Green Dolphin Street (March 24th 1960)
Medley: All Blues/The Theme (March 24th 1960)
So What (March 30th 1960)
All of You (March 30th 1960)
So What (April 3rd 1960 First house)
'Round Midnight (April 3rd 1960 First house)
Walkin' (April 3rd 1960 First house)
So What (April 3rd 1960 Second house)
If I Were A Bell (April 8th 1960)
Fran Dance (April 8th 1960)
So What (April 8th 1960)
All Blues (April 8th 1960)
The Theme (April 8th 1960)
On Green Dolphin Street (April 9th 1960)
So What (April 89h 1960)
'Round Midnight (April 9th 1960)
Walkin' (April 9th 1960)
The Theme (April 9th 1960)
This four-CD boxed set captures for posterity how this quintet night after night stunned audiences in Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and Holland. Larry Jaffee, --Huffington Post
Simply said, this set puts the 'class' in 'classic.' Music that defines jazz. George W. Harris, --Jazz Weekly
An extraordinary document of an historic collaboration of giants. Michael Simmons, --Mojo
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Bottom line--this is a great set of Davis' quintet with Coltrane-tenor sax, Wynton Kelly-piano, Jimmy Cobb-drums, and Paul Chambers-bass. The sound for the most part is good/very good--though not audiophile quality. The sources used for this box set are from radio broadcast tapes with the exception of the March 30th concert in Frankfurt which is from an audience tape. Also the bass is low in the mix for many of these tracks but can be heard better on some tracks as opposed to others. Most (if not all) these tapes have been around for years (the box set "Miles Davis With John Coltrane and Sonny Stitt 1960" on the Dragon label has the first few on this Disc 1), but overall this set collects a lot of the best gigs and tunes in pretty decent sound from that tour. The poorest sound is from March 30th in Frankfurt. Some tunes from that gig aren't complete--the tape fades out before the end of the tune. Plus Kelly's piano solos on "So What" on April 3rd , first and second house (sets) wasn't picked up by the mic's. It's discernible from other mics on stage. But that's a fairly minor concern with so much other great music here.
The packaging too is nicely done--a thick, lidded cardboard outer box with a list of the tracks, concerts and dates, cardboard sleeves that have concert details on the back and a different photo on the front. The 34 page booklet has a long essay on Davis and the music and some nice period photos. Plus, there's a short synopsis of each concert that's helpful. I will mention that these discs are stamped CD-R, similar to other box sets (Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and others) recently released on the Acrobat label. I don't know why they use these discs (except to save/make more money) but I think people should know what they're purchasing.
But the music--this is the classic sound of one of Davis' most important groups. All the music is from 1960, from gigs in Sweden, Denmark, West Germany, Switzerland, and Holland. Disc 1 also has a short interview with Coltrane in Sweden (also not new) with Coltrane talking about his style and how it fits with Davis' style, Throughout these sets you can hear Coltrane straining against Davis' more conventional playing, and that's where the real excitement begins. Coltrane was expanding his sound and just beginning to play outside conventional jazz patterns, and would leave Davis' group after this.
But everyone was playing at a very high level--Kelly's piano sparkles with his intelligent, bluesy playing. It's apparent that he was listening very closely to the other band members. And the rhythm section--both Cobb (who both propels and lays out subtle flourishes) and Chambers (hear his bass solo on "On Green Dolphin Street" from March 24th) really set the scene for the soloists--their playing is empathetic and alive. Davis' solos are beautifully played and unwind in that seemingly just the right way he had of playing. And Coltrane solos with wonder and excitement. Listen to "Walkin'" from the second house set in Stockholm, March 22nd, and you'll hear him begin to pull away from Davis. Hearing both Davis and Coltrane out front across these sets is pretty awesome. It's a combination of Davis "older" style and Coltrane, who was looking somewhere more "modern".
The tunes the band played didn't chnage too differently from night to night. There's multiple versions of "So What" (8), "Fran Dance" (2), "All Blues/The Theme"(3), "On Green Dolphin Street" (3), "Walkin'/The Theme" (3), "All Of You" (1), "If I Were A Bell" (1), "Round Midnight' (2), and "The Theme" (1). But it's the solos that make this music so great and important. Both Davis and Coltrane (especially) were inventing things as they went along. Davis would introduce a few bars of another melody and then return to the original tune, and Coltrane was almost constantly blowing with strength and intelligence in his solos, going places he would explore more fully on his own. Kelly's playing was a bridge between both horns and his blues-based sound helped anchor both Davis and Coltrane. Listening to these gigs at one sitting it feels as if Coltrane was beginning to play more and more his "sheets of sound" style the further you go into these gigs. The playing sounds relatively conventional during the first few tunes ,and then things seemed to change. Perhaps it's because Davis and Coltrane were beginning to not get along both musically and personally. But by the March 22nd (2nd house) version of "On Green Dolphin Street", Coltrane was blowing with an intensity that only increased after this. You can hear the rest of the band playing in the conventional style that fans had grown accustomed to--Kelly's piano is bluesy, the rhythm section is laying down a straight ahead base, and Davis is playing conventional changes on most of these tunes.
It's interesting that Davis originally wanted Sonny Rollins on tenor (he said no), then Cannonball Adderley (he also said no), and then he tried out John Gilmore (to fierce and free for Davis), and then hired Coltrane. Davis has said that sometimes he didn't know what Coltrane was playing on stage, but he knew it was something great ("some bad s##t") and that it was something new and different. And that's what you'll hear across these sets.
For whatever reason this box set has been difficult to find. But for fans of Davis and/or Coltrane, live on stage during this period (and if you don't already own most of this music elsewhere), this is well worth pulling a few dollars out of your pocket and purchasing this good set of music. This box seems to appear and disappear rapidly--so if you see it--buy it.
For more incendiary Coltrane with Davis from 1960, check out the 2 CD set on the Delta label, "Miles Davis Featuring John Coltrane: Olympia Mar. 20, 1960". The sound is very good with few sonic anomalies and Coltrane is on fire!
And if you're interested in Davis' "second great quintet" including Shorter, Hancock, Carter, and Williams, check out the 2 CD set "Live At The Oriental Theater 1966". Different band, more good music live on stage, with fairly decent sound.
Most recent customer reviews
Vendor was not at all inters ted in replacing the one unplayable CD.