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Miles often lit up Birdland with his all-star band featuring Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey and J.J. Johnson, as heard on two of these 1951 Symphony Sid broadcasts. Those have been on bootlegs, but not the third one here; it features tenor men Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Big Nick Nicholas and has never been issued! Includes Out of the Blue; Half Nelson; Tempus Fugit; Lady Bird , and more.
Top customer reviews
Here is another special treat for fans and admirers of the great Miles Davis.
A recently discovered rare radio broadcast of a live club date he gave Birdland
in 1951 and later bought over by Blue Note Records in 2004 with the approval
from The Miles Davis Estate. Taking from several brief radio broadcasts from
the legendary Birdland jazz club, Birdland 1951 showcase a particularly fruitful
session from several live spots taken during that year, and despite a mediocre
sound quality, the CD did managed to present us a clear and realistic live club
experience. Beginning with a boisterous take on Move, the first four recording
outtakes from a February 17 broadcast that were never made available in any
broadcast, while other tracks continues on Half Nelson, Bud Powell’s Tempus
Fugit (in which Miles made it into a Top Ten jazz hit in 1953), Out Of The Blue
and The Squirrel, until ending with Lady Bird. What you will even get on Bird-
land 1951 are the band settings as the first four tracks features Sonny Rollins,
J.J. Johnson, Art Blakey and rising young pianist Kenny Drew in sextet form,
while the September club date include Charles Mingus, Eddie “Lockjaw Davis
and Billy Taylor. The sound quality is almost just as great as Charlie Parker’s
Dean Benedetti Recordings-1945-47, the best thing you can hear on Birdland
1951 is that you can hear all those instrumental solos, which the music is just
as truly inspired, furious and done in realistic cutting edge form, which makes
one of the best posthumous albums to come from the Miles Davis canon.
I really love the live performance recordings. They are not perfect, but they are so much fun. I really appreciate Blue Note putting out these recordings. Enjoy them while they are still available at a reasonable price.
Plus, four songs from a Feb. 51 session that hasn't been previously available: "Out of the Blue," "Half Nelson," a take of "Move" and the awesome "Tempus Fugit."
Davis may have been fighting heroin addiction in 1951, but his playing is strong, confident, and quite aggressive compared to most of his studio dates of this era. His playing sounds as much the forerunner of Clifford Brown or Freddie Hubbard than of his own more impressionistic playing heard on later albums including KIND OF BLUE. Not only is Davis' playing strong, but he has quite a few jazz legends in the sextets assembled for these club dates, all of whom are also in good form (e.g., Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Charles Mingus, J.J. Johnson). The tunes are mostly bop-era standards, with several tunes heard more than once.
The sound quality has been cleaned up to the point where the listener can focus on the musical quality without having one's concentration broken by unwanted noises (the Feb. 1951 session with the most imperfections is still relatively easy on the ears...only a handful of brief rough spots). I don't know if in-between songs chatter was edited out or not available, but this CD focuses solely on the musical performances. Overall, there are quite a few Miles CD I would recommend over BIRDLAND 1951, which despite the fine musical performances is probably for collectors only. That doesn't mean the music here isn't excellent, only that Davis went on to even greater heights in the four decades following these club dates.
Barring a mostly abysmal sound quality (which in all fairness can help emulate its '51 pedigree), this energetic live disc captures Davis in a surprisingly aggressive mode, never relenting through ten tracks of hardcore hard-bop.