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Workin' with the Miles Davis Quintet

4.4 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 24, 1994
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Editorial Reviews

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Trumpeter Miles Davis led several sessions for Prestige Records between November 1955 and October 1956 with his legendary "first" quintet, featuring tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones. The sessions represent an incomparable musical legacy. Impeccably engineered by Rudy Van Gelder, the music was released on five albums that provide a unique glimpse at how five brilliant instrumentalists coalesced into one of the most extraordinary ensembles in modern jazz. Workin' presents an easygoing program that balances ballads with the blues and includes quintet performances of originals by Davis ("Four," "Half Nelson"), Coltrane ("Trane's Blues"), and Dave Brubeck ("In Your Own Sweet Way"); an interpretation of the standard "It Never Entered My Mind" without saxophone; and a piano-trio version of Ahmad Jamal's "Ahmad's Blues." Coltrane's melancholy solo on Brubeck's tune and Garland's spry excursion on Coltrane's are two of this classic's many highlights. --Mitchell Feldman

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. It Never Entered My Mind
  2. Four
  3. In Your Own Sweet Way
  4. The Theme (Take 1)
  5. Trane's Blues
  6. Ahmad's Blues
  7. Half Nelson
  8. The Theme (Take 2)


Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 24, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Original Jazz Classics
  • ASIN: B000000YGI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,636 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The set of albums on Prestige, [Workin', Steamin', Relaxin', and Cookin'] has always been a favorite of mine. These albums were made in marathon sessions over a weekend so that Miles could be free to record under heavier promotion and a far more lucrative contract on Columbia Records. Albums like "Kind of Blue" and "Miles Ahead" that are traditionally thought of as the peak of Miles' art benefit from the increased budget of Columbia for recording and studio time as well as the opportunity to higher the best arrangers [like Bill Evans] or keep the best musicians together on the road for an extended period of time. The best albums on Columbia are not always known for hard-swinging [with the exception of Milestones] or conventional interpretations of hummable standards.

These Prestiges [Workin', Steamin', Relaxin', and Cookin'] are some of the hardest swinging albums in Miles' discography thanks to the tremendous rhythm section of Philly Joe Jones, Paul Chambers, and Red Garland. Besides Miles' own fabulous playing on the ballads, the work of that rhythm section is what makes these albums so much fun to listen to. Even Miles wants to listen to them. Miles sits out on Ahmad's Blues and allows the rhythm section to play as a trio in a tribute to Ahmad Jamal, whose delicate chamber jazz and reinterpretations of standards inform the swing of this group.

I'd recommend any of the Prestige's equally as five star albums although I realize many people won't have the budget to splurge for all four and those that do may go all the way and purchase Miles' complete Prestige albums, even though some of that material is not up to the consistently high standard here.

Workin's is best thought of as "a plays the blues set". It gives a feel for what a club date might have sounded like.
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By Sean M. Kelly on September 23, 2000
Format: Audio CD
In many ways, "Workin" is my favorite of the 4 lps made that day (Steamin, Relaxin, and Cookin the other 3)for Prestige Records.
In my view, Miles' playing on "It Never Entered My Mind" is some of the most emotional playing he ever did..add to that Garland's superbly understated piano and Paul Chambers going so far as to use a bow on his bass to make it "cry" at the end of the piece, and the emotions come out and then some. A true tour de force for this lp.
No less amazing, and a lot more fun, is Red Garland, Chambers, and drummr Philly Joe Jones working out on Ahmad Jamal's (Miles' favorite piano player) "Ahmad's Blues," in a tight trio setting. The 3 were a great match, with Garland's sublime playing carrying the day. A wonderful selection.
Davis' originals "Half Nelson, " Four," and "The Theme" (which will close all Davis concerts from that point until 1973)all show Davis' impeccible sense of time and space, and all will become concert staples.
John Coltrane's playing is sporadic at best and downright terrible at worst (he flubs the 1st few bars of his 1st solo pass on his own "Trane's Blues" and never really recovers) on some of these sides. The Trane we all know and love is nowhere to be found on these sides (a forced sabbatical from the group was very near in coming, as Trane was battling alcohol, heroin, and overeating in 1955), but he still gives a very credible effort on Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way."
Overall, this cd is a great one, as all 4 are. It shows the group (save Coltrane, who is his ususal, frantic self) in a very relaxed mood, enjoying themselves, and the results prove that. Great listening.
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Format: Audio CD
This Lp, along with his three other classic Prestige albums - Cookin', Steamin', and Relaxin'- is from Miles' first classic Quintet; one of the greatest small goups in jazz history, right up there with the Hot Fives and Sevens and the Kansas City Six. This set is one of the strongest of the four Lps (although, if you like one, you really should get all four) with the surpassing beauty of "It Never Entered My Mind," followed with "Four" - (a beatiful bit of relaxed yet spirited blowing) typifying the cohesion and remarkable flexibility of the band and it's way with both ballads and up- tempo numbers; standards and originals. Miles is really in his early prime and 'Trane is rapidly finding his voice - already showing the searching, adventurous brilliance the Miles had seen in him as a young man and that he would expand on with "Blue Trane" and his appearance in "Kind of Blue" and, of course, take to unbelievable peaks on Atlantic and Impulse. Don't overlook "the best rhythm section in Jazz," either. The interplay of the young Paul Chambers on bass, the somewhat underappreciated Red Garland on piano and the always wonderful Philly Joe Jones on drums really drives the music and is constantly flawless. A model for Jazz bands everywhere in the 50's, this music can, and should be enjoyed by all fans of the genre.
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By A Customer on January 14, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Back in college circa 1986, I found this album in a second hand bookshop. I knew nothing about jazz at the time... but the cover design was so wonderful (I was a graphic design buff at the time) I just had to have it. Then I played it. Wow. To this day that moment remains one of the top 3 most seminal experiences in my love affair with music. Since then I've bought over 20 Miles records, most of which are outstanding but somehow none of them have the classic, simple beauty and economy of this record. This record will always occupy a favored spot in your collection should you wish to purchase it. Everything that makes people fall in love with jazz in in this recording. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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