The Skip 5 Show #2: Miles Davis – Woody’n You
From the 1958 album Relaxin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet, this is a jazz standard (written by Dizzy Gillespie in 1942, as an homage to Woody Herman). It’s a full-tilt hard bop swinger with great solo turns. Great? I mean, have a look… Personnel: Miles Davis (trumpet), John Coltrane (tenor sax), Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums).
Get you some.
I grabbed up this UK Hallmark Records budget compilation because it’s Miles. Information specifically about sessions/players is non-existent in the packaging, and the internet hasn’t got a whole lot either. The back cover of the CD does offer this:
“Organised jam sessions at New York’s legendary Birdland Club were broadcast twice weekly during the late ’40’s and early ’50’s and a baker’s dozen of tracks featuring the magnificent Miles Davis have been selected for this collection. The various pick-up line-ups included all the great jazz musicians of the era, and tenor sax genius Stan Getz can be heard here on several tracks beautifully complimenting Miles’ wonderful trumpet excursions.”
OK… The sound quality here isn’t the greatest, as you’d expect from recordings of radio broadcasts from the period, but the playing is stellar. Of course. These tracks swing like hell. And yup, there are two run-throughs of the track Move. So be it!
Folks, there are a lot of cheap-o compilations out there, tricking you into buying them with their flashy cover art and their low, low prices. But given the talent on display here, you really can’t go wrong with this one.
Hit It Or Quit It? Hit! It’s Miles!
Tracks: Out Of The Blue / Lady Bird / Conception / The Squirrel / Woody ‘N’ You / Confirmation / That Old Black Magic / Move / Half Nelson / Down / Max Is Making Wax / Ray’s Idea / Move
Pride Of Taranna Series Pt. 20: Sonic Boom #6-9: Miles Davis – Eight Classic Albums 4CD
I got this 4CD set of 8 Miles Davis albums for $12.99!!! And I’ve been walking around the neighbourhood, and playing this stuff in the house and car, for days now, just listening to nothing but Miles and I have to tell you, it makes the world a beautiful place…
Alright this post is a whopper, so I’ll try to keep it short enough. Just know there’s a ton more information out there on the interwubs about all of these albums. Also, the short version of my opinion of all four discs is WAHOO!, but I know you wanna know a bit more, so, here’s what’s on this set:
First we have Blue Period (1951, released 1953), all of it stellar. And then Kind Of Blue (1959). I know, right? Like, how many times have I played that album? Does it matter? PLAY IT AGAIN!
First up is Young Man With A Horn (1952), which was Miles’ second studio album. Wiki says at this time he was struggling with his heroin addiction so this was his only output that year. All I can say is the tracks here are stunning and show no sign of trouble. This is followed by the Workin’ album (1956). Let me list the players here and, in this way, you’ll know what I thought of it: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones. Exactly.
We start with Miles Davis Volume 2 (1953), which is more tracks from the session at Blue Note which also yielded Young Man With A Horn (see CD2). The session included players like Kenny Clarke, Art Blakey, J.J. Johnson, and Horace Silver (among many), so it’s just frickin’ gorgeous. All of this is followed by the Steamin’ album (recorded 1956, released 1961), and uses the same brilliant quintet as Workin’ (see CD2). Again, just gorgeous, especially their run through of Monk’s Well, You Needn’t. Oh my.
This disc opens with Miles Davis Volume 3 (1954), which was the last session for Blue Note, a quartet with Miles Davis, Horace Silver, Percy Heath, and Art Blakey. Right? I mean COME ON. They did Well, You Needn’t here, too. Those six tracks on Vol.3 are followed by Collectors Items (1956), the result of two sessions that year which used different musicians. Sonny Rollins and Charlie Parker appear on tracks here, as well as other names like Tommy Flannagan, Walter Bishop, and Art Taylor that jazz fans will know. By reports I read, Parker was drinking A LOT of alcohol at this point, and the sessions were difficult. It ended up being a posthumous release for Parker, as it dropped a year after his death. The tunes, though, are glorious, including a bunch of Davis compositions, as well as Monk’s ‘Round Midnight, and Dave Brubeck’s In Your Own Sweet Way.
Wow. Just… wow.
Hit It Or Quit It? Hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit!
I’m sure you have a bargain shop equivalent in your town, some sort of dollar store. Ours here is called Dollarama, and it sells the shitty Chinese shit that’s even too shitty for shitty Mall-Wart to sell.
I don’t go in there often, though it is a good place to get those clear crystal mints for the glove box in the car…
Anyway, I had occasion to be in this establishment recently and made a major, major score. 3 CDs (count them, THREE) of Miles Davis. For $3. They were packed in a box set called Original American Classics. The label here is Direct Source Special Products (out of Plattsburg, NY – hey, I’ve been there!), so you know this is a major player! 😉
Of course, at that price, I had to bring it home.
I played it through last night, as I worked on this or that around the house, and it’s really quite excellent. These aren’t remastered or fancy at all. It does have a booklet, with a brief history of Miles’ life in it. But the sound quality is excellent, probably equal to the original CD issues of the original tracks (these are not reissued albums, but compilations).
Have a look for yourself, I think this was a pretty damn good score.
CD1 – Milestones
The original 1958 LP ran:
Dr. Jekyll (aka Dr. Jackle)
Two Bass Hit
Miles (titled Milestones on later releases)
Straight, No Chaser
On the CD reissue, the running order was the same as the original, plus alternate takes of Two Bass Hit, Milestones and Straight, No Chaser.
On this box set, it looks like this:
Willie The Wailer
A Night In Tunisia
Venus De Milo
Moose The Mooche
So… they must’ve just thought it was a cool CD title because only the track by that name is the only one in common with the original…
CD2 – Jazz Legend
This looks to be just a bunch of collected tracks:
Darn That Dream (f. Kenny Hagood, vocals)
It Never Entered My Mind
CD3 – Miles Forever
Again, just a bunch of collected tracks:
Chasin’ The Bird
Sippin’ At Bells
Ah Leu Cha (w. The Charlie Parker Allstars)
Constellation (w. The Charlie Parker Allstars)
It’s Only A Paper Moon
Like I said, it was $3. But this was damn enjoyable.
[Columbia Legacy 88697680571-S1 1959/2010]
[HQ 180 gram heavyweight audiophile vinyl]
This record was a gift from my wife, knowing that we both absolutely love every note contained within these grooves. The 180 gram vinyl sounds phenomenal, even on my basic stereo system.
What could I tell you about this Deserted Island Top 10 List, One Of The Best-Ever Jazz Records disc that you don't already know? I just love it. Love it, love it, love it.
Miles Davis, Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley, Paul Chambers, James Cobb, John Coltrane, Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly.
Blue In Green
That is all.
Let the ‘Favourite Record’ fun begin!
This little project has quickly become an interesting sociological experiment. Responses to my little query have varied greatly. Some people know what their favourite record is without hesitation. Others say one thing, then quickly ask if they can change their answer. A couple of people have just said whatever new record they’re listening to right now, not their all-time favourite (and to be fair, the question does not actually specify any such restrictions).
Still others say there are far too many and then get bogged down in trying to chose. I’ve even had a couple of people choose just a song they like, which doesn’t count. A few folks knew which song they liked but not the name of the record it’s on, and one person admitted that her friends just give her copies of stuff they like and she plays those without really knowing or caring who the bands are. Very interesting, indeed.
I fall into the category of the person who thinks of one right away and then can think of a zillion others that would also work (as you’ll soon discover, below). There’s just too many great records. Honestly, I’d need several crates for discs I’d take to a deserted island…
Anyway, shall we get to it?
(takes a deep breath)…
01 MINE: Rolling Stones – Exile On Main St.
None of you will be surprised by this. I’ve already reviewed this disc in these pages and raved about its wonders and depths, its messiness and glory. Of course, being a music geek like I am, a million other records came crashing in behind that first thought, like Guided By Voices’ Bee Thousand, Black Flag’s Damaged, Metallica’s Master Of Puppets, Sloan’s Twice Removed, and then there’s… well, suffice it to say, I could think of countless others that could just as easily have been my instinctive response to this challenge, but Exile it was. Fair enough. It is, indeed, a bloody brilliant album. I love it to pieces.
02 MY LOVELY WIFE: Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue
Once upon a time, I played trumpet quite a bit. During that time I got a glimpse, in my own completely mediocre way, of what might be possible on the instrument. Then I heard Kind Of Blue, and I realized that I knew nothing.
My lovely wife chose this as her favourite record, which just goes to show that she consistently has impeccable taste (ahem)! This record is deservedly held aloft as a jazz immortal, as unimpeachable. And talk about tone. It’s a sound every horn player only dreams is possible. As a document of a staggering mind’s explorations in its prime, this album is almost inhuman. Of course, you’ve all heard it, so you know that words are inadequate. Damn. Yeah. Own this. Love it.
03 THAIN: Depeche Mode – Violator
I have to admit, I’ve never been a big fan of electronic music. Yes, I was a child of the 80’s and therefore it was categorically impossible to avoid this type of music, and I even owned People Are People on cassette at one time (though I rarely played it… thanks, Columbia House), but it hasn’t ever really been my thing.
However, Thain said this was her favourite record, so I gave it a spin. And yes, the synth/electronic thing is certainly there, but there is a depth of movement underneath the surface that is far more worthwhile than the melody lines. This record creeps up behind you, places a soft hand on your shoulder and creepily relishes when you jump. It’s dark, it’s full of need and awareness, it has a slinky elegance all its own, and it’s very, very real. Impressive.
04 STU: Tom Waits – Rain Dogs
For those of you who aren’t aware, Stu runs the Vinyl Diner, the best record shop in Saskatoon (and one of the absolute best I’ve ever had the pleasure of prowling anywhere), and so he’s even more of a music fanatic than I am. It is thus understandable that he sent me not one response to this challenge, but thirteen! The list was impressive, and all his choices impeccable, the result of many considered hours of listening and constant contact with a wide variety of styles. I can’t review them all, so I just chose this one at random from his list.
Tom Waits gets a lot of play in our house. His rough yet warm growl, his uncanny songwriting ability, the dirt and grime on every surface of his creations… they all add up to a superlative artist who truly stands alone in excellence. Rain Dogs is a fine example, and one of his more popular records. From start to finish, it plays like a greatest hits collection and, trust me, no one else in 1985 could have even dreamed of creating these masterpieces. Totally perfect.
There’s tons more, too. I’ll get to them as quickly as I can. I hope you’re having as much fun reading these as I am trying out all your favourites and writing about them!