Miles Davis Quintet - Live At The 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival

Concord / Monterey Jazz festival

Release date: August 21st 2007

 Live At The 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival cover

Just when you thought there would be nothing new of quality to be released from the 'forgotten' Miles Davis Quintet (the one featuring George Coleman) along comes this live recording from the Monterey Jazz festival in 1963. Forget low fidelity near bootleg quality tapes of unreleased Miles Davis material; this is a beautifully recorded and remastered session. The band (Miles Davis (trumpet), George Coleman (tenor sax), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), Tony Williams (drums)) is the same that features on "The Complete Concert", the early sides of the "Seven Steps To Heaven" box set and "Miles In Antibes". This band produced some of the finest live jazz ever recorded but were overshadowed until recently by the band formed when Wayne Shorter replaced George Coleman in the same line up.

The set is standard for Miles Davis at this time. – "Autumn Leaves", So What", "Stella By Starlight" and "Walkin' ". But there is no sense of repetition. Each of these songs is more a structure to accommodate experiment than the working through of set ideas. Jazz as a musical laboratory, a surface on which to innovate. The fifty minute concert sounds fresh and compelling.

Miles Davis is expressive and lyrical, as is Herbie Hancock. George Coleman is superb, digging into the same seam of creativity that emerges on "Maiden Voyage" (the great Herbie Hancock album recorded in June 1964 and featuring the same band with Freddie Hubbard replacing Miles Davis). Tony Williams (aged just seventeen) is in great form, moving easily from brushes in quiet passages to intense drum work when the music turns uptempo, always, as Miles Davis observed, the driving force, keeping the musicians on edge, seeking to anticipate the next shift in emphasis. Ron Carter plays bass in the cultured manner we have come to expect, playing bowed solos on two occasions.

This is a fine addition to the discography of this once overlooked stage in Miles Davis' development and is highly recommended.

The album is one of a series of live recordings commemorating 50 years of the Monterey Jazz Festival. Part of the profits are to be reinvested in the Monterey Jazz Festival education programme.

Related reviews: Miles Davis "Kind Of Blue"     Miles Davis "Cookin'"   Miles Davis "Nefertiti"

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