Posted by jeff on Apr 15, 2010 in Jazz
, Song Of the week
I must confess, for a guy who prides himself on ecumenicalism in music, I have my closet prejudices, and hence pockets of ignorance. New Orleans, both Dixieland and Bayou Blues of all sorts. Neil Young. Ornette Coleman. L.V. Beethoven. My loss, each, I know, and I do try to combat these lacunae, not defend them. I understand that it’s my loss, not Beethoven’s or anyone else’s, if I have failed to develop a taste for his music. Ludwig ain’t crying on his pillow over Jeff not listening to him. There are, however, many people lying awake thinking running LV’s scores through their mind, being entranced and enhanced by them. My limitations, my loss. Ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s ignorance.
So if I’m enumerating my musical transgrwessions, chalk up pre-1948 jazz, pre-bebop; i.e., big band swing, Louis Armstrong, Bennie Goodman and lots of others I struggle unsuccessfully to appreciate. The one gentleman from this idiom that I have succeeded in warming up to to a certain degree is Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (1899-1974). He led his big band from the mid-20s in Harlem, through the boom years of the big band in the 30s and 40s. After the war, the dance floor fell out from under the swing bands and the lindy hop. Almost all of them folded, only Count Basie and Stan Kenton holding on for a few more years. ‘Duke Ellington and His Orchestra’ thrived, toured the world, continuously broke new ground in jazz (the legendary 1956 Newport Jazz Festival performance) and in contemporary classical music. He was loved, respected and revered, a towering figure throughout the music world. He was a gentleman (his father had worked as a butler in the White House), a sophisticate, a hypochondriac, a womanizer and a major-league macher. He was both generous and a manipulator, a man of great appetites. His success was due to his great talent as a composer and performer, his ability to manage (notoriously difficult) jazz musicians, his business acumen, and his collaborator, Billy Strayhorn.
Billy Strayhorn (1915-1967) was born and raised in a poor ghetto home in Pittsburgh. A prodigy on the piano, he taught himself the classical repertoire and, after he made it, all the trappings of the debauched lifestyle of an openly homosexual effete. But now we’re talking poor Pittsburgh black, 1938.
According to the version of the story related by David Hajdu in his very fine biography of Strayhorn, “Lush Life”, on December 2 of that year, David Pearlman, a (black) friend and fan of the 23-year old Strayhorn went with a friend, David Greenlee, to see a show of the touring Ellington Big Band. Greenlee also happened to be Ellington’s nephew. Backstage, Greenlee told Duke that they had a friend who wrote music and would like to play for him. Greenlee had never heard Strayhorn, but Duke invited them back the next day before the matinee.
Billy, calm and dressed in his well-worn Sunday best, sat down at the piano and said, “Mr Ellington, this is the way you played ‘Sophisticated Lady’” and proceeded to play it exactly like Duke. “And this is how I would play it.” And he gave him a hipper, more challenging rendition. Duke asked him to play some of his own compositions, then asked him a million questions. Years later, Ellington said that what most captivated him was Strayhorn’s laugh.
Over the next few days, Ellington gave Billy some arranging assignments. Strayhorn wrote them out, Ellington handed out the scores to the band on-stage. It went well, to say the least. “I would like to have you in my organization. I have to find some way of injecting you into it. I have to find out how I do this, after I go to New York,” Duke said. And he gave young Billy a note with subway directions to his apartment on Edgecombe Avenue in Harlem.
But then Strayhorn heard nothing. And he was hungry, literally. So he decided to take the chance and go to New York to look up Duke. But he didn’t want to show up empty-handed. So he took the note Duke had written him with the directions. The note started, “Take the ‘A’ train…”. And he composed what was to become the theme song of Duke Ellington and His Orchestra, one of their biggest hits, and one of the masterpieces of the only art form originating in North America–over 2000 recordings of the song, according to All Music Guide.
You must take the ‘A’ train
To go to Sugar Hill way up in Harlem
If you miss the ‘A’ train
You’ll find you missed the quickest way to Harlem
Hurry, get on, now it’s coming
Listen to those rails a-humming
All aboard, get on the ‘A’ train
Soon you will be on Sugar Hill in Harlem.
Ellington not only hired Strayhorn on the spot, he took him into his home, the elegant penthouse where he lived with his long-time lover (his wife lived elsewhere) and with his sister. Strayhorn wrote for Ellington, arranged for him, became his shadow musical alter ego. Ellington rarely expressly credited Strayhorn’s contribution in writing, but kept him on a generous regular salary, supported his extravagant life-style, befriended him, loved him. Their collaboration lasted till Strayhorn’s death in 1967, and was in fact a thing of wonder—their voices were virtually indistinguishable.
In Strayhorn’s words: “I have a friend. And this friend has an orchestra, and this friend travels with this orchestra fifty-two weeks a year. He refuses to take a vacation, and this has been going on for years. Every once in a while, this friend calls me from some place I’ve never heard of, from some distant part of the world and says, ‘Billy, I’m working on a song, but I’m stuck, can’t finish it. Now, the first part goes like this: Bah bah bah bee boo bee bee bah bah bah bah bah boo. I want you to finish it for me. Call me back tomorrow morning. Or in ten minutes. And tell me how you finished it.
In Duke’s words: “He was my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brainwaves in his head and his in mine. [When we talked about music] the whole world came into focus.”
Duke Ellington and His Orchestra recorded “Take the ‘A’ Train” often over the years. The version attached is the original, recorded February 15, 1941. You can also hear it here on the Smithsonian site, along with some other great versions. Here’s a great one recorded in a railroad car in 1943. Here’s the Duke in a trio setting. Here’s the Ellington Orchestra backing Ella Fitzgerald. And here’s one from 1965 with Strayhorn joining the orchestra on stage.
This is first and foremost dance music. Ellington intros on piano, followed by the reeds playing melody in the first verse, with the brass playing one or even two contrapunctal lines behind it, Ellington comping on piano. In the second verse, Ray Nance paraphrases the theme on a muted trumpet as the reeds dance elegantly behind him. A showy flourish of modulation by the entire ensemble, then the band embellishes the second sentence of the theme with Nance soloing above them on the unmuted trumpet. Another flourish by the horns, then the final verse in which the ensemble gently swings the theme.
I love the story behind the song, I am very fond of the song itself, and I liked it even more while giving it a close listen to write these lines. Know what? Maybe I’ll spend some time now making yet another effort at snuggling up to this great 1940s big band music. If I can get inside its heart and its head and its feet, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it, as so many others have.
Posted by jeff on Apr 8, 2010 in Jazz
, Song Of the week
Hi gang. Thanks for all the responses to last week’s posting of “Walk On By.” We do enjoy hearing from you, so keep ‘em coming.
This week we’re going to make our first stop in a planned series (though not consecutive), following Miles Davis’ remarkable voyage through the 1950s.
Let’s take 1947 as our starting point, when the WWII swing bands were dropping like brontosauri (all the young folk who had frequented clubs were staying at home nights parenting us baby-boom babies). The music that was thriving on 52nd street was bebop–fast, frenetic, insolent, wild and witty, indulgent, brilliant, and not to be danced to! The Man was Charlie (Bird) Parker (b 1920), whose music and life were the epitome of freedom – loose, unconstrained abandon.
Miles Davis (b 1926) was raised in the very bourgeois home of a St Louis dentist. Much to his father’s chagrin, he took to jazz trumpet. A tender 18-year old in 1944, he joined the traveling Billy Eckstine big band in which Bird was playing alto sax. When they finally landed in New York, Charlie wanted to rebuild his old bebop quintet (here on film). But his old playmate Dizzy Gillespie refused to play with him any more because of Bird’s impossibly dissolute lifestyle, so Bird gave young Miles his big break.
Miles was never the greatest trumpeter around. He had very limited technique, so he stuck to playing select notes in the middle register of his trumpet simply because he couldn’t play as fast or as high as many of his contemporaries. Bird apparently didn’t mind, and Miles was happy to be in the company of the most renowned jazz musician of the era. Throughout the two years he played with Bird, Miles stayed clear of drugs and booze (though not of women). But Bird’s penchant for damaging himself and those around him was as great as his genius as a musician, and Miles left him in 1949.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Claude Thornhill was a dinosaur in the post-WWII years, maintaining a Swing-era style dance band whose distinguishing style was slow, dreamy ballads. Gil Evans (b 1912), wanted to write an arrangement of a Bird song for Thornhill, (here’s Bird’s version of “Anthropology”, here’s Gil Evans’ arrangement) and approached Miles to get some help with the charts. So began a legendary partnership.
In 1948, Miles was hanging out with a group of young musicians at Gil Evans’ apartment behind a Chinese laundry. They exchanged ideas and played together informally. Evans was the guru, Miles was the driving force, but the music was a group effort according to the many accounts. They played a couple of gigs opening for Count Basie, and recorded 12 sides. They were so insignificant commercially that they had no real name (The Miles Davis Group, The Miles Davis Nonet, The Miles Davis Tuba Band). But over the years this effort became a legend, known as The Birth of the Cool.
The 12 cuts recorded in 3 sessions in 1949 were originally released as 78 RPM singles; 8 of them were released on a 10″ record in 1954, 11 of them on a 12″ LP in 1957 under name “Birth of the Cool”. Numerous versions have been released since. In 1998 they were released together with the (inferior) live performances, called “The Complete Birth of the Cool”. In recent years, Gerry Mulligan created a “The Rebirth of the Cool” group; the reconstructed scores were released in book form; and bands and combos all over the world play the charts regularly.
Miles Davis was an angry young man. He fought with police and the white music business establishment. In the early 1950s he displayed angry Black Pride almost a generation before that mindset gained wide currency. And yet, paradoxically, his great music from the 1950s was sweet, poignant, romantic, a monumental marriage of the black jazz tradition with white European music.
I don’t know how to explain that. Critics don’t address the subject very much. But the music, all agree, is heavenly. It’s also commonly called ‘pivotal’ and ‘seminal’, because it pretty much single-handedly established Cool Jazz–the predominant mindset of modern jazz.
Miles (and Evans) used a nonet for these recordings–trumpet, trombone, French horn, tuba, alto sax, baritone sax, piano, bass and drums. (as opposed to the typical bebop quintet or swing band of at least 16 musicians). The use of French horn and a tuba for tonal breadth was unique in jazz, the latter employed for the first time not as a bass/rhythm instrument, but as a melodic one. In reaction to both bebop and swing, the sound they created displayed a light, vibratoless tonality, subtle rhythm, pure tone, legato phrasing. They stressed the seamless integration of scored sections with improvised elements.
The song we’ve chosen from the collection is “Boplicity”, written by Miles (under his mother’s maiden name, Cleo Henry) and Evans (uncredited), arranged by Evans. Solos are (in order) by Mulligan (baritone sax), Miles, and John Lewis (piano).
The influence of these recordings cannot be overstated. Gerry Mulligan soon split for California (a la Jack Kerouac), forming there a pianoless quartet with young Chet Baker and starting the first school of white jazz, West Coast cool. John Lewis formed the Modern Jazz Quartet. Lee Konitz, the only musician participating in all three recording sessions, has had a magnificently varied career, and is still going strong at 82. (He’s one of my favorite musicians, and you’ll surely be hearing a lot more of him.) Miles had already begun dabbling in heroin at this time, and would soon sink into a 3-year abyss. But he would go cold turkey on his father’s horse farm and return to form his first quintet (with young John Coltrane), and record 2 masterpieces in collaboration with Gil Evans (‘Porgy and Bess’ and ‘Sketches of Spain’) and one of the great albums of modern music, ‘Kind of Blue’–all before the decade was out.
But we get ahead of ourselves. Let’s just pause for a moment here and treat ourselves to 2’58″ of heaven.
Posted by jeff on Apr 8, 2010 in Jazz
, Song Of the week
A wonderful thing happened to me this week.
I guess it’s pretty obvious that there’s nothing I enjoy more in the world than talking about music.
My hands-down favorite living jazz musician is the wise, wily, wizened Lee Konitz.
And this week I had the experience of a lifetime sitting for three hours and shmoozing with Lee about music.
I wasn’t at all star-struck talking to Lee. He’s a human being, 83 years old; and as the saying goes, he puts his pants on one leg at a time. He’s just a jazz musician, he’s not a star or anything. But he’s had an incredible career. Preparing for the meeting with him, I actually counted the number of Lee Konitz CDs in my collection. There are 91, beginning from 1947 as a kid soloing on the alto sax with the Claude Thornhill Orchestra; the Birth of the Cool sessions; the leading disciple of Lennie Tristano, the father of cool, intelligent modern jazz. And that just takes him up to the early 1950s.
He did great stuff in the 1950s, recorded relatively little in the 1960s (here in a wonderful, bizarre clip with the Tristano group, here with Bill Evans playing with one hand!, but in each decade since the 1970s his activity has increased, to the point where in the years 2000-2008, according to the All Music Guide data base, Lee released 34 new CDs under his name. New CDs.
And you have to understand, Lee Konitz isn’t some bloated old legend treading the same waters. He’s found himself a groove that is for me mind-boggling: constant experimentation, newness, challenge. An 83-year old waking up every single morning, saying “Ok, let’s see what new territories we can explore today.” My mind just doesn’t grasp that. Here are some amusing recent short clips of Lee talking about fame and fortune and music.
He says that he’s more popular today than he ever was, that he’s always being invited all over the world, and he likes playing with local musicians, that that refreshes him. This may be true, but he’s also constantly initiating new projects, new collaborations, new contexts. Someone should teach the guy that people his age are supposed to lose energy, not pick up speed.
Lee’s not a star. ‘He can walk down the street without being identified’? Let me tell you a little story. I’m sitting in the restaurant talking to him. I had taken out of my bag to make some point the fine critical biography “Lee Konitz” by Andy Hamilton. The man behind me bumped my chair when he stood up, turned around to apologize, and saw the book lying on the table.
“Oh, Lee Konitz!” he said. “I saw him last year in Louisville.”
“How was he?” I asked, straight-faced.
“Oh, he was really great!” the man replied.
“Well, this is him,” I said, pointing at my lunch partner.
“What?” said the Louisvillian.
“This is him. This is Lee Konitz, the man.”
“Oh,” said the Louisvillian. “Oh. But. I–. Uh–. Huh? Oh.”
So he can sit in a restaurant and not be recognized even by a fan. We’re not talking here Soulja Boy, Ashlee Simpson or Heidi Montag. (Just for the record, I googled ‘most popular musicians 2009′. I have no idea who these people are.)
Lee asked me, “You listen to so much of my music. What attracts you to it? What do you like about it?” I was very flattered to be asked such a question. Flattered and flustered. After I’ve had now a couple of days to collect my thoughts, I’d like to answer a bit more coherently. (I’ll mail him a copy of this. He doesn’t own a computer.)
We were talking about Kurt Elling, the Chicago jazz vocalist whom I admire greatly and Lee also respects. He won a Grammy award last week, and I told Lee that I was disappointed. ‘Why?’ he asked. ‘Because he won it for a CD that is aimed at popular reception, the music market, more than anything he’d done in the past, and I’m afraid his success will only draw him further towards pandering to popular tastes, away from a dedication to pure, honest musicianship’.
© Terry Cryer 2007
That’s what attracts me so much to Lee Konitz’s music. No gimmicks. Not in marketing, not in celebrity, and most of all not in music. Every single project, every cut, every note is honest, intelligent, restrained, refined, well-considered, responsible. There just aren’t many artists who bring such intelligence, honesty to the table—and at his best, married to very great passion. Lee isn’t always a romantic, but I suppose looking over all those 60+ years of great music-making that he’s done, I’d have to say that most of my favorites (though not all–there’s about 3 tons of his more difficult, abstract music that I find absolutely riveting) are those that balance the mind with the heart, his more emotionally expressive music. He’s always intelligent and honest, always an absolute master musician, and frequently invites his heart onto the stage with him.
Let me give you an example, one that we discussed at length in our meeting. In 1996, Lee (b. 1927) was scheduled to perform with fellow veteran bassist Charlie Haden (b. 1937). Charlie came from a country & western background, played in Ornette Coleman’s seminal free jazz quartet, and has recently made a series of ‘jazz noir’ CDs, revisiting the sounds and aesthetic of 1940s Hollywood B-movies. He’s known as a non-virtuoso bassist. No flashy solos, no grandstanding. In fact, he plays very few notes, frequently ‘on four’, just the first beat of the measure.
Lee was looking forward to the gig. “I thought I can finally play with someone I’m faster than. I had been working on becoming the slowest saxophone player around–I’m being serious. [If you want to hear just how untrue that is, check out classic Lee Konitz with Lennie Tristano circa 1949–JM] Anyway, Charlie called me a week before and said that Brad could use a gig.” Brad Mehldau (b. 1970) is young enough to be Haden’s son, Lee’s grandson. “I had never played with Brad, and didn’t really know how special he was. So here I was playing with another virtuoso, and I was a bit disturbed–it’s impossible for me to play faster than a piano player! But by the second set, Brad was listening and changing his playing, and I appreciated that very much… We ended up making three CDs in two days.”
That’s what Lee’s all about, listening. No grandstanding, no virtuosity, no preconceptions or credos. Empathy. On this trio date, there was nothing planned. Lee just called out standards on stage. It seems to me that if you pay close attention to this music, you can hear the three musicians listening to each other. There’s an electrical magic in the silences. Three free-floating acrobats with no safety net. Every moment, the miracle of music being created out of a void, made into a coherent tapestry of magical beauty, right before our very eyes and ears.
Lee asked me what I liked so much about this CD. I told him it was the freedom from tempo, no forward driving beat, no obligation to get anywhere. The freedom to float and explore the moment. He said something like, “No, we were just listening to each other because we hadn’t played together before.” Maybe he was just being disingenuous, maybe I’m reading into it. Or maybe we were saying the same thing. The wonder of the moment of discovering something new. “The sound of surprise.” That’s what jazz is all about.
Lee Konitz was 70 when he recorded this. He told me that last month he had a reunion gig, at the Village Vanguard I think he said, with Haden and Mehldau, and with the addition of the magnificently modest drummer Paul Motion, four years younger than Lee. It was recorded by EMC and will be released soon. I can’t wait to add it to the 91 CDs on my shelf and hard disk. The ‘Alone Together’ trio with the perfect drummer. Lee Konitz breaking new ground, improvising the most fascinating, magical music I can imagine. I hope when I’m 83 I’ll be able to find my slippers. And maybe if I’m really fortunate, I’ll still be able to summon up the energy necessary to focus on this beautiful, moving music.
Posted by jeff on Mar 28, 2010 in Jazz
, Song Of the week
A few weeks ago (SoTW 35) we promised a series of posts which would walk through Miles Davis’ career in the 1950s. Well, we aim to keep that promise, so here goes the second installment.
In 1955 Miles Davis was 29 years old. At 18 he had begun playing second fiddle (well, trumpet actually, second lead voice to Bird’s alto sax) to Charlie Parker, the acknowledged genius and leading light of modern jazz. At 22, overwhelmed by Bird’s degenerate lifestyle, Miles struck out on his own and coalesced the Birth of the Cool nonet (along with Gil Evans, Gerry Mulligan and others), recording one ultra-white LP, one of the most beautiful and most influential records in all of modern music.
Then in 1951, Miles – the son of a wealthy, cultured St. Louis dentist – finally succumbed to drug addiction. For several years he wallowed in heroin, recording for the Prestige label the occasional desultory session with flashes of brilliance. Then he took himself to a small apartment above the stable on his father’s horse farm, went cold turkey all by himself. Clean, he returned to New York in 1955, aged 28, an ex-star bursting with arrogant self-confidence.
Jazz was having a heyday. Bird had just died (at 35). Clifford Brown and Fats Navarro were the leading trumpeters of the day (with Chet Baker beginning to make a name out in California); the Modern Jazz Quartet was playing elegant, classically-influenced jazz in concert halls wearing tuxedos; the Dave Brubeck quartet was bringing jazz to college campuses and the living rooms of respectable suburban (white) homes; the Newport Jazz Festival was serving as an annual focal point and showcase for the leading acts.
It was there that Columbia Records heard Miles, was knocked out by his great charisma, and signed him to a contract. But he had no working group, and he owed Prestige 4 records on his old contract, the money for which had long disappeared into the black holes in his veins.
The standard modern jazz combo consists of two lead voices—saxophone and trumpet—backed by a rhythm section of piano (which could also serve as a melodic, lead voice), bass, and drums.
So Miles gathered around him a group of upstarts (“Coleman Hawkins told me never to play with someone older than me”). One veteran, Philly Joe Jones, a wily old polyrhythmic fox, crony of Miles, a musician’s musician; Red Garland, a young Texan pianist, influenced by Ahmad Jamal’s cocktail piano repertoire and style; Paul Chambers, a 19-year old bassist; and John Coltrane, a young saxophonist from Philadelphia. All four were junkies.
Coltrane’s playing was harsh, squeaky and often out-of-tune. His solos started and stopped in fits. He was technically limited, but a serious musician (he would practice endlessly), a genius in an early, chaotic stage in his development. He was widely criticized at the time as an inferior musician, but Miles stuck with him. The parallel with his own past was remarkable.
In 1946, Charlie Parker was at the top of his game, but his trumpeter, Dizzie Gillespie had left him (couldn’t take Bird’s addictions). To replace him, Bird hired Miles – a young, unproven, greenhorn, with limited technique and a promise of genius that only Bird himself could detect. Ten years later, Miles did the same for Coltrane. Like Miles, it would be several years of addiction, coming clean, and remarkable musical growth, before Coltrane would become Coltrane.
But at the time, in 1956, perhaps what attracted Miles was that the hard edge of Coltrane’s tone made his own sound that much more sensuous. And sensuous it was.
So before he could start recording for Columbia, Miles owed Prestige 4 albums. What he did was to take this new quintet for 2 marathon sessions at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio. This group is today known as ‘The First Miles Davis Quintet’. These 2 sessions were eventually packaged as 4 LPs: “Workin’/Cookin’/Steamin’/Relaxin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet”. They contain a wealth of material that is generally considered to be one of the pinnacles of modern jazz.
Unembellished story: When I was just learning this music, about a dozen years ago, I was riding the bus back from the big city, where I had purchased one of the CDs. I was reading the liner notes when the bus stopped and a few people got off. One soldier saw me holding the CD and said, “Ah, Miles’ first quintet, great stuff.” The soldier behind him said, “How can you say that? They can’t compare to the second quintet.”
This is time-capsule music, in the sense that if I had to play one single cut to a Martian music lover to show him what ‘jazz’ is, it would be almost any cut from this group. It’s maddeningly ‘standard’. Medium tempo, musically conservative. The repertoire is some popular tunes, some restrained blues, but mostly standards from the Great American Songbook, which we look forward to discussing some other time. Suffice it to say here that these songs are elegant, sophisticated, commercially appealing, of Jewish authorship, and most of all WHITE.
Which leads one to ask why Miles Davis, a belligerent black ex-junkie would choose this material. Well, because for all his belligerent bravado, Miles (at this period at least) was playing the most poignant, melodic, romantic music imaginable. Music of a tender sweetness that has rarely been matched in the popular idiom.
I think Miles was a closet Republican. He used the $4000 advance he got from Columbia on a fancy apartment on 57th Street, a white Ferrari, imported Italian suits and shoes. He was cultivating a persona as far from Bird as possible, both personally and musically.
Everything about this music is conservative. It’s the standard bebop quintet, standard repertoire, standard format – Miles statement of the theme, trumpet solo, sax solo, piano solo, bass and/or drum solos, restatement of theme, and ‘Bye, baby’. The two lead instruments almost never play together. Everything at an unhurried medium tempo. But Miles mutes his trumpet, and he makes love to the microphone. The rhythm section is the epitome of restrained, focused, beautiful musicianship. Everybody knows that it was Bird who first broke the sound barrier, several years before Chuck Yaeger. Well, Miles had graduated from Birdschool: “Man, you don’t have to play a whole lot of notes. You just have to play the pretty ones.”
The dynamics of the group are pretty intriguing. Miles never told other players what to do. In concert, he would play his solo (often with his back to the audience), then leave the stage with no directions as to how to continue; but as his musicians attested, his presence remained on the stage. Sometimes, when one soloist was playing, he would go up to another member of the band and whisper in his ear. It was to make the soloist nervous, what was Miles saying about him? Done to keep everyone on edge. Sweet guy, that Miles.
The 25 or so songs recorded in those two marathon sessions were almost all done in a single take. Miles felt it gave the music a creative tension, if the players knew there was no going back to correct mistakes.
The song we’ve chosen here is ‘It Never Entered My Mind‘, by Rogers and Hart, originally from the 1940 musical “Higher and Higher”. (There are many, many lovely treatments of the song–here’s Johnny Hartman singing it.) Coltrane doesn’t play a single note on it, so it’s perhaps not the most representative recording from these sessions. But it’s a piece of such heartrending beauty that I figure you’ll forgive me.
But do go listen to lots of these recordings. Some of my other favorites are ‘Diane‘, ‘In Your Own Sweet Way’, ‘My Funny Valentine‘, ‘The Surrey with the Fringe on Top‘. Everyone has their own favorites from these four CDs. And no one is impervious to their very special beauty.
If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy:
035: Miles Davis, ‘Boplicity’ (“Birth of the Cool”)
055: Miles Davis/Gil Evans, ‘Concierto de Aranjuez’
079: Miles Davis, ‘So What’ (“Kind of Blue”)