Miles Ahead session details

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May-June 1963 (4 items; TT = 31:14)
Jazz Villa, St. Louis MO
Audience recording (B-)
Miles Davis Quintet

Miles Davis (tpt); George Coleman (ts); Herbie Hancock (p); Ron Carter (b); Tony Williams (d)

1 Seven Steps to Heaven (V. Feldman-M. Davis) 10:40
2 I Thought About You (J. Mercer-J. Van Heusen) 7:54

Coleman out
3 All Blues (M. Davis) 12:27
4 The Theme (M. Davis) 0:13

"The Theme" not listed on all issues


1 Seven Steps to Heaven
12" LP: VGM 0003
CD: Golden Age of Jazz JZCD 371, Magnetic MRCD 125, Soulard VGM-SOU CD 3, Jazz Door JD 1224, Jazz View 023, Lone Hill Jazz LHJ-10212

2 I Thought About You
12" LP: VGM 0003
CD: Golden Age of Jazz JZCD 371, Magnetic MRCD 125, Soulard VGM-SOU CD 3, Jazz Door JD 1224, Jazz View 023, Lone Hill Jazz LHJ-10212

3 All Blues
12" LP: VGM 0003
CD: Golden Age of Jazz JZCD 371, Magnetic MRCD 125, Soulard VGM-SOU CD 3, Jazz Door JD 1224, Jazz View 023, Lone Hill Jazz LHJ-10212

4 The Theme
12" LP: VGM 0003
CD: Golden Age of Jazz JZCD 371, Magnetic MRCD 125, Soulard VGM-SOU CD 3, Jazz Door JD 1224, Jazz View 023, Lone Hill Jazz LHJ-10212


This is the first extant live recording of Davis' new working quintet.

The problems Davis had throughout 1962 with keeping a working group continued into 1963. His quintet was booked at the Philadelphia's Uptown Theatre from December 25, 1962 through January 1, 1963 (Wednesday-Tuesday); in addition to missing one of the sets on December 25, Davis walked out and missed the last two nights (and was later ordered by the musicians' union to pay the promoter $8000). A two-week engagement at Chicago's Sutherland Lounge, January 30-February 10 (Wednesday-Sunday) was followed by the sudden departure of Wynton Kelly and Paul Chambers. Davis was forced to cancel an eight-day engagement at Gino's Club in St. Louis, February 15-23 (Friday-Saturday). He was booked for two weeks at the Blackhawk Supper Club in San Francisco, March 5-17 (Tuesday-Sunday), but the opening was delayed for a week while Davis recruited some West Coast players. In addition to Jimmy Cobb, he ended up with Frank Strozier on alto, George Coleman on tenor, Victor Feldman or Harold Mabern on piano, and Ron Carter on bass (at the time Carter was playing with Art Farmer). The sextet played a ten-day gig at Shelly's Manne-Hole in Los Angeles, April 5-14 (Friday-Sunday). Cobb left during or immediately after this engagement and was replaced briefly by Frank Butler. The quintet with Feldman on piano and without Strozier went into Columbia's Hollywood studios (April 16-17). Butler remained in Los Angeles and the rest of the group returned to the East Coast, where they were booked for one night at the Lyric Theatre in Baltimore (May 9; "The Miles Davis Quintette" was listed as Davis, George Coleman, Frank Strozier, Harold Maybern [sic], Jim Cobb. I can't believe that Carter didn't play with the group, so either it was not a "quintette" or else one of the horns, probably Strozier, didn't play. Davis fired Strozier and Mabern soon afterward, hiring Hancock and Williams; and the new Miles Davis Quintet -- Davis, Coleman, Hancock, Carter, Williams -- went into Columbia's 30th Street Studio on May 14, then hit the road: Jazz Villa, St. Louis (May 27-June 4); Sutherland Lounge, Chicago (June 5-16); Jazz Temple, Cleveland (June 20-23 -- listed as the Miles Davis Sextet); Village Vanguard, New York (July 2-14).

A review of the June 6 show (Davis was booked alongside Redd Foxx) was effusive:

There is a giant in our midst. More specifically, Miles Davis is at the Sutherland Lounge. He has a completely new group to play with on this trip (Tony Williams, drums; George Coleman, tenor; Herbie Hancock, piano; Ronald Jarrett, bass) but Miles' artistry remains at the same high level.

Caught during two sets Thursday, he romped through "Straight, No Chaser," "Autumn Leaves," "So What," "If I Were a Bell," and "Milestones" with more bubbling energy than we've heard in a long time. If, in the last few years, Miles has played with an economy of sound, building inner tensions with tone coloration, then the vault was opened Thursday and all those saved up notes, searing runs and pulsating rhythmic figures came flooding out. The tempos were more torrid than remembered...

"Ronald Jarrett" is probably a mangled reference to Ron Carter, though of course Donald Garrett was a well-known Chicago bassist. But Carter appears to have been with the group throughout this period.

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