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Miles Davis - Milestones (1958/2007) High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Miles Davis - Milestones (1958/2007) High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz

Artist: Miles Davis
Title: Milestones
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop, Post-Bop, Modal Music, Trumpet Jazz
Label: © Columbia Records | Sony Music Japan (SICP-10082)
Release Date: 1958/2007
Quality: DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: ISO SACD
Duration: 00:47:41
Recorded February 4 and March 4, 1958 at Columbia 30th Street Studio, NYC

John Coltrane had come out of detox and benefited from a stay with Thelonious Monk. Miles, back from Paris where he had recorded the music for Louis Malle’s film Lift To The Scaffold, added Cannonball Adderley’s alto to his quintet. Trane’s cubist abstractions and Cannonball’s bluesy lyricism offered him the contrasts that he was looking for, while his rhythm section provided the intensity of a Formula 1 racing car and the comfort of a limousine for every tempo. He had complete confidence in his bassist Paul Chambers, to whom he left long, sometimes bowed, solos, and he and Philly Joe Jones seemed to have telepathic communication. Red Garland, however, was tiring of Miles’ demands to increase the piano’s entrances and exits. One day he got up in middle of a session on “Sid’s Ahead” and left the piano to the trumpeter. At the height of his instrumental art, Miles was searching for a way to free himself from the harmonic constraints imposed by the piano. This is the significance of the composition “Milestones,” in which a simple alternation of two harmonic colors replaced the tortuous progressions of bop. Miles had entered the world of modal jazz.

What is immedately noticeable upon listening to Miles Davis' classic first -- and only -- album with his original sextet is how deep the blues presence is on it. Though it's true that the album's title cut is rightfully credited with introducing modalism into jazz, and defining Davis' music for years to come, it is the sole selection of its kind on the record. The rest is all blues in any flavor you wish you call your own. For starters, there's the steaming bebop blues of "Dr. Jackie," recorded in 1955 for a Prestige session with Jackie McLean. Davis is still in his role as a trumpet master, showing a muscularity of tone that reveals something more akin to Roy Eldridge or Louis Armstrong than Dizzy or Fats Navarro. The tempo is furious, as all the members of the sextet solo except for Jones. The saxophonists trade choruses and come off sounding like mirrored images of one another in the slower, post-bop blues that is "Sid's Ahead," which is followed by "Two Bass Hit," written by Dizzy and John Lewis. It's an off-kilter blues with a wide middle section, no doubt for Lewis' piano to fill. But then comes "Milestones" with its modal round and interval, where harmony is constructed from the center up. It is a memorable tune for not only its structure and how it would inform not only Davis' own music, but jazz in general for the next seven years. The album's closer is Monk's "Straight, No Chaser," which became a signature tune for the sextet even when Garland and Jones left to be replaced by Bill Evans and Jimmy Cobb, and later Evans by Wynton Kelly. --Thom Jurek

1 Dr. Jeckyll 5:46
2 Sid's Ahead 13:01
3 Two Bass Hit 5:13
4 Miles 5:41
5 Billy Boy 7:14
6 Straight, No Chaser 10:41

Miles Davis – trumpet, piano (on "Sid's Ahead")
Cannonball Adderley – alto saxophone
John Coltrane – tenor saxophone
Red Garland – piano
Paul Chambers – double bass
Philly Joe Jones – drums

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