Miles Davis

58 Sessions Featuring Stella by Starlight

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This compilation somewhat erratically distills the contents of two very different releases featuring the 1958 Miles Davis Sextet. The first four tracks were originally issued as one side of a short-lived album entitled Jazz Track. On this disc, that same May 1958 studio session is augmented by three numbers from Jazz at the Plaza. The live session was held in the Persian Room of The Plaza Hotel in New York City on September 9, 1958. The spontaneous and complimentary style of performance ethic and trust among Davis and his musicians is at the fundamental core of his work here. This memorable sextet features: Davis (trumpet), Julian "Cannonball" Adderley (alto sax), John Coltrane (tenor sax), Bill Evans (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Jimmy Cobb (drums). The disc commences with the ominous enticement of the familiar minor-chord changes of "On Green Dolphin Street." The mid-tempo track revolves around the rush upon rush of solos passed between Davis, Adderley, Coltrane, and Evans in an economical yet carefree manner. Experiencing the multiplicity of depth and beauty on "Stella by Starlight" is the recommended method for maximum effect. The live set includes three staples of Davis' concert repertoire circa his John Coltrane collaborations. Their nod to Thelonious Monk on "Straight, No Chaser" is slippery and double -- possibly triple -- jointed. The band plays as if Monk might have been in the room that night. This is Davis at his most muted magnificence. All interested parties should seek out Jazz at the Plaza [2001], as it includes the entire live performance in the correct running order. Those wanting the complete studio sessions -- including a previously unissued alternate take of "Fran Dance" -- should consider the Complete Columbia Recordings. This somewhat pricey six-disc collection is likewise the final word on the Davis/Coltrane collaborations on Columbia.

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