Miles Davis' recordings of 1951-1954 tend to be overlooked because of his erratic lifestyle at the time and because they pre-dated his first classic quintet. Although he rarely recorded during this era, what he did document was often quite classic. The two sessions here are among the earliest hard bop recordings and would indirectly influence the modern mainstream music of the '60s. The first session features Davis in a sextet with trombonist J.J. Johnson, altoist Jackie McLean, pianist Gil Coggins, bassist Oscar Pettiford, and drummer Kenny Clarke. Highlights include "Dear Old Stockholm," "Woody 'n You," and interpretations of "Yesterdays" and "How Deep Is the Ocean." The remaining numbers showcase Davis in a quartet with pianist Horace Silver, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Art Blakey, really stretching out on such numbers as "Take Off" and "Well, You Needn't." "It Never Entered My Mind," Davis' muted statement (his only one on this set), looks toward his treatments of ballads later in the decade.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow