Miles Davis

Miles and Horns

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Miles Davis' first studio session for Prestige Records took place on January 17, 1951, with a front line of Sonny Rollins on tenor and Bennie Green on trombone. Two years later, Davis made his second session of 1953 in the company of two tenor men deeply touched by the work of Lester Young and Charlie Parker: Al Cohn and Zoot Sims, two of Woody Herman's famous Four Brothers. These two sessions, featuring a pair of three-horn front lines, make up the music on Miles and Horns. The John Lewis opener "Morpheus" proceeds from where Birth of the Cool left off, with the horns harmonizing off a sustained bass vamp/cymbal roll, then introducing a Roy Haynes drum break with fleet lines that pave the way for boppish solos. Davis' own "Down" is an early snapshot of the trumpeter's pensive blues work, with some contrasting Rollins bluster. Other highlights are Lewis' spectral chordal prologue to "Blue Room" and his Basie-style intro to "Whispering," a song on which Davis' attack and tone really come together. "I Know" is a Rollins feature, with Davis on piano. The 1953 date is a delightful blowing session, with Kenny Clarke providing plenty of percussive salsa, and Al Cohn providing masterful charts. Cohn, Sims, and Davis team up to provide distinctive, rich harmonies on themes such as the slow, soulful "Tasty Pudding" and "For Adults Only," with their introspective features. "Willie the Wailer" borrows its intro from Benny Goodman's "Soft Winds" and provides Davis and Cohn with plenty of swing drive. The call and response of "Floppy" leads to powerful Davis-Clarke interplay, a taut John Lewis solo, and an anthemic Cohn-Sims exchanges.

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