Various Artists

Miles Davis, Bud Powell & Art Tatum Unreleased Performances

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This bootleg compilation wins no prizes for the shoddy packaging, the sloppy guesswork as to song titles, or the lack of personnel listings and recording dates. But it is a compilation of historical and somewhat rare broadcasts. Of the three tracks by Miles Davis, the most recent has the worst sound. His quartet in 1964 includes Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams, though this rendition of "No Blues" suffers from muddy sound, even if the solos are good. "Tune Up" and "Walkin'," from a 1956 broadcast featuring John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones, fare better. Considering how poor the sound is on many airchecks originating from Birdland during the 1950s, the three tracks by Bud Powell (with George Duvivier and Art Taylor) are surprisingly good. Powell romps through "Lullaby of Birdland," though Taylor's Latin rhythm somewhat drowns out the leader's piano in "I've Got You Under My Skin." But "Hallelujah" simply tears up the joint. The first three selections by Art Tatum come from his last known recorded performance, recorded just over three weeks prior to his death. Guitarist Everett Barksdale is featured along with Tatum in "Would You Like to Take a Walk," while "You Go to My Head" proves a little more reserved than earlier renditions, though the pianist still incorporates his incredible runs. Bassist Bill Pemberton sticks strictly to a timekeeping role and doesn't emulate predecessor Slam Stewart.

The rarest material comes from a 1953 broadcast featuring Tatum as a soloist. The ballad "Where or When" is transformed into pure magic, while "Taboo" remains one of the flashiest performances in the pianist's repertoire. This long unavailable but valuable LP will be very difficult to find.