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DAVIS, Miles: Early Milestones (1945-1949) (Be Bop Boys/ Charlie Parker All Stars/ Charlie Parker Re-Boppers/ David Lennick/ Miles Davis/ Miles Davis Orchestra) (Naxos: 8.120607)



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MILES DAVIS Vo l .1



\Early Milestones" Original1945-1949 Recordings



"To have experienced52nd Street between 1945 and 1949 was like reading a textbook to he future ofmusic. You had Coleman Hawkins and Hank Jones at one club. You had Art Tatum,Tiny Grimes, Red Allen, Dizzy, Bird, Bud Powell, Monk, all down there on thatstreet" (not to mention) "Erroll Garner, Sid Bechet, Oran Hot Lips Page, EarlBostic" - every night ... Miles Davis (Autobiography)



Generally regarded asthe single most innovative player of modern jazz, Miles Davis arrived on thescene as it were at the right moment. With Dizzy Gillespie (b.1917) as hismentor and early role-model and peers that included Charlie Parker (1920-1955),John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock and Thelonious Monk, he swiftly became theelemental force in the jazz revolution of the 1940s. The "patriarch ofprogressive", a self-styled, impenitent modernist impatient with acceptedforms, he was forever blazing new trails. The quintessential "chameleon ofcool" and "an hypnotic improviser", he was simultaneously both a popular andcontroversial figure. As influential in his day as Ellington had been in theprevious generation, his music linked "the swing era to the hip-hop and rapworld."



Born in Alton,Illinois, on 25th May, 1926, the youngest of three siblings, Miles Dewey DavisIII was brought up in the middle-class suburb of East St. Louis. Encouraged atan early age by his mother Cleota to play the violin, his singular devotion tojazz first became apparent when, at thirteen, his father Miles Davis II, asuccessful dentist and small-holder, bought him his first trumpet.

Single-mindedly, Miles applied himself to the rudiments of theory and, bygigging with local East St. Louis musicians (notably trumpeter Clark Terry andSonny Stitt) had absorbed enough of the true St. Louis style to playprofessionally in bands from the age of fifteen.



He joined a localgroup, the Blue Devils, and when Billy Eckstine's bop-era big-band passedthrough was allowed to sit in. This event sparked a phase of Gillespie idolatrywhile Miles' youthful admiration also gravitated towards Harold Baker, BobbyHackett and Freddie Webster but, as Alun Morgan observed, "the tremendousinfluence of Charlie Parker engulfed Miles like a tidal wave." Indeed, as Davishimself was later to admit, "the greatest feeling I ever had in my life -withmy clothes on- was when I first heard Diz and Bird together in St. Louis, backin 1944." In September of that year, Miles the eighteenyear- old high-schoolgraduate went to New York, officially to enrol at the Juilliard Institute ofMusical Art in Manhattan but with a hidden agenda to seek out his idol on 52ndStreet ... ("I spent my first week in New York and my first month's allowancelooking for him", he proudly boasted).



The obsession paidoff: he joined forces with Bird and, virtually overnight, found himself workingwith Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter and Eddy 'Lockjaw' Davis. He made his firstrecords (for Savoy, in April 1945) with the Herbie Fields band and his first withParker in November (in the Be Bop Boys, a sextet whose first efforts included"Thriving On A Riff" and "Billie's Bounce") and over the next two years, aregular feature on 52nd Street in Parker's quintet, he quietly assimilated thebebop styles of Bird and Gillespie. By 1947, when he was awarded Esquire magazinecritics' poll, he was recording with Parker for Savoy and Dial and with theHawkins and Jacquet big bands for Aladdin and playing in Tadd Dameron's onradio. His first recording session featuring his own name (a quintet dubbed theMiles Davis All Stars) included the forward-looking "Sippin' At Bell's" and"Milestones". He had absorbed the essence of Parker's teachings yet remainedtrue unto himself by the time he parted company with Bird in December 1948 and,at 23, was hailed 'prophet of cool' when his nonet first broadcast from theRoyal Roost Club. In January 1949 he was at the helm when (at the suggestion ofA&R man Pete Rugolo) cool was launched by the group which included KaiWinding (1922-1983), Lee Konitz (b.1927), Gerry Mulligan (b.1927) and Max Roach(b.1924) at the first of its three sessions for Capitol (later monumentallyre-issued on LP as Birth Of The Cool, in 1957). The innovativeunderstatement of these seminal recordings (whose overall sound has beenlikened to a tonal extension of Davis's trumpet) was underpinned by therarefied efforts of Claude Thornhill's talented arranger Gil Evans (1912-1988),whose musical influences, far from strictly jazz-orientated, were rooted in theimpressionism of Debussy and Ravel. However, neither this nor the secondCapitol session (April 1949) made any real impact. The critical reception wasitself decidedly cool, a commercial failure after which Davis temporarilydevoted his time to small-groups in and around New York. In May he made hisfirst appearance at the Paris Jazz Festival but at home work was, at leastinitially, harder to find. During 1949 he performed with Sonny Rollins, ArtBlakey and others but soon fell victim to heroin which would intermittentlyplague his career until he finally kicked the habit in 1953. Thereafter, Davisrose, phoenix-like from the ashes. In 1955 he appeared triumphantly at theNewport Festival with his new quintet. An overnight star, by 1956 (when hesigned the first phase of a long-term contract with Columbia records) he hademerged finally as the dominant jazz personage of the post-war era and,notwithstanding further bouts of uncertainty and self-doubt, remained into the1990s one of the genre's most consistent innovators.



Miles Davis died inSanta Monica, California, on 28th September, 1991.



Peter Dempsey, 2001







1. THRIVING ON A RIFF(Charlie Parker)


The Be Bop Boys


(Savoy 945, mx SAV5852) Recorded 26th November, 1945, New York 2:55



2. BILLIE'S BOUNCE(Charlie Parker)


Charlie Parker'sRe-Boppers


(Savoy 573, mx SAV5850) Recorded 26th November, 1945, New York 3:08



3. CHERYL (CharlieParker)


Charlie Parker AllStars


(Savoy 952, mx S3422) Recorded 8th May, 1947, New York 2:59



4. CHASIN' THE BIRD(Charlie Parker)


Charlie Parker AllStars


(Savoy 977, mx S3421) Recorded 8th May, 1947, New York 2:45



5. BUZZY (CharlieParker)


Charlie Parker withMiles Davis, Bud Powell, Tommy Potter, Max Roach


(Savoy 652, mx S3423) Recorded 8th May, 1947, New York 2:31



6. SIPPIN' AT BELL'S(Miles Davis)


Miles Davis All Stars


(Savoy 934, mx S3443) Recorded 14th August, 1947, New York 2:24



7. MILESTONES (MilesDavis)


Miles Davis All Stars


(Savoy 934, mx S3440) Recorded 14th August, 1947, New York 2:36



8. LITTLE WILLIELEAPS (Miles Davis)


Miles Davis All Stars


(Savoy 977, mx S3441) Recorded 14th August, 1947, New York 2:53



9. KLAUNSTANCE(Charlie Parker)


Charlie Parker AllStars


(Savoy 967, mx D 832)Recorded 21st December, 1947, Detroit 2:43



10. BIRD GETS THEWORM (Charlie Parker)


Charlie Parker AllStars


(Savoy 952, mx D 833)Recorded 21st December, 1947, Detroit 2:37



11. CONSTELLATION(Charlie Parker)


Charlie Parker AllStars


(Savoy 939, mx B 902)Recorded 18th September, 1948, New York 2:28


Facts
Item number 8120607
Barcode 636943260722
Release date 01/02/2002
Category Jazz and Blues
Label Naxos Legends
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Performers
Artists Miles Davis
Composers Bud Powell
Charlie Parker
Miles Davis
Gerry Mulligan
George Wallington
Denzil Best
Orchestras Be Bop Boys
Miles Davis Orchestra
Charlie Parker All Stars
Charlie Parker Re-Boppers
Producers David Lennick
Disc: 1
Thriving On A Riff
1 Thriving On A Riff
Billie's Bounce
2 Billie's Bounce
Cheryl
3 Cheryl
Chasin' The Bird
4 Chasin' The Bird
Buzzy
5 Buzzy
Sippin' At Bill's
6 Sippin' At Bell's
Milestones
7 Milestones
Little Willie Leaps
8 Little Willie Leaps
Klaunstance
9 Klaunstance
Bird Gets The Worm
10 Bird Gets The Worm
Constellation
11 Constellation
Ah-Leu-Cha
12 Ah-Leu-Cha
Perhaps
13 Perhaps
Marmaduke
14 Marmaduke
Steeplechase
15 Steeplechase
Merry-Go-Around
16 Merry-Go-Around
Bud-O
17 Bud-O
Jeru
18 Jeru
Godchild
19 Godchild
Move
20 Move
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