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Miles Davis

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Miles Davis - Bag's Groove - 1954

MP3 | 192Kbps | | 65mb | front cover | Genre: Jazz

The title track of Bags Groove comes from December 24, 1954, the classic date that matched together trumpeter Miles Davis, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, pianist Thelonious Monk, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Kenny Clarke. Davis and Monk actually did not get along all that well and the trumpeter did not want Monk playing behind his solos, but a great deal of brilliant music occurred on the day of their encounter. There are two very different versions apiece of Bags' Groove, and Monk's solo on the first take was one of his best. The rest of the album is taken from a session the previous June that included Sonny Rollins and Horace Silver doing Rollins' own Airegin as well as Oleo and But Not for Me. Timeless music that defies easy classification, this set belongs in every jazz collection. 7 tracks. From the OJC/ Prestige
There are a multitude of reasons why Bags' Groove remains a cornerstone of the post-bop genre. Of course there will always be the lure of the urban myth surrounding the Christmas Eve 1954 session — featuring Thelonious Monk — which is documented on the two takes of the title track. There are obviously more tangible elements, such as Davis' practically telepathic runs with Sonny Rollins (tenor sax). Or Horace Silver's (piano) uncanny ability to provide a stream of chord progressions that supply a second inconspicuous lead without ever overpowering. Indeed, Davis' choice of former Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra and concurrent Modern Jazz Quartet members Milt Jackson (vibes), Kenny Clarke (drums), and Percy Heath (bass) is obviously well-informed. This combo became synonymous with the ability to tastefully improvise and provide bluesy bop lines in varied settings. The up-tempo and Latin-infused syncopation featured during the opening of "Airegin" flows into lines and minor-chord phrasings that would reappear several years later throughout Davis' Sketches of Spain epic. The fun and slightly maniacally toned "Oleo" features one of Heath's most impressive displays on Bags' Groove. His staccato accompaniment exhibits the effortless nature with which these jazz giants are able to incorporate round after round of solos onto the larger unit. Bags' Groove belongs as a cornerstone of all jazz collections. Likewise, the neophyte as well as the seasoned jazz enthusiast will find much to discover and rediscover throughout the disc. The remastered CD includes both historic takes of "Bags' Groove" as well as one additional rendering of the pop standard "But Not for Me."

Amazon reviewer:
This had to have been a most bizarre session, what with Miles telling Monk to lay out during his solos and all.. But Miles was a man with something to prove at this point. He had more or less kicked his heroin habit and was on the road to full musical recovery, as well, when these sessions went down (29 June and Christmas Eve 1954).

The tracks are wonderful, with Milt Jackson's famous "Bag's Groove" leading the way. (reocrded X-Mas eve) With the exception of Monk playing in John Lewis' place, this is Miles recording with the original Modern Jazz Quartet (Percy Heath and Kenny Clarke bass and drums, as well as vibraphonist Jackson)- which could also explain why Miles wanted Monk to lay out... The rhythm section is solid, and Miles' playing great, if not inspired. Jackson's vibes hold the piece together nicely. Alas, other takes from that session, including Monk's "Bemsha swing," "Swing Spring," and "The Man I Love," were not included on this CD...

Sonny Rollins' "Oleo" is another highlight (recorded 29 June with Rollins on tenor, Horace Silver on piano, with Heath and Clarke) and shows both Sonny and Miles in great form. Rollins was THE rising tenor star, and this track, as well as "Airegin," "But Not For Me," and "Doxy," prove full well; a year later, Miles would want Rollins to be in his 1st quintet, but Rollins, like many others in that era, had a heroin problem and would retreat( not for the last time) to clean up and "woodshed"... Rollins suggested an unknown named John Coltrane for Miles' group.

The CD is not as critical to have as others, but it is a great time period CD, showing Miles' growth from just a few months earlier, when he was on heroin. His playing is weak at moments, but vastly stronger, as was Miles' will and creativity. He wouldn't have to wait long before he would express his ideas to the world with his 1st great quintet.

1. Bags' Groove (Take 1)
2. Bags' Groove (Take 2)
3. Airegin
4. Oleo
5. But Not For Me (Take 2)
6. Doxy
7. But Not For Me (Take 1)

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