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Live At the 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival

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Editors’ Notes

The Monterey Jazz Festival has done fans a big favor by digging this well recorded live set out of their vaults. The band — Davis, tenor saxophonist George Coleman, pianist Herbie Hancock, and the rhythm section of Ron Carter and Tony Williams — is clearly fired up. They all appear on the 1963 Davis studio classic, Seven Steps to Heaven, and it’s a joy to hear them stretch out here. No one player stands out; everyone is on, and among other things, the album provides another chance to appreciate just how good Coleman is. Some people have overlooked the Memphis native’s excellent work because he played in Davis’s band between stints by two saxophone giants — John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter — but Coleman’s appealingly husky tone and spot-on sense of structure are a pleasure to hear. Hancock and Williams are intensely swinging accompanists and their solos dazzle. (Hancock’s solo on the uptempo “So What’” is a high point.) Listeners can also find payoffs following Carter’s engaging bass lines, and his arco solos on “Autumn Leaves” and “Walkin’” add another dimension to the group’s sound. And then, of course, there is Davis himself: playing in hushed, lyrical tones and burning lines that glow like hot coals.

Customer Reviews

bad iTunes

Once again locking up the best tracks to the evil Album Only category. It is just sad.

A Preview of Better Things Ahead

Miles' crew was still feeling eachother out, and as you hear early in Miles' setting the frame, he was playing with both Hancock and his rythym getting his turn with Coleman too. I am speaking of "Stella By Starlight." One of the best versions of this tune I have ever heard, bit the "Live At Carnegie" session for a NAACP Scholarship concert was the very best. Much in line with this version, I might add...but they knew what to expect from Miles by that latter gig.

The new quintet also took "So What" to rapid flight, and it suddenly becomes new, not quite my favorite, but Tony Willams was such a genius on this version. Miles loved that kid (17-18 years old I believe) and Miles said so in his colorful jargon! Back to "Autumn Leaves" which was alongwith every cut here Miles' " it jusr flows out of the horn,and Hancock's back upis one of the finest you'll hear from this group!

BTW, Miles stiffed the guys by not telling them the Carnegie gig was a"freebie," if you do not know the about it. Monterey is sublime..and I got it. A "long lost" LP , I am so glad it is back in circulation.

Jazz essential recording.

This release has received fantastic reviews.All earned.What sometimes is missed is the UNBELIEVABLE quality of the engineering and sound quality of this gem.
I think I have almost everything he has done-from early days with Bird to his passing.Loved all the phases and transitions and bands- and this goes in top 5.


Born: May 26, 1926 in Alton, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Although Miles Davis' 1955-1957 quintet had a relatively short life, it went down in history as one of the finest and most interesting bebop combos of the 1950s. It was a group in which different musical personalities did more than coexist -- they complimented and inspired each other. The quintet's front line had two unlikely allies in Davis and the distinctive John Coltrane, whose aggressive, passionate tenor saxophone was quite a contrast to Davis' subtle, understated, cool-toned trumpet. Davis,...
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