Friday, 17 June 2016

Miles Davis - Bags' Groove (1957 compi, rec. 1954)

One of my absolute favourite albums of early, pre-Columbia Miles Davis - and actually a compilation of two 10" mini-albums, Miles Davis With Sonny Rollins recorded in June 1954, and Miles Davis All Stars Vol. 1, recorded on Xmas eve that same year.

It's all about the magnificent, knockout triple-punch of Sonny Rollins compositions for me, all of which would become widely-covered standards.  This inspired collaboration between Davis and Rollins would unfortunately prove to be a one-off (the omnipresent drug problems of 50s jazz, apparently); listen to these tracks and imagine what could've been.  Also recorded was Gershwin's But Not For Me, showing that this quintet were equally versatile with ballads and standards.

The 'All Stars' session from the end of the year featured another rare congress of striking personalities, with Thelonious Monk on piano and Milt 'Bags' Jackson on vibes.  Bags' Groove, the composition, is the very definition of mid-50's cool.  This compilation is rounded out by two alternate takes - of the title track, and But Not For Me.  Prestige seem to have been quite the label for offering value for money - I never knew until today's discogs browse that they'd done 16rpm compilations, offering presumably over an hour of music on one disc decades before the advent of CDs.  Sorry, I love trivia like that...

Bags' Groove

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