Miles Davis: Walkin’


Most people will have the main music on this album, but anyone who hasn’t is urged to buy it. Despite its deceptive jam-session appearance, the session that produced Walkin’ and Blue ’n’ Boogie (with their damned apostrophes) is one of the great jazz classics, and it has rarely if ever been out of the catalogues. It’s not generally known that, incredibly, Miles forgot to take his trumpet to the session. Producer Jules Colomby had an old, leaking trumpet in his car boot and Miles used that, keeping the horn after the session.

As ever when he was away from Parker, Miles’s leadership qualities emerged, and he led the band with palpable authority. Lucky Thompson, on the other hand, was an individual creator who didn’t depend on what was going on around him. Johnson added his iconic cipher, and of course this was the heyday of Horace Silver and his mission to bring the jazz back into bebop.

Was it Silver or Miles who sketched the ensembles? Both, probably. Although on the face of it the two long tracks (13 and 8 minutes respectively) are mainly a string of solos, the music is much more profound than that, and is an important summary of what had gone before in modern jazz as the players head towards a still quite far-off hard bop.

The bonus tracks from Davis’s Blue Note period, despite the similarity of line-up, are quite different, more committed and in some respects even better.

(1) Walkin’; Blue n’ Boogie; Solar; (2) You Don’t Know What Love Is; (1) Love Me Or Leave Me; I’ll Remember April; (3) Dear Old Stockholm; Chance It; Yesterdays; Donna; Woody’n You; How Deep Is The Ocean; Chance It (alt); Donna (alt); Woody ‘n You (alt) (77.40)
(1) Davis (t); JJ Johnson (tb); Dave Schildkraut (as); Lucky Thompson (ts); Horace Silver (p); Percy Heath (b); Kenny Clarke (d). NYC, 25 April 1954. (2) as (1) but omit Schildkraut. (3) Davis (t); J J Johnson (tb); Jackie McLean (as); Gil Coggins (p); Oscar Pettiford (b); Kenny Clarke (d). New Jersey, 9 April 1952.
American Jazz Classics 90877

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miles-davis-walkin"...the session that produced Walkin’ and Blue ’n’ Boogie (with their damned apostrophes) is one of the great jazz classics"