The two blues singers are limited, repetitive and unoriginal, so that’s them out of the way. Miles, on the other hand, is most interesting, his fiery solos made the more so by the surrounding dross. There’s not much Gene Ammons available these days, so it’s good to hear his lucid and amiable solos.
Because of the time difference it’s not fair to compare Miles’s playing directly with that on the (3) bonus tracks, by which time the LP format had intervened to his great benefit. As he spreads out to take advantage of it, the pressure slips away and he takes the time to consider what comes next. Despite the burgeoning intensity of the two young saxophonists, Miles was ever the senior, and the album is a major step for him, rather sidelining his otherwise outstanding comrades.
(1) Don’t Sing Me The Blues (2 takes); (2) I’ve Always Got The Blues (3 takes); (1) Don’t Explain To Me, Baby (4 takes); (2) Baby, Won’t You Make Up Your Mind? (3 takes); (3) Dig; It’s Only A Paper Moon; Denial; Bluing; Out Of The Blue; My Old Flame (77.33)
(1) Earl Coleman (v); Davis (t); Gene Ammons (ts); Linton Garner (p); Connie Wainwright (g); Art Blakey (d). Hollywood, 18 October 1946. (2) as (1) but Ann Baker (v) replaces Coleman. (3) Davis (t); Jackie McLean (as); Sonny Rollins (ts); Walter Bishop (p); Tommy Potter (b); Art Blakey (d). NYC, 5 October 1951.
Essential Jazz Classics 11433