Miles Davis: Walkin’

Yet another reissue of the 1954 date that had Miles flourishing on a leaky old trumpet provided by the brother of BS&T drummer Bobby Colomby


Walkin’ represented a highly successful comeback for Miles Davis after some difficult years in the early 50s. It was and continues to be credited to the infamous Richard Carpenter, who acted as an agent for musicians like Lester Young, Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons and Duke Jordan.

Another of his clients was Jimmy Mundy who wrote Gravy for a 1950 Gene Ammons date. It was retitled Walkin’ for this session. It has been a nice little earner for Carpenter because Tom Lord’s discography reveals it has been recorded on 275 occasions so far. 

Uninhibited by an old, leaky trumpet borrowed from producer Jules Colomby (his brother Bobby later became a very fine drummer with Blood, Sweat & Tears) Miles plays seven choruses packed with original and well-resolved ideas. J.J. Johnson of course wrote the book on bebop trombone and Lucky Thompson displays his breathy Webster-like sound with his own serpentine approach to harmony.

Walkin’ remained in Davis’s book until the mid-60s. The tempo increased dramatically over the years until Runnin’ would have been a more apt title. Miles obviously liked the theme because his own Weirdo, which later became Sid’s Ahead, is very similar.

The Dave Schildkraut session is an unlikely addition to the Davis discography because it is the only time they recorded together. Dave should be far better known but his personal eccentricities prevented him achieving the public recognition his talent deserved. Contemporaries like Dizzy Gillespie, Jackie McLean, Stan Getz and Bill Evans all recognised his artistry. Chuck Wayne’s very original take on the blues (Solar) is probably his best known solo. His four choruses add a fragile, almost ethereal quality to the performance.

I still have my original LP from the mid-50s with a price-sticker of one pound, 17 shillings and nine pence in old money.

(1) Walkin’; Blue ’n’ Boogie; (2) Solar; You Don’t Know What Love Is; Love Me Or Leave me; I’ll Remember April (45.60)
Davis (t) with:
(1) J.J. Johnson (tb); Lucky Thompson (ts); Horace Silver (p); Percy Heath (b); Kenny Clarke (d). New Jersey, 25 April 1954.
(2) as (1) add Dave Schildkraut (as); omit Johnson & Thompson. New Jersey, 3 April 1954.
Pan Am Records 9152326