Miles Davis Quintet with John Coltrane: Live In Copenhagen 1960

Vinyl reissue documents a 1960 session from a JATP tour that Coltrane almost didn't join because Miles wouldn't pay him $1000 a week


Some fascinating details behind this vinyl reissue are revealed in Tad Hershorn’s Norman Granz – The Man Who Used Jazz For Justice.

Granz had arranged for the Miles Davis quintet together with the Oscar Peterson trio and the Stan Getz quartet to play a JATP European tour taking in 22 cities in March/April 1960. However, John Coltrane apparently initially refused to go because he wanted a thousand dollars a week. Granz had to step in to supplement what Davis was paying him. He was clearly mystified by Coltrane, saying “that kind of playing was not what I was familiar with or comfortable with”.

Then there was Trane strike. Ian Carr’s 1982 Miles Davis – The Definitive Biography claims that Granz was “furiously angry when he tried to set up a jam session involving Coltrane and Stan Getz”, continuing “Trane had the audacity to refuse to do it.” This might have been true but Coltrane obviously had a change of heart. Many years later someone posted on YouTube the two of them performing Hackensack with Oscar Peterson, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb for a German television programme.

Apart from this Copenhagen date the Davis quintet’s 1960 JATP performances in Sweden, Switzerland and Holland have all been recorded, mostly featuring selections from Miles’ recent masterpiece Kind Of Blue. On Green Dolphin Street had been introduced to jazz by Jimmy Dorsey back in 1947 but it was probably Ahmad Jamal’s 1956 recording that encouraged Davis to add it to his repertoire.

Sound quality here is excellent and Miles, whether open or harmon-muted, achieves one of the music’s most distinctive trumpet sounds. Even after all these years I’m still astonished at Coltrane’s sheer torrent of notes, something that can only be achieved with a virtuosic command of the saxophone keyboard.

(1) So What; On Green Dolphin Street; All Blues; The Theme; (2) The Theme; Woody’N You; Walkin’ (55.30)
(1) Davis (t); Coltrane (ts); Wynton Kelly (p); Paul Chambers (b); Jimmy Cobb (d). Copenhagen, Denmark, 24 March 1960.
(2) as (1) add Red Garland (p); Philly Joe Jones (d); omit Kelly & Cobb. Café Bohemia, NYC, 13 April 1957.
Pan Am Records 9152331