Miles Ahead session details

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April 29, 1946 (16 items; TT = 33:24)
NBC Studios, Hollywood CA
AFRS Jubilee session (B)
Benny Carter Orchestra

Miles Davis (tpt); Howard McGhee (tpt); Fred Trainer (tpt); Calvin Strickland (tpt); Walter Williams (tpt); Ira Pettiford (tpt); Candy Ross (tb); Johnny Morris (tb); Al Grey (tb); Charley Johnson (tb); Benny Carter (as, tpt); Bob Graettinger (as); Joe Epps (as); Harold Clark (ts); Hubert "Bumps" Myers (ts); Willard Brown (ts); James Cannady (g); Sonny White (p); Thomas Moultrie (b); Percy Brice (d); Lucy Elliott (voc); Ernie "Bubbles" Whitman (ann); George Dvorak (ann)

1 Introduction (Ernie "Bubbles" Whitman, Benny Carter) 0:34

EW: "Thank you, thank you, George Dvorak. Gracias and merci beaucoup and stuff. Now you hear what the man said, you heard him -- we're goin' to pour a load over you hot tonight... Yeah we're gonna latch on to a satchel full of that ever-loving jumping stuff. And here tonight to top off this jar of jam is an amazing man of music, Benny Carter.... Ah, say there Benny, what's the first big blast tonight?" BC: "Well, Ernie, we call it 'Co-Ed'. Let's fly with it right now." EW: "Oh, blow on, MacCarter, blow on..."
2 Mr. Co-Ed (B. Carter) 2:17

Davis is not audible
3 Introduction (Ernie "Bubbles" Whitman, Lucy Elliott) 0:59

EW: "Thank you, thank you, Benny Carter and men. You really showed us how to fly it by instruments. Yock, yock, yock. Right here our last guest is also a slick chick. It's a melody [undecipherable], dishing out some mellow-off-the-elbow, coming at you now is swinging, singing, Lucy Elliott... [Applause]. Oh, good evening, Miss Elliott. My, but you're looking very pretty tonight." LE: "Thanks, Ernie, you're looking good yourself." EW: "Aw, heh-heh-heh-heh. You even remind me of a statute [sic] of Venus, baby..." LE: "Now Ernie, stand back, stand back." EW: "Yes, and I was going to add that you and Venus have the same figure, heh." LE: "And the same motto, Ernie, hands off." [Laughter] EW: "OK, honey, sing for us then, something like 'I'm the Caring Kind'..."
4 I'm the Caring Kind (B. Carter) 2:58

Davis is not audible
5 Introduction (Ernie "Bubbles" Whitman, Lucy Elliott) 0:26

EW: "Oh, of course, of course, that was Lucy Elliott singing like a clear beer, and just as frothy. [Splice] Back again we go to the pull 'er plug out honey jar. Yes, customers, old Jubilubilane takes on a mellow groove Now we get a section heavy in arpeggios. It's Lucy Elliott back to warm your heart, gang. What's the melody, miss?" LE: "Why Ernie, it's called 'Frim Fram Sauce'. Know it?" EW: "Oh, you make me know it honey. Uhh..."
6 Frim Fram Sauce (B. Carter) 3:46

Davis is not audible
7 Introduction (Ernie "Bubbles" Whitman) 0:23

"Thank you, thank you Lucy. That fanned the frantic furs off our finicky fruit. . Oh, really... (Splice?) Well, dawn comes up again in Jubilubilane. So I guess we'd better all lace up our sneakers and jump around a bit before curfew time. And here's just the guy who can race your motors and factor your tractors. Get set now for Benny Carter and his specialists handling a jump tune for which there is no title..."
8 Polishin' Brass (J.J. Johnson) 4:30

Davis plays a sixteen-measure solo (2:12-2:34)
9 Cuttin' Time (B. Carter) 2:42

Davis plays a sixteen-measure solo (1:12-1:28)
10 Introduction (Ernie "Bubbles" Whitman) 0:19

"Yes, indeedy-doody. That doed it indeedy. That was the amazing Mr. C and his all-boy band wilting all the nasturtiums in your bouquet. It's the amazing one himself this time, amazing us all over again with his beautiful alto saxophone in Duke Ellington's 'Prelude to a Kiss'..."
11 Prelude to a Kiss (D. Ellington-I. Gordon-I. Mills) 3:08

Davis is not audible
12 Introduction (Ernie "Bubbles" Whitman) 0:34

EW: "Yes indeed, yes indeed. Now look what you've gone and done, Benny Carter. Now I'll have to mail you return postage -- I've just been sent too far." [Splice] "The time has come again to rout Hot Horn Hall with a blast of concentrated hot. Benny Carter's got his team dressed up in their best asbestos zoot suits. So Benny, who do we hear in this etude?" BC: "Well, Ernie, there's Bumps Myers on tenor sax, Candy Ross playing trombone, Sonny White working out on the piano, and I'll start the works on trumpet." EW: "Uh, the result?" BC: "'I Cover the Waterfront'." EW: "Oh, yeah..."
13 I Cover the Waterfront (E. Heyman-J.W. Green) 4:19

Davis is not audible
14 Introduction (Ernie "Bubbles" Whitman) 0:26

"Thank you, Benny Carter. Oh, yes... Like his boss said to his stable boy, 'You really got him there in fits, son,' yes sir." (Splice) "Well, straighten out my curves and call me a blockbuster, if it ain't that amazing man of music and his all-boy band, creating some steam in Hot Horn Hall's big boiler room. Yessir, Benny Carter and band now provide an old rocker that really can get you, son. Just latch on here, drum on to 'Back Bay Boogie'..."
15 Back Bay Boogie (B. Carter) 5:16

Davis is not audible
16 One O'Clock Jump (incomplete) (C. Basie) 0:47

Dvorak: "This is the Armed Forces Radio Service." EW: "Thank you, thank you..." Davis is not audible

8 Polishin' Brass
CD: New Sound Planet/Jazz Up JU-327, Jazz Door JD 1206, Masters of Jazz MJCD 151

9 Cuttin' Time
CD: New Sound Planet/Jazz Up JU-327

13 I Cover the Waterfront
CD: New Sound Planet/Jazz Up JU-327

There is a long trumpet solo (0:09-1:28) in "I Cover the Waterfront," but as the introduction suggests, it is played by Carter himself: at 0:37-0:40 he plays the same phrase he played on alto saxophone during his solo on "I Can't Get Started" from the Trianon Ballroom. Carter is also the soloist on "Frim Fram Sauce" -- compare the phrasing at 2:35-2:40 with 0:34-0:37 of his "I Cover the Waterfront" solo.

McGhee solos on "Mr. Co-Ed" and "Back Bay Boogie." On the former, phrases repeated in the last A section of his solo will appear in his solos during "Cheers" from the February 26, 1947 Dial session with Charlie Parker: take 1 (2:27-2:30) and take 2 (2:22-2:23 and 2:27-2:29). McGhee ends his solo on "Back Bay Boogie" with a phrase he will use at the beginning of his solo of "Carvin' the Bird," also from the February 26 Dial session -- compare "Back Bay Boogie" 2:17-2:20 and "Carvin' the Bird" 1:50-1:52. (A very similar phrase appears at 1:05-1:07 of "Mr. Co-Ed.")

Judging from the phrasing and choice of notes, Davis is the soloist on few of the other titles. The short solo on "Cuttin' Time" contains phrases from the 16-measure solo on "Just You, Just Me" from the March 31 Streets of Paris session (compare "Cuttin' Time" 1:18-1:23 and "Just You, Just Me" 2:37-2:43), and at 1:10-1:13 Davis plays a phrase also used in his aborted introduction to take 2 of "Thriving from a Riff" from the November 26, 1945 Savoy studio session (0:17-0:21).

The issued version of "Polishin' Brass" is about a half-tone sharp. On Jazz Door it is listed as "Untitled Original" -- probably because of Whitman's introduction ("...a jump tune for which there is no title"). But Davis is clearly the soloist: compare the phrasing at 2:14-2:21 with the trumpet solo from take 3 of "Thriving from a Riff" from November 1945 (especially 0:31-0:34). There are other echoes as well: at 2:16-2:18 Davis tosses off a phrase used both in the introduction to "Ko Ko" (0:09-0:10) and in his solo on take 1 of "Thriving from a Riff" (1:47-1:49). The same phrase appears at 1:09-1:11 of his "Anthropology" solo from a live Parker date from around this time. Finally, the phrasing at 2:23-2:25 echoes 1:55-1:58 of take 1 of "Thriving from a Riff."

There is a lot of uncertainty about the Benny Carter recordings from 1946. The items usually associated with Miles Davis were Armed Forces Radio Services (AFRS) "Jubilee" sessions which were transcribed on 16" 33-1/3 rpm LPs and distributed to radio stations around the world. The four sessions in questions are numbers 184, 186, 191, and 193. Recording sessions were typically an hour, in front of live studio audiences. The recordings were later edited and assembled into 30-minute Jubilee sides. As a result of this, some announcements and introductions were used more than once, and this contributes to the confusion. Recordings for program #184 were made in early April at NBC Studios in Hollywood; the following titles were included: "Who's Sorry Now?", "I Can't Get Started," and "Jump Call." Program #186 is usually dated in May, and includes "One O'Clock Jump," "Just You, Just Me," "Lover Man," and "Bugle Call Rag." Program #191 has a recording date of April 29 and includes the following titles: "Co-Ed," "I'm the Caring Kind," "Frim Fram Sauce," and "Polishing Brass." Program #193 has the same recording date, and the titles listed are "Cutting Time," "Stardust," "Prelude to a Kiss," "I Cover the Waterfront," and "Back Bay Boogie."

Davis joined the Carter band after a January 1946 engagement at the Riviera Club in St. Louis, and travelled to Los Angeles in February. In addition to playing with Carter's orchestra and a smaller Carter group, Davis began sitting in with Charlie Parker at the Finale Club. In March he became a regular member of the Parker Quintet, and he participated in a Dial session on March 28. He continued to play regularly with Carter's bands, as evidenced by a March 31 broadcast from the Streets of Paris. Eventually the musicians' union caught up with him and he was fined; he chose to leave the Carter group. Exactly when this happened is not clear. On April 12 Parker brought an eight-piece band -- Davis, Britt Woodman (tb), Parker, Lucky Thompson (ts), Dodo Marmarosa (p), Arv Garrison (g), Red Callendar (b), and Perc White (d) -- to a concert at UCLA's Carver Club. Also on the bill were Lester Young, the Nat Cole Trio, Herb Jeffries, and Kay Starr.

For an admirable discography, see Carl A. Hällström and Bo Scherman's The AFRS Jubilee Transcription Programs: An Exploratory Discography, Frankfurt am Main: Ruecker, 1985 -- revised and now online, I'm grateful to Craig Neilson for his help with these Jubilee sessions, and to Tommaso Urbano for his expertise in identifying the trumpet soloists.

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