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Miles Ahead session details

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September 4, 1948 (30 items; TT = 56:11)
Royal Roost Club, New York NY
WMCA radio broadcast (B)
Show chatter

Charlie Parker (as); Miles Davis (tpt); Tadd Dameron (p); Dillon "Curley" Russell (b); Max Roach (d); Theodore "Fats" Navarro (tpt); Allen Eager (ts); Milt Jackson (vb); Tadd Dameron (p); Dillon "Curley" Russell (b); Kenny Clarke (d); Miles Davis (tpt); Michael Zwerin (tb); Junior Collins (frh); Bill Barber (tuba); Lee Konitz (as); Gerry Mulligan (bs); John Lewis (p); Al McKibbon (b); Max Roach (d); Kenny "Pancho" Hagood (voc); Symphony Sid Torin (ann); Bob Garrity (ann)

1 Announcement 0:05
2 Jumpin' with Symphony Sid (L. Young) 1:27
3 The Tadd Walk (T. Dameron) 3:24
4 Introduction 0:22
5 Symphonette (T. Dameron) 4:06
6 Introduction 0:22
7 The Squirrel (T. Dameron) 3:48
8 Announcement 0:04
9 Introduction 1:16
10 52nd Street Theme (T. Monk) 5:03

During his solo Parker quotes the "Cool Blues" theme (1:22-1:26)
11 Introduction 0:24
12 Ko Ko (C. Parker) 2:30
13 52nd Street Theme (T. Monk) 0:13
14 Announcement 0:38
15 Commercial break 1:20
16 Announcement 0:45
17 Birth of the Cool Theme (G. Evans) 1:17
18 Move (D. Best) 3:33
19 Introduction 0:35
20 Why Do I Love You? (J. Kern-O. Hammerstein) 3:42

Add Hagood (voc)
21 Introduction 0:09
22 Godchild (G. Wallington) 5:53

Incomplete (5:15) on issues prior to RJCD 514, CDP 94550, and DRCD 11159
23 Commercial break 1:37
24 Introduction 0:36
25 S'il vous Plait (W. Mourant-B. Stegmeyer) 4:31
26 Introduction 0:15
27 Moon Dreams (C. MacGregor-J. Mercer) 3:13
28 Introduction 0:24
29 Hallucinations [Budo] (B. Powell-M. Davis) 3:31
30 Closing announcement 1:08


1 Announcement
12" LP: Sneaker TDFN-829
CD: Milestone MCD-47041

2 Jumpin' with Symphony Sid
12" LP: Sneaker TDFN-829
CD: Milestone MCD-47041

3 The Tadd Walk
12" LP: Sneaker TDFN-829
CD: Milestone MCD-47041

4 Introduction
12" LP: Sneaker TDFN-829
CD: Milestone MCD-47041

5 Symphonette
12" LP: Sneaker TDFN-829
CD: Milestone MCD-47041

6 Introduction
12" LP: Sneaker TDFN-829
CD: Milestone MCD-47041

7 The Squirrel
12" LP: Sneaker TDFN-829
CD: Milestone MCD-47041

8 Announcement
12" LP: Savoy SJL 2260
CD: Savoy ZDS 4411/4, K30Y 6241/4, Nippon Columbia COCY 75791/8, COCB 50405 (= COCB 53440), Savoy SVY 17021/4, Definitive DRCD 11153

9 Introduction
12" LP: Savoy SJL 2260
CD: Savoy ZDS 4411/4, K30Y 6241/4, Nippon Columbia COCY 75791/8, COCB 50405 (= COCB 53440), Savoy SVY 17021/4, Definitive DRCD 11153

10 52nd Street Theme
12" LP: Savoy MG 12186, SJL 2260, ESP Bird-2
CD: Savoy ZDS 4411/4, K30Y 6241/4, Nippon Columbia COCY 75791/8, COCB 50405 (= COCB 53440), Savoy SVY 17021/4, Definitive DRCD 11153

11 Introduction
12" LP: Savoy SJL 2260
CD: Savoy ZDS 4411/4, K30Y 6241/4, Nippon Columbia COCY 75791/8, COCB 50405 (= COCB 53440), Savoy SVY 17021/4, Definitive DRCD 11153

12 Ko Ko
12" LP: Savoy MG 12179, SJL 2260, ESP Bird-2
CD: Savoy ZDS 4411/4, K30Y 6241/4, Nippon Columbia COCY 75791/8, COCB 50405 (= COCB 53440), Savoy SVY 17021/4, Definitive DRCD 11153, Philology Volume 43 (W 874)

13 52nd Street Theme
12" LP: SJL 2260
CD: Savoy ZDS 4411/4, K30Y 6241/4, Nippon Columbia COCY 75791/8, COCB 50405 (= COCB 53440), Savoy SVY 17021/4, Definitive DRCD 11153

14 Announcement
12" LP: Savoy SJL 2260
CD: Savoy ZDS 4411/4, K30Y 6241/4, Nippon Columbia COCY 75791/8, COCB 50405 (= COCB 53440), Savoy SVY 17021/4, Definitive DRCD 11153

15 Commercial break
12" LP: Savoy SJL 2260
CD: Savoy ZDS 4411/4, K30Y 6241/4, Nippon Columbia COCY 75791/8, COCB 50405 (= COCB 53440), Savoy SVY 17021/4, Definitive DRCD 11153

16 Announcement
12" LP: Savoy SJL 2260
CD: Savoy ZDS 4411/4, K30Y 6241/4, Nippon Columbia COCY 75791/8, COCB 50405 (= COCB 53440), Savoy SVY 17021/4, Definitive DRCD 11153

17 Birth of the Cool Theme
CD: Capitol CDP 94550, Definitive Records DRCD 11159

18 Move
12" LP: Ozone 2, Durium-Cicala BLJ-8008, Rarelp 08
CD: Tokuma TKCB-30024, Tokuma TKCB-71891, Fresh Sound FSCD-1008, Royal Jazz RJCD 514, Capitol CDP 94550, Definitive Records DRCD 11159

19 Introduction
CD: Royal Jazz RJCD 514

20 Why Do I Love You?
12" LP: Ozone 2, Durium-Cicala BLJ-8008, Rarelp 08
CD: Golden Age of Jazz JZCD 313, Royal Jazz RJCD 514, Recording Arts Reference Edition RARE CD 08/10, Capitol CDP 94550, Tokuma TKCB-30024, Tokuma TKCB-71891, Fresh Sound FSCD-1008, Definitive Records DRCD 11159

21 Introduction
CD: Royal Jazz RJCD 514

22 Godchild
12" LP: Ozone 2, Durium-Cicala BLJ-8008, Rarelp 08
CD: Golden Age of Jazz JZCD 313, Royal Jazz RJCD 514, Recording Arts Reference Edition RARE CD 08/10, Capitol CDP 94550, Tokuma TKCB-30024, Tokuma TKCB-71891, Fresh Sound FSCD-1008, Definitive Records DRCD 11159

24 Introduction
CD: Capitol CDP 94550, Definitive Records DRCD 11159

25 S'il vous Plait
12" LP: Ozone 2, Durium-Cicala BLJ-8008, Rarelp 08
CD: Golden Age of Jazz JZCD 313, Royal Jazz RJCD 514, Recording Arts Reference Edition RARE CD 08/10, Capitol CDP 94550, Tokuma TKCB-30024, Tokuma TKCB-71891, Fresh Sound FSCD-1008, Definitive Records DRCD 11159

26 Introduction
CD: Royal Jazz RJCD 514

27 Moon Dreams
12" LP: Ozone 2, Durium-Cicala BLJ-8008, Rarelp 08
CD: Golden Age of Jazz JZCD 313, Royal Jazz RJCD 514, Recording Arts Reference Edition RARE CD 08/10, Capitol CDP 94550, Tokuma TKCB-30024, Tokuma TKCB-71891, Fresh Sound FSCD-1008, Definitive Records DRCD 11159

28 Introduction
CD: Royal Jazz RJCD 514

29 Hallucinations
12" LP: Ozone 2, Durium-Cicala BLJ-8008, Rarelp 08
CD: Golden Age of Jazz JZCD 313, Royal Jazz RJCD 514, Recording Arts Reference Edition RARE CD 08/10, Capitol CDP 94550, Tokuma TKCB-30024, Tokuma TKCB-71891, Fresh Sound FSCD-1008, Definitive Records DRCD 11159


This session is the first of a long series of WMCA broadcasts of Parker from the Royal Roost. There are many Roost recordings of Parker, Tadd Dameron, Fats Navarro, Allen Eager, Charlie Ventura, Chubby Jackson, Woody Herman and others from August-November 1948. The Parker Quintet was booked as a Labor Day weekend guest act -- the main act was Tadd Dameron's sextet with Fats Navarro. The Roost recordings are remarkable for their fidelity, completeness (including Symphony Sid Torin's inimitable introductions and announcements), and excellent playing.

During this period Symphony Sid Torin's Friday night/Saturday morning "all-night, all-frantic" show consisted of Sid and Bob Garrity taking requests and playing records, interspersed with short live broadcasts from venues like the Royal Roost and the Apollo Theatre. Here we have performances by three 'organizations': the Dameron sextet, the Parker quintet, and Davis's nine-piece band -- almost a full hour of the "all-night, all-frantic Symphony Sid show."

The first two tunes from the nonet ("The Theme" and "Move") are about a half-tone flat on Capitol CDP 94550 and Definitive.

Bud Powell's "Hallucinations" was recorded for Mercury in 1951. When the tune was recorded by Davis Nonet for Capitol in January 1949, the title appeared as "Budo" and Davis was co-credited as composer.

Most discographers place the Nonet recordings on September 4 and September 18, although Ken Vail puts them on September 11 and 18. The evidence is not unambiguous:

  • In his autobiography Davis recalls, "Monte Kay booked us [i.e. the Nonet] into the Royal Roost on Broadway for two weeks." In 1950 Pat Harris interviewed Davis for Down Beat and wrote, "His second date at the Roost was with a 10-piece band including Konitz, Roach, Al McKibbon, Lewis, Junior Collins, trombonist Ted Kelly, and Bill Barber on tuba. Pancho Hagood sang with the unit," and he states that the engagement lasted two weeks. (Down Beat, January 27, 1950, pp. 18-19).

  • In the announcements looking forward to the following week's offerings, Sid says "Don't forget, September the 7th, the great Dinah Washington comes in here, and on the 9th, the outstanding Count Basie. It'll be Count Basie and his sensational new organization, it'll be Dinah Washington, and the outstanding Miles Davis and his new sound in progressive jazz." He makes a similar plug during the Parker: "Don't forget, here at the Royal Roost, we're bringing to you starting the 7th, the great Dinah Washington, and on the 9th, the great Count Basie and his wonderful organization. It'll be Count Basie, Dinah Washington, and the great Miles Davis organization..." (Basie's band is captured on a short recording from September 11 and also on a more extensive air check from September 18.)

  • But which Davis "organization" is Sid talking about being booked at the Roost for the following week? "Miles Davis and his new sound in progressive jazz" might sound like a plug for the Nonet, "Impressions in Modern Music with the great Miles Davis and his wonderful new organization." But this is doubtful.

    The surviving Royal Roost broadcast material from Saturday, September 11 consists of ten tunes by the Count Basie group with Dinah Washington -- nothing by other artists, and no announcements by Symphony Sid that shed any light on who else was currently booked.

    An advertisement from September 9 (sorry, I no longer have the source) includes the following: "Opening Tonite Monte Kay Presents Count Basie & His Great NEW Orchestra, Dinah Washington, and Miles Davis Quintet featuring Max Roach." This puts the Quintet at the Roost for the second week in September.

    Swedish journalist Arne Hansson reported that on the day before Basie opened at the Roost [September 8], the Roost line-up consisted of Beryl Booker, Dinah Washington, and Davis's Quintet. (Orkester Journalen, November 1948, p. 15.)

    Variety reviewed the second-week Roost lineup on September 15, and after enthusing about Count Basie and Dinah Washington, the review concludes, "Relief crew is Miles Davis's outfit. With three rhythm, one trumpet and a sax, it cuts a good session." Again, this would be the Quintet with Davis and Lee Konitz, not the Nonet.

    Lee Konitz recalls, "The way I remember it, the band [the Nonet] did the first week, and for some reason Miles and I did the second week as a Quintet, with John Lewis, Al McKibbon, and Max Roach." (Jazz Journal, December 1996, p. 6)

On the basis of this evidence it seems that Davis was booked at the Royal Roost for most of September:

  • September 2-8 (including Labor Day weekend): Charlie Parker Quintet and Miles Davis Nonet (9/4 recordings of both groups exist)
  • September 9-15: Miles Davis All-Star Quintet (no recordings have surfaced)
  • September 16-22: Miles Davis Nonet (9/18 recording exists)
  • September 23-29: Miles Davis All-Star Quintet (9/25 recording exists)

I am grateful to Leif Bo Petersen and James Accardi for helping me with the circumstances of the Royal Roost sessions.

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