Miles Ahead session details

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Autumn 1948 (?) (19 items; TT = 36:59)
Pershing Ballroom, Chicago IL
Audience recording (C)
Dizzy Gillespie Big Band

J.B. "Dizzy" Gillespie (tpt, leader); Miles Davis (tpt); Dave Burns (tpt); Willie Cook (tpt); Elmon Wright (tpt); Jesse Tarrant (tb); Andy Duryea (tb); Charlie Parker (as); John Brown (as); Ernie Henry (as); Joe Gayles (ts); James Moody (ts); Cecil Payne (bs); James Foreman, Jr. (p); Nelson Boyd (b); Teddy Stewart (d); Chano Pozo (cga)

1 Yesterdays (J. Kern-O. Harbach) 3:43
2 'Round Midnight (B. Hanighen-C. Williams-T. Monk) 3:16
3 Algo Bueno (D. Gillespie) 1:39
4 Manteca (D. Gillespie-W.G. Fuller-C. Pozo) 2:12
5 Ool Ya Koo (D. Gillespie-W.G. Fuller) 0:47
6 Lover Man (J. Davis-R. Ramirez-J. Sherman) 2:03
7 Good Bait (T. Dameron-C. Basie) 1:49
8 Good Bait (T. Dameron-C. Basie) 2:18

No audible Parker; Davis solo
9 Unknown Title (ballad fragment) 0:32

No audible Parker; Davis solo
10 Ornithology (C. Parker-B. Harris) 0:46
11 Groovin' High (D. Gillespie-F. Paparelli) 1:44
12 Ool Ya Koo (D. Gillespie-W.G. Fuller) 1:52

Parker quotes "Woody Woodpecker."
13 I Can't Get Started (V. Duke-I. Gershwin) 3:36
14 Don't Blame Me (D. Fields-J. McHugh) 1:54

Nice Davis solo on the bridge
15 Cool Breeze (D. Gillespie) 0:48

Parker out
16 Things to Come (D. Gillespie) 2:22
17 Oo Bop Sh'Bam (D. Gillespie) 1:33
18 A Night in Tunisia (D. Gillespie-F. Paparelli) 3:12
19 What is This Thing Called Love? (C. Porter) 0:53


1 Yesterdays
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

2 'Round Midnight
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

3 Algo Bueno
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

4 Manteca
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

5 Ool Ya Koo
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

6 Lover Man
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

7 Good Bait
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

8 Good Bait
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

9 Unknown Title (ballad fragment)
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

10 Ornithology
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

11 Groovin' High
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

12 Ool Ya Koo
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

13 I Can't Get Started
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

14 Don't Blame Me
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

15 Cool Breeze
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

16 Things to Come
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

17 Oo Bop Sh'Bam
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

18 A Night in Tunisia
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)

19 What is This Thing Called Love?
CD: Philology Volume 13 (W 843), Volume 41 (W 872)


In the notes to Philology W 843, Robert Bregman claims that "Miles was on the bill [this] night but our tapes do not have him and Bird together." Philology W 843 gives "possibly August or Fall, 1948" as the date for this session. This raises difficulties, however, since Davis (as a member of the Parker Quintet) was booked in various New York venues throughout July, spent the month of August rehearsing his Nonet, and spent most of September in the Royal Roost with both groups. All of this is well documented on recordings. And by December Parker was back at the Roost for a four month gig that extended through March 1949.

Further, Gillespie was on the west coast from mid-July until mid-September; he opened at the Showboat in Milwaukee on September 18th, and probably stayed there for a week, and afterward played one-nighters in Hartford (Sept. 27) and Bridgeport (Sept. 29). He began a three-week engagement at the Royal Roost on October 30th.

Despite these difficulties, Ken Vail (Bird's Diary) places the Pershing Hotel Gillespie Big Band show on September 26. He makes no mention of Davis.

In addition to the personnel difficulties, the repertoire raises questions about the date. On the one hand, "Lover Man" and "Yesterdays" were common in Gillespie's band during late 1947 -- there are live recordings from Carnegie Hall and Cornell University -- but they were not in the band's book by 1948. On the other hand, "Cool Breeze," "Algo Bueno," and "Good Bait" were recorded on December 22, 1947, and "Manteca" and "Ool Ya Koo" on December 30, 1947. I'm not sure what to make of these facts.

Davis's trumpet is clearly audible on the three titles indicated; it's hard to tell whether he plays on the rest of the titles.

The Parker quintet and Gillespie big band were both in the midwest in November 1947, so it may be that these items are from then. On the other hand, they played in Chicago in late 1948 as well. After returning from a European tour in the summer of 1948, the Gillespie hit the road in the U.S. In To Be or Not to Bop trombonist Jesse "Rip" Tarrant is quoted: "In 1948 Diz came back from Europe, and there was an opening in the trombone section, and that's how I got the job... I would say the best performance to my knowledge was in Chicago. We did a dance and a concert, and Bird and Diz were in the front of the band. Man, that was rough, Bird and Diz. Then I remember we came right back with Diz and Miles playing with our band. But I think the one with Diz was the best I ever heard. They turned everybody on. Bird did our book with us. And then he went through things on his own with Diz, things they used to do together. But when they did them with our band... Boy, that band sounded beautiful that night!"

There are a few Parker quintet items ("Groovin' High," "All the Things You Are," and "Half Nelson") usually placed at the Pershing on or around this date. There's no trumpet solo on "Groovin' High," but Davis is clearly audible on the other two titles.

Thanks to Leif Bo Petersen, James Accardi, and Tommaso Urbano for help with this session.

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