Miles Ahead session details

[Return to main page]

May 9, 1952 (11 items; TT = 37:10)
WOR Studios, New York NY
Commercial for Blue Note
Miles Davis Sextet

Miles Davis (tpt); J.J. Johnson (tb); Jackie McLean (as); Gil Coggins (p); Oscar Pettiford (b); Kenny Clarke (d)

1 Dear Old Stockholm (take 2) (Traditional, arr. S. Getz) 4:09
2 Chance It (take 1) [Max is Making Wax] (O. Pettiford) 2:50
3 Chance It (take 2) [Max is Making Wax] (O. Pettiford) 2:59
4 Chance It (take 3) [Max is Making Wax] (O. Pettiford) 2:58
5 Chance It (take 4) [Max is Making Wax] (O. Pettiford) 3:02
6 Donna (take 1) [Dig] (M. Davis) 3:07
7 Donna (take 2) [Dig] (M. Davis) 3:09
8 Woody 'n' You (take 1) (D. Gillespie) 3:19
9 Woody 'n' You (take 2) (D. Gillespie) 3:21
10 Yesterdays (J. Kern-O. Harbach) 3:41
11 How Deep is the Ocean? (I. Berlin) 4:35


1 Dear Old Stockholm (take 2)
78 rpm: Blue Note BN 1595
10" LP: Blue Note BLP 5013, Classic Records ABNC 5013C (33/45 rpm), Toshiba TOJJ-5013
12" LP: Blue Note BLP 1501 (= BST 81501), Toshiba NR 8830 (LP)
CD: Blue Note CDP 81501, Blue Note 32610, Toshiba CJ28 5056, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-9022, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2, Toshiba TOCJ-6417, Toshiba TOCJ-6325

2 Chance It (take 1)
CD: Blue Note 32610, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2

3 Chance It (take 2)
78 rpm: Blue Note BN 1596
10" LP: Blue Note BLP 5013, Classic Records ABNC 5013C (33/45 rpm), Toshiba TOJJ-5013
12" LP: Blue Note BLP 1501 (= BST 81501), Toshiba NR 8830 (LP)
CD: Blue Note CDP 81501, Blue Note 32610, Toshiba CJ28 5056, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-9022, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2, Toshiba TOCJ-6417

4 Chance It (take 3)
10" LP: Blue Note LP 5071

5 Chance It (take 4)
10" LP: Blue Note LP 5071

6 Donna (take 1)
45 rpm: Blue Note BN 1633
12" LP: Blue Note BLP 1501 (= BST 81501), Toshiba NR 8830 (LP)
CD: Blue Note CDP 81501, Blue Note 32610, Toshiba CJ28 5056, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-9022, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2, Toshiba TOCJ-6417

7 Donna (take 2)
78 rpm: Blue Note BN 1597
10" LP: Blue Note BLP 5013, Classic Records ABNC 5013C (33/45 rpm), Toshiba TOJJ-5013
12" LP: Blue Note BLP 1502 (= BST 81502), Toshiba NR 8831 (LP)
CD: Blue Note CDP 81501, Blue Note 32610, Toshiba CJ28 5056, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-9022, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2, Toshiba TOCJ-6417

8 Woody 'n' You (take 1)
12" LP: Blue Note BLP 1501 (= BST 81501), Toshiba NR 8830 (LP)
CD: Blue Note CDP 81501, Blue Note 32610, Toshiba CJ28 5056, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-9022, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2, Toshiba TOCJ-6417

9 Woody 'n' You (take 2)
78 rpm: Blue Note BN 1595
10" LP: Blue Note BLP 5013, Classic Records ABNC 5013C (33/45 rpm), Toshiba TOJJ-5013
12" LP: Blue Note BLP 1502 (= BST 81502), Toshiba NR 8831 (LP)
CD: Blue Note CDP 81502, Blue Note 32610, Toshiba CJ28 5111, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-9023, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2, Toshiba TOCJ-6429

10 Yesterdays
78 rpm: Blue Note BN 1596
10" LP: Blue Note BLP 5013, Classic Records ABNC 5013C (33/45 rpm), Toshiba TOJJ-5013
12" LP: Blue Note BLP 1501 (= BST 81501), Toshiba NR 8830 (LP)
CD: Blue Note CDP 81501, Blue Note 32610, Blue Note CDP 36633, Toshiba CJ28 5056, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-9022, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2, Toshiba TOCJ-6417, Toshiba TOCJ-6325

11 How Deep is the Ocean?
10" LP: Blue Note BLP 5013, Classic Records ABNC 5013C (33/45 rpm), Toshiba TOJJ-5013
12" LP: Blue Note BLP 1501 (= BST 81501), Toshiba NR 8830 (LP)
CD: Blue Note CDP 81501, Blue Note 32610, Toshiba CJ28 5056, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Blue Note CDP 36633, Toshiba TOCJ-9022, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2, Toshiba TOCJ-6417, Toshiba TOCJ-6325


This is Davis's first Blue Note session, and the only studio session from 1952. His addiction made him unreliable, and his contract with Prestige had not been renewed. He had no working band. On the few live performances dating from this period he is a guest soloist -- with Jimmy Forrest's band in St. Louis, or with Beryl Booker's quintet at Birdland. He and Jackie McLean were booked for a week at Birdland the week before this session took place, and soon afterward Davis would participate in a touring revue called "Jumpin' with Symphony Sid" (with MC Sid Torin and including Don Elliot, Milt Jackson, Percy Heath, and others) -- in the remaining months of 1952 they were booked in Boston, New York, Toronto, Atlantic City, and several cities in the Midwest.

"Dear Old Stockholm" is based on the Swedish folk tune "Ack, Värmeland du Sköna." Davis modified the tune by adding a pulsing vamp between choruses, and by rhythmically suspending the ending of each chorus. He plays a full chorus, beautifully laying out the haunting melody; and the final chorus is split among McLean, Johnson, and Davis before the theme is re-stated.

"Chance It," credited to Davis, is really Pettiford's "Max is Making Wax," which had been widely performed and recorded by Charlie Parker and others throughout the late 1940s. It would remain in Davis's live book well into the mid-1950s. The alternate take is ragged in places (as when Davis and Clarke begin their four-bar exchanges without the rhythm section [1:55]), and McLean has some reed problems (e.g. at 1:33). But Davis's two choruses are inventive. Johnson does not solo on the alternate take. He does on the master -- he and McLean split a chorus after Davis's solo -- and things are much tighter. Davis's staccato phrasing is impressive.

"Donna" is the same tune credited to Davis when it was first recorded (at a faster tempo) for Prestige in October 1951. It's based on the changes of "Sweet Georgia Brown." This version compares poorly to the one recorded seven months earlier for Prestige. On the alternate take, Davis has the first chorus, McLean the second. McLean's solo begins by quoting a phrase from Charlie Parker's solo on "Sweet Georgia Brown" from the January 1946 Jazz at the Philharmonic concert (compare 1:33 here with 2:06 from Parker's JATP solo). Pettiford takes brief solos at the bridges of the opening and closing choruses. The structure is the same for the master take: Davis (1x), McLean (1x -- his solo begins with same quotation of Parker at 1:34), and Pettiford's solos on the bridges of the opening and closing choruses.

"Woody 'n' You" was a live staple for Davis in the 1950s, and he continued to perform it at least until 1958. The definitive version is probably that recorded for Prestige in May 1956. here, both alternate and master takes have the same structure: after an introduction by the rhythm section, Davis takes the first chorus, with periodic riffing underneath by Johnson and McLean; Johnson and Pettiford take the next chorus; and Davis returns for the closing chorus.

"Yesterdays" was recorded at a Lee Konitz-led Prestige session in March 1951, where Davis did not solo. Here, after Coggin's brief introduction, he is the only soloist, and takes three solid choruses. It's too bad Davis didn't perform this tune more often.

Davis's only other recording of "How Deep Is the Ocean?" dates from December 1947, with the Charlie Parker Quintet and guest J.J. Johnson. On that occasion Davis took only a short eight-measure solo. Here he is the only soloist.

Thanks to Bruno Leicht for helpful comments on this session.

All original content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons License