Miles Ahead session details

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April 20, 1953 (13 items; TT = 45:25)
WOR Studios, New York NY
Commercial for Blue Note
Miles Davis Sextet

Miles Davis (tpt); J.J. Johnson (tb); Jimmy Heath (ts); Gil Coggins (p); Percy Heath (b); Art Blakey (d)

1 Kelo (take 1) (J.J. Johnson) 3:13
2 Kelo (take 1) (J.J. Johnson) 3:22
3 Kelo (take 2) (J.J. Johnson) 3:15
4 Enigma (take 1) (J.J. Johnson) 3:38
5 Enigma (take 1) (J.J. Johnson) 3:22
6 Enigma (take 2) (J.J. Johnson) 3:19
7 Ray's Idea (take 1) (R. Brown-W.G. Fuller) 3:47
8 Ray's Idea (take 2) (R. Brown-W.G. Fuller) 3:40
9 Tempus Fugit (take 1) (B. Powell) 3:47
10 Tempus Fugit (take 2) (B. Powell) 3:54
11 C.T.A. (take 2) (J. Heath) 3:12
12 C.T.A. (take 3) (J. Heath) 3:30
13 I Waited for You (W.G. Fuller) 3:26

Johnson and Heath out


1 Kelo (take 1)
10" LP: Blue Note LP 5071

2 Kelo (take 1)
CD: Blue Note CDP 81501, Blue Note 32611, Toshiba CJ28 5056, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2

3 Kelo (take 2)
78 rpm: Blue Note BN 1620
10" LP: Blue Note BLP 5022
12" LP: Blue Note BLP 1501 (= BST 81501), Toshiba NR 8830
CD: Blue Note CDP 81501, Blue Note 32611, Toshiba CJ28 5056, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-9022, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2, Toshiba TOCJ-6417, Toshiba TOCJ-6325

4 Enigma (take 1)
10" LP: Blue Note LP 5071

5 Enigma (take 1)
CD: Blue Note CDP 81501, Blue Note 32611, Toshiba CJ28 5056, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2

6 Enigma (take 2)
78 rpm: Blue Note BN 1618
10" LP: Blue Note BLP 5022
12" LP: Blue Note BLP 1501 (= BST 81501), Toshiba NR 8830
CD: Blue Note CDP 81501, Blue Note 32611, Blue Note CDP 36633, Toshiba CJ28 5056, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-9022, , Toshiba TOCJ-6417Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2

7 Ray's Idea (take 1)
12" LP: Blue Note BLP 1502 (= BST 81502), Toshiba NR 8831
CD: Blue Note CDP 81502, Blue Note 32611, Toshiba CJ28 5111, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-9023, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2, Toshiba TOCJ-6429

8 Ray's Idea (take 2)
78 rpm: Blue Note BN 1619
10" LP: Blue Note BLP 5022
12" LP: Blue Note BLP 1501 (= BST 81501), Toshiba NR 8830
CD: Blue Note CDP 81501, Blue Note 32611, Toshiba CJ28 5056, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-9022, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2, Toshiba TOCJ-6417

9 Tempus Fugit (take 1)
78 rpm: Blue Note BN 1618
45 rpm: Blue Note BN 1649
10" LP: Blue Note BLP 5022
12" LP: Blue Note BLP 1501 (= BST 81501), Toshiba NR 8830
CD: Blue Note CDP 81501, Blue Note 32611, Columbia C2K 85475, Toshiba CJ28 5056, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-9022, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2, Toshiba TOCJ-6417, Toshiba TOCJ-6325, Sony SRCS 2493/4

10 Tempus Fugit (take 2)
12" LP: Blue Note BLP 1502 (= BST 81502), Toshiba NR 8831
CD: Blue Note CDP 81502, Blue Note 32611, Toshiba CJ28 5111, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-9023, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2, Toshiba TOCJ-6429

11 C.T.A. (take 2)
12" LP: Blue Note BLP 1501 (= BST 81501), Toshiba NR 8830
CD: Blue Note CDP 81501, Blue Note 32611, Toshiba CJ28 5056, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-9022, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2, Toshiba TOCJ-6417, Toshiba TOCJ-6325

12 C.T.A. (take 3)
78 rpm: Blue Note BN 1620
10" LP: Blue Note BLP 5022
12" LP: Blue Note BLP 1501 (= BST 81501), Toshiba NR 8830
CD: Blue Note CDP 81501, Blue Note 32611, Toshiba CJ28 5056, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-9022, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2, Toshiba TOCJ-6417

13 I Waited for You
78 rpm: Blue Note BN 1619
10" LP: Blue Note BLP 5022
12" LP: Blue Note BLP 1501 (= BST 81501), Toshiba NR 8830
CD: Blue Note CDP 81501, Blue Note 32611, Blue Note CDP 36633, Toshiba CJ28 5056, Toshiba TOCJ-5659/60, Toshiba TOCJ-9023, Toshiba TOCJ-66111/2, Toshiba TOCJ-6429, Toshiba TOCJ-6325


Davis, still in the throes of heroin addiction, participated in four desultory studio sessions in the first half of 1953. He was working very little, usually as a guest with people like Charlie Parker (February) or Dizzy Gillespie (May). The group assembled here is similar to that used for Davis's 1952 Blue Note session -- Johnson and Coggins are included again; Jimmy and Percy Heath replace Jackie McLean and Oscar Pettiford; and Kenny Clarke is replaced by Art Blakey.

The solos on "Kelo" are by Davis (2x), Heath (1x), Johnson (1x), and Coggins (eight measures). The ensemble is tight on both takes, and Davis's staccato phrasing is striking.

Both takes of "Enigma," a tune based on the chord changes of "Conception," are nicely arranged, with horn figures behind Davis's sensitive solo. He takes a full chorus, and Coggins and Davis split the next one. Davis has more control of his tone and phrasing on this date than on the Prestige sessions from this period.

"Ray's Idea" was written by Walter "Gil" Fuller for Ray Brown. Its angular opening, reminiscent of "Salt Peanuts," reminds us of this tune's roots in the Gillespie Big Bands of the mid-1940s. Davis's two-chorus solo ends with a trumpet/saxophone interlude, and Jimmy Heath follows with two choruses of his own. Coggins, with solid support from Percy Heath, solos briefly before Davis enters to finish the out chorus. Coggins's solo turn is much more active on the master take.

Bud Powell's "Tempus Fugit" was already in Davis's live repertoire in the early 1950s -- it's included in a WJZ radio broadcast from Birdland in February 1951. Here it is a showcase for Art Blakey, the drummer on the earlier live version. The first of the two full takes preserved is the master. Davis takes two choruses (note again his staccato phrasing), Heath one, Johnson two; Blakey's effervescent drumming is especially effective during Johnson's solo, and he has a half-chorus with Percy Heath before Davis rejoins for the rest of the closing chorus. The structure is the same for the alternate. Davis's solo runs over into Heath's space, and Blakey's accompaniment is a slightly less rambunctious than the master.

Jimmy Heath's "C.T.A." presented some challenges for the group, and the alternate take is ragged in places (listen at 2:47 during the closing chorus); the master is much tighter. On both takes the solos are by Johnson (1x), Heath (1x) followed by a short staccato interlude, then Davis (2x).

Davis is the only soloist on "I Waited for You," and his solo does not stray far from the very pretty melody. He seems unsure of himself.

Thanks to Bruno Leicht for helpful comments on this session.

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