Miles Ahead session details

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March 15, 1954 (3 items; TT = 13:30)
Beltone Studio, New York NY
Commercial for Prestige
Miles Davis Quartet

Miles Davis (tpt); Horace Silver (p); Percy Heath (b); Art Blakey (d)

1 Four (M. Davis) 4:00
2 Old Devil Moon [That Old Devil Called Love] (B. Lane-E.Y. Harburg) 3:22

This tune is often listed as "That Old Devil Called Love" (e.g. Prestige 898; PREP 1360, PRLP 161)
3 Blue Haze (M. Davis) 6:08

Both sides of Pr 893


1 Four
78 rpm: Prestige 898
45 rpm: Prestige PREP 1360 [EP]
10" LP: Prestige PRLP 161
12" LP: Prestige 7054, Prestige P-012 (12 LP), Victor SMJ-6527, Victor VIJ-5090/5101 (12 LP)
CD: Fantasy OJC-093, Victor VICJ-23606, Prestige 8PCD-012, Victor VICJ-40225/32, Victor VICJ-60441, Victor VICJ-2024, Victor VICJ-41155, Universal UCCO-9094, Universal UCCO-5106

2 Old Devil Moon
78 rpm: Prestige 898
45 rpm: Prestige 45-376; Prestige PREP 1360 [EP]
10" LP: Prestige PRLP 161
12" LP: Prestige 7054, Prestige P-012 (12 LP), Victor SMJ-6527, Victor VIJ-5090/5101 (12 LP)
CD: Fantasy OJC-093, Victor VICJ-23606, Prestige 8PCD-012, Victor VICJ-40225/32, Victor VICJ-60441, Victor VICJ-2024, Victor VICJ-41155, Universal UCCO-9094, Universal UCCO-5106

3 Blue Haze
78 rpm: Prestige 893
45 rpm: Prestige PREP 1360 [EP]
10" LP: Prestige PRLP 161
12" LP: Prestige 7054, Prestige P-012 (12 LP), Victor SMJ-6527, Victor VIJ-5090/5101 (12 LP)
CD: Fantasy OJC-093, OJC-6017, Victor VICJ-23606, Prestige 8PCD-012, Victor VICJ-40225/32, Victor VICJ-60441, Victor VICJ-2024, Victor VICJ-41155, Universal UCCO-9094, Universal UCCO-5106


With the exception of a Blue Note session on March 6 (involving the same group as that listed here), Davis had not been in the studio since the Prestige session in May 1953. For some months before these March studio dates, Davis was back in the Midwest getting rid of his heroin habit once and for all. He returned to New York and a new three-year contract with Prestige, of which this is the first installment.

"Four" is often credited to Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, who also claimed "Tune Up" as his. ("Tune Up" is credited to Vinson on Max Roach's Mercury LP from the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, Mercury 80080.) These are two signature Davis tunes from the mid-1950s. "Four" was re-done in 1956 with the Quintet and remained in the Davis book until the mid-1960s. The version here is played at a jaunty tempo, slower than later versions: Davis plays two choruses, Silver one, and Davis takes a closing chorus.

Davis is the only soloist on "Old Devil Moon"; the tune makes nice use of suspended time in the A sections and regular 4/4 only in the B section.

"Blue Haze" is introduced by Heath's walking bass (two choruses); Davis then takes a leisurely five-chorus solo -- his command of phrasing and tone are in striking contrast to the Prestige dates of the last couple years. Silver has a chorus, and Davis has one more before the closing cadence.

Jules Colomby, a young trumpet player and part-time employee at Prestige, described the circumstances in which "Blue Haze" was recorded: "They did a blues, and for some reason it wasn't going right. So I suggested that we turn the lights out in the studio, and the grooviest blues you ever heard came out of there. It was like making music by the light of a cigarette."

In late March Davis participated in a Mingus-led Jazz Workshop at Tony's Club Grandean in Brooklyn, where he was joined by Gigi Gryce, Thelonious Monk, and Max Roach. Davis and Monk got into several altercations, and from then on the two were often at odds.

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