Miles Ahead session details

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April 3, 1954 (4 items; TT = 23:48)
Rudy van Gelder Studio, Hackensack NJ
Commercial for Prestige
Miles Davis Quintet

Miles Davis (tpt); Dave Schildkraut (as); Horace Silver (p); Percy Heath (b); Kenny Clarke (d)

1 Solar (M. Davis) 4:41
2 You Don't Know What Love Is (D. Raye-G. DePaul) 4:21
3 Love Me or Leave Me (W. Donaldson-G. Kahn) 6:55
4 I'll Remember April (D. Raye-G. DePaul-P. Johnston) 7:51


1 Solar
10" LP: Prestige PRLP 185
12" LP: Prestige 7076, Prestige P-012 (12 LP), Analogue Productions APJ 213, Analogue Productions AJAZ 7076 (45 rpm), Victor SMJ-6528, Victor VIJ-5090/5101 (12 LP)
CD: Fantasy OJC-213, OJC-6017, Fantasy PRCD 7076, Prestige 8PCD-012, JVC XR 0047, Victor VICJ-23572, Victor VICJ-23850, Victor VICJ-40225/32, Victor VICJ-60264, Victor VICJ-60818, Victor VICJ-41437, Victor VICJ-2033, Victor VICJ-61045, Victor VICJ-41028, Victor VICJ-41506, Victor VICJ-41122, Universal UCCO-5025, Universal UCCO-9018, Universal UCCO-9165, Universal UCCO-9656, Universal UCCO-9225

2 You Don't Know What Love Is
45 rpm: Prestige 45-376
10" LP: Prestige PRLP 185
12" LP: Prestige 7076, Prestige P-012 (12 LP), Analogue Productions APJ 213, Analogue Productions AJAZ 7076 (45 rpm), Victor SMJ-6528, Victor VIJ-5090/5101 (12 LP)
CD: Fantasy OJC-213, Prestige PRCD 6019, Fantasy PRCD 7076, Prestige 8PCD-012, JVC XR 0047, Victor VICJ-23572, Victor VICJ-40225/32, Victor VICJ-60236, Victor VICJ-41438, Victor VICJ-60264, Victor VICJ-2033, Victor VICJ-61045, Victor VICJ-41028, Victor VICJ-41506, Universal UCCO-9018, Universal UCCO-5025

3 Love Me or Leave Me
12" LP: Prestige 7076, Prestige P-012 (12 LP), Analogue Productions APJ 213, Analogue Productions AJAZ 7076 (45 rpm), Victor SMJ-6528, Victor VIJ-5090/5101 (12 LP)
CD: Fantasy OJC-213, Fantasy PRCD 7076, Prestige 8PCD-012, JVC XR 0047, Victor VICJ-23572, Victor VICJ-40225/32, Victor VICJ-60264, Victor VICJ-2033, Victor VICJ-61045, Victor VICJ-41028, Victor VICJ-41506, Universal UCCO-9018, Universal UCCO-5025

4 I'll Remember April
10" LP: Prestige PRLP 185
12" LP: Prestige 7054, Prestige P-012 (12 LP), Victor SMJ-6527, Victor VIJ-5090/5101 (12 LP)
CD: Fantasy OJC-093, Prestige PRCD 5701, 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


This session took place less than three weeks after the previous Prestige session. Art Blakey has been replaced by Kenny Clarke, and Davis has added a young "ornithologist" or Charlie Parker imitator as a second solo voice. (In a Down Beat blindfold test, Charles Mingus mistook Schildkraut for Parker when he heard "I'll Remember April" from this session.) Davis is muted on all four tunes -- using a cup mute instead of the Harmon mute that was to become his trademark. Clarke plays brushes throughout, even on uptempo numbers. The rhythm section of Silver, Heath, and Clarke is really impressive on these tunes.

"Solar" is based on the changes of "How High the Moon." Following the opening chorus, the solos are by Davis (2x), Schildkraut (2x), Silver (1x), and Davis again (1x), followed by an out chorus. Heath's walking bass is solid throughout. Sadly, this is the only time Davis recorded "Solar," though it was quickly picked up by others, notably Bill Evans. (Although copyrighted by Davis in 1963, "Solar" was pretty clearly stolen from Chuck Wayne -- his "Sonny," written for trumpeter Sonny Berman in the mid-1940s, is the same tune. See http://blogs.loc.gov/music/2012/07/chuck-wayne-sonny-solar/.)

"You Don't Know What Love Is" was a Billy Eckstine feature for the Earl Hines Orchestra in the late 1940s. Davis is the only soloist.

Things get much more upbeat with "Love Me or Leave Me" -- Davis's two-chorus solo is punctuated with Silver's breaks, then Schildkraut takes two choruses of his own, followed by one by Silver, one of four-bar trumpet/drums exchanges, and another chorus by Davis.

"I'll Remember April" is another high point of this session. The melody is nicely arranged. Davis's two-chorus solo is chock full of ideas. Silver's two choruses are, too -- "hard bop" is here already. Schildkraut's two choruses are Bird-like gems, but without Parker's occasional harshness of tone. Silver takes another chorus, borrowing some phrases from Bud Powell. Heath takes the bridge, and Davis has another chorus on the way out.

This is the first Prestige recording session to take place in Rudy Van Gelder's home studio in Hackensack, NJ. For the remainder of his years with Prestige, Davis would be recorded by Van Gelder.

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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