Miles Ahead session details

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November 12, 1956 (5 items; TT = 27:16)
Stadthalle, Freiburg (Germany)
Südwestfunk TV broadcast (B-)
Birdland All-Stars in Europe plus Kurt Edelhagen Orchestra

Miles Davis (tpt); René Urtreger (p); Pierre Michelot (b); Christian Garros (d); Lester Young (ts); Milt Jackson (vb); John Lewis (p); Percy Heath (b); Connie Kay (d); Siegfried Ackhammer (tpt); Conny Jackel (tpt); Klaus Mitschele (tpt); Rolfe Schneebiegel (tpt); Hanne Wilfert (tpt); Werner Betz (tb); Otto Bredl (tb); Helmut Hauck (tb); Heinz Hermannsdorfer (tb); Helmut Reinhardt (as); Franz Von Klenck (as); Bubi Aderhold (ts); Paul Martin (ts); Helmut Brandt (bs); Johnny Feigl (bs); Werner Drexler (d); Kurt Edelhagen (cond)

1 Tune Up (M. Davis) 2:50

Davis with Urtreger Trio
2 Walkin' (R. Carpenter) 3:37

Davis with Urtreger Trio
3 What's New? (J. Burke-B. Haggart) 3:33

Davis with Urtreger Trio
4 How High the Moon (N. Hamilton-M. Lewis) 8:06

Add Lester Young and MJQ
5 Lester Leaps In (L. Young) 9:10

Add Lester Young, MJQ, and Edelhagen orchestra


1 Tune Up
12" LP: Unique Jazz UJ 14, Century CEJC 00108, CBS/Sony 15AP 541
CD: Century CECC 00108 (= CECC 00099), Tokuma TKCZ-79046, Definitive DRCD 11294

3 What's New?
12" LP: Unique Jazz UJ 14, Century CEJC 00108, CBS/Sony 15AP 541
CD: Century CECC 00108 (= CECC 00099), Tokuma TKCZ-79046, Definitive DRCD 11294

4 How High the Moon
12" LP: Unique Jazz UJ 14, Century CEJC 00108, CBS/Sony 15AP 541
CD: New Sound Planet/Jazz Up JUTB 3033, Century CECC 00108 (= CECC 00099), Tokuma TKCZ-79046, Definitive DRCD 11294

5 Lester Leaps In
12" LP: Unique Jazz UJ 14, Century CEJC 00108, CBS/Sony 15AP 541
CD: New Sound Planet/Jazz Up JUTB 3033, Century CECC 00108 (= CECC 00099), Tokuma TKCZ-79046, Definitive DRCD 11294


This is a short excerpt of a much longer concert from the "Birdland All-Stars in Europe" tour. In addition to Davis, the tour featured Lester Young, Bud Powell, The Modern Jazz Quartet, the René Urtreger Trio, and (on some of the German dates) the Kurt Edelhagen Orchestra. Apparently the complete concert from this date survives in an audio recording in the SWR Baden-Baden archives, and the titles performed were as follows:

  1. Jubilee (Heinz Kiessling) (Edelhagen Orchestra) (6:30)
  2. Yesterdays (Orchestra) (4:00)
  3. Sweets (Bill Russo) (Orchestra) (3:20)
  4. Night and Day (Orchestra + Johnny Teupen, harp) (4:30)
  5. Stockholm Blues (Johnny Teupen) (Orchestra + Johnny Teupen, harp) (4:50)
  6. D and E (MJQ) (3:45)
  7. Milano (MJQ) (3:19)
  8. La Ronde (MJQ) (2:20)
  9. Django (MJQ + Orchestra) (7:00)
  10. Bluesology (MJQ + Orchestra) (5:30)
  11. Taking a Chance on Love (V. Duke-J. LaTouche) (Alice Babs + Orchestra) (2:20)
  12. I Can't Give you Anything But Love (J. McHugh-D. Fields) (Alice Babs + Orchestra) (1:55)
  13. Yesterdays (J. Kern) (Helmut Brandt Quintet) (5:00)
  14. The Best Thing for You is Me (René Urtreger Trio) (3:00)
  15. Tune Up (Urtreger Trio) (3:00)
  16. Walkin' (Davis + Urtreger Trio) (3:35)
  17. What's New? (Davis + Urtreger Trio) (3:35)
  18. Indiana (Lester Young + Urtreger Trio) (2:30)
  19. Bess, O Where's my Bess? (MJQ) (4:00)
  20. Versailles (MJQ) (3:00)
  21. Lester Leaps In (arr. Wolfgang Förster) (Young, Davis, MJQ + Orchestra) (9:20)
  22. How High the Moon (Young, Davis, MJQ + Orchestra) (8:00)

The "Birdland All-Stars in Europe" tour itinerary included the following stops:

November 2: Salle Pleyel, Paris
November 3 (evening): Concertgebouw, Haarlem
November 3 (midnight): Concertgebouw, Amsterdam
November 4: Palais de Beaux-Arts, Brussels
November 6: Rheinhalle, Düsseldorf
November 7: Sportspalast, Berlin
November 8: Rosengarten, Mannheim
November 9: Kongresshalle, Frankfurt
November 10: Unknown venue, Hamburg
November 11: Deutsches Museum, Munich
November 12: Stadthalle, Freiburg
November 13: Konserthuset, Stockholm
November 14: KB-Hallen, Copenhagen
November 16: Unknown venue, Lille
November 17: Salle Pleyel, Paris
November 18: Unknown venue, Strasbourg
November 19: Kongresshaus, Zürich
November 20: Victoria Hall, Geneva
November 21: Musikhalle, Basel
November 22: Teatro di via Manzoni, Milan (two concerts, afternoon and evening)
November 23: Teatro Nuovo, Turin (two concerts, afternoon and evening)
November 24: Unknown venue, Marseilles
November 25: Unknown venue, Lyons

According to an interview with Jeanne de Mirbeck, René Urtreger's sister and Davis's companion during this time, there were 28 concerts in this tour (see Jazz Magazine, December 2007, pp. 20-21). After the evening concert on November 22, Davis participated in a jam session in a Milan club, the Taverna Mexico, with Renato Angiolini (p), but Davis apparently did not like his playing and so replaced him with Milt Jackson; the other participants were Alceo Guatelli (b) and an unknown Italian drummer. Thanks to Stefano Biosa for this information.

The few fragments that survive from this tour show Davis in fine form and (as here) a very frail Lester Young.

I'm grateful to Alexander Keth for the information about the complete recording, and to Tommaso Urbano for his help. Perhaps someday this recording will be released commercially.

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