Miles Davis - Miles Davis with Tadd Dameron Revisited

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2023 reissue

1949 was a year of massive change for Miles Davis, and not in a good way. It began, in January, with him fronting the first of the recording sessions, made with a nonet, that became generically known as The Birth Of The Cool and which, if he had achieved nothing else of note, would have secured him a lasting place in jazz history. It ended with him strung out on heroin, a habit that reversed his ascent and which took him four years to break. The point at which Davis's trajectory pivoted was his early summer booking at the Salle Pleyel concert Hall in Paris and its immediate aftermath. About which, more in a moment.

Some of Davis's Paris performances were broadcast by French radio and these form the greater part of Miles Davis With Tadd Dameron Revisited, which is subtitled Live 1949 At The Royal Roost NYC & In Paris At Festival International De Jazz. The album brings together six tracks recorded at the Roost in February and nine from the Salle Pleyel in May. In New York, Davis co-led Tadd Dameron's Big Ten, in Paris the Miles Davis/Tadd Dameron Quintet. Kenny Clarke was the drummer at both locations, otherwise the personnels differ (details below).

The nonet sessions, which had been preceded by air shots of the same material from the Roost in September 1948, did not make an instant impact on the New York jazz audience—indeed, noises-off on the air shots suggest that some Roost patrons were seriously underwhelmed—but they were a succès d'estime among musicians. For the first time, Davis got out from under the perception of him as "just" a Charlie Parker sideman and established him as a bandleader in his own right.

Davis' self-confidence, never lacking, must have been further boosted. Certainly, by the time he reached Paris in May 1949, he sounded cock of the hoop. His performances at the Salle Pleyel, and sitting in at Parisian jazz clubs, were wildly acclaimed and he was fêted everywhere he went. He began a passionate affair with the actress Juliette Greco and spent afternoons hanging out in fashionable Left Bank cafes with her and her friend the existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, two of France's intellectual and cultural megastars. The Salle Pleyel tracks on Miles Davis With Tadd Dameron Revisited, made between May 8 and 15, reflect all this. Davis sounds supremely on top of his game, his tone wide open and extrovert, his attack aggressive. He frequently moves out of his default position in the trumpet's middle register, into its upper reaches. And he plays furiously fast. This is Davis at his early-period peak.

But the Paris trip was all too brief and Davis came down with a jolt as soon as he returned to New York. Gigs were hard to find and he was once more a black man in an undervalued art form in a society dominated by white people. Heroin was everywhere Davis turned to it for consolation.

The tracks on Miles Davis With Tadd Dameron Revisited have all been released before but the audio quality is the best ever by a country mile, something for which the ezz-thetics label's sound restoration and remastering jedi, Michael Brändli, deserves a salute. The New York air shots are largely irredeemable, but those from Paris are the most important ones and with them Brändli has woven his customary magic.

Chris May - allaboutjazz


At The Royal Roost: Miles Davis: trumpet; Kai Winding: trombone; Benjamin Lundy: tenor saxophone; Sahib Shihab: alto saxophone; Cecil Payne: baritone saxophone; John Collins, guitar; Tadd Dameron: piano; Curly Russell: double bass; Kenny Clarke: drums; Carlos Vidal, conga.

In Paris: Miles Davis, trumpet; James Moody, tenor saxophone; Tadd Dameron, piano; Barney Spieler, double bass; Kenny Clarke, drums.



SKU 752156114420
Barcode # 752156114420
Brand ezz-thetics / Hat Hut Records

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