Miles Davis' first album for Columbia, ‘Round About Midnight, represents both the beginning of a three-plus-decade relationship with the famed label as well as the start of an extended collaboration with then-unknown saxophonist John Coltrane. As one of the era's only complete start-to-finish full-length LPs, the 1957 set stands as a hard-bop benchmark — a summation of the styles that came before its creation, an immersion into the period's cutting-edge strains, and a hint of the rivoluse modalism that would follow.
Historically, few jazz records claim the significance boasted by ‘Round About Midnight. The album's creation — and the assembly of Davis' quintet, which also includes Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones — stems from the headliner's rousing rendition of the title-inspired track, "'Round Midnight," a Thelonious Monk standard, at the 1955 Newport Jazz Festival. Stunning the audience with an interpretation that witnessed him personalize the composition with a brooding tone made possible via employment of his soon-to-be-trademark Harmon mute, Davis redefined perspective and possibility, taking ownership of the ballad as his own, and further improving upon its reach in the studio.
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