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Jazz Feature for Jan.7 2008:Miles Davis at Monterey 1963.
As this is the first show of 2008 I would like on behalf of myself and 'The Jazz Show' to wish everyone a very happy, adventurous and exciting New Year.
Tonight's Feature is the music of Miles Davis. Mr. Davis I'm sure needs no introduction or even biographical information as he is well known to anyone with even the remotest interest in this music. This is the Miles Davis Quintet at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1963. Four fifths of the band was in place for the 'Second Great Quintet' led by this charismatic, enigmatic and always creative trumpeter. Miles is heard with George Coleman on tenor saxophone, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter, bass and young Tony (then called Anthony) Williams behind the drums. Vancouver, in early 1963, heard the genesis of this band for two nights at Howie Bateman's 'Inquisition Coffee House' on Seymour Street, where the Telus building is now.
Miles, at the end of 1962 was bored with his band (Hank Mobley, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb). He was quoted (anonymously....as "a well known trumpeter/bandleader") as saying "I've got the best cats and the best band in the world but shit, nothin's happening and I'm gonna quit." Of course Miles didn't quit but fired Chambers and Kelly(they had been talking loudly about forming a group) and Mobley, who had again become unreliable due to drugs. Cobb stayed on and Davis hired Ron Carter who had become a first call bassist in New York and then recruited three guys from Memphis......altoist Frank Strozier (one of the most shamefully underrated players on that horn), George Coleman on tenor and Harold Mabern on piano. They played some dates in L.A. at 'The Renaissance' and at San Francisco's 'Blackhawk' then up the coast and for two nights played in Vancouver. What a band!!!! The little coffee house was overflowing with the Jazz community and the music was 'out of sight'. No recordings of this band exist, sad to say.....so far! I was there for both nights and on the second night scored a seat in front alongside Al Neil and some other well known Jazzers. After the evening was over, Neil and myself and some others headed for 'Rubin's' a great late night deli on Granville(1000 block) and who should also be there....Jimmy Cobb and Ron Carter.....we all sat around and talked till they booted us out. Al Neil, bless his soul, said something quite prophetic to me. He said, "Gavin, Miles is going to keep the tenor player(Coleman) and fire the alto player(Strozier) and the piano player(Mabern) and keep the bass player(Carter) and maybe the drummer(Cobb) you'll see man." The rest is history and Al was right except he didn't know about Tony Williams.....nobody did at that time.
Miles did all that and put together the beginnings of his "Second Great Quintet". Coleman soared in this company and Hancock, Carter and the teenaged Tony Williams recharged Miles' batteries. The repertoir didn't change but the interpretations of that repertoir certainly did and that is what we will hear tonight on the Jazz Feature. The next step (after the short lived tenure by Sam Rivers) was Wayne Shorter who not only brought his distinctive and authoritative tenor sound to the band but his composing abilities but that is another story. Tonight Miles smokes and so does the band, fresh from a successful European tour and delivering their sound to some new ears on the West Coast.
This set, with very inferior sound has been bootlegged for years by collectors but the original tapes have been found and are being released properly by the Concord Music Group. A whole batch of Monterey concerts have been issued from various years(The Monk and the Dizzy issues are also great) and will continue in celebration of that festival's 50th anniversary.
Tonight's show will have some rare and previously unissued music by the Max Roach-Clifford Brown Band with Sonny Rollins. A tribute to our huge loss......Oscar Peterson..... where I'll play a few favourites of mine by O.P. Two orchestras will also be on the bill: The Maria Schneider Orchestra's centerpiece 'Cerulian Skies' and 'Rich's Piece'(featuring tenor saxophonist Rich Perry) from her finest CD, "Skyblue" and in contrast some provocative music by pianist/composer Carla Bley and her band. Join me on Monday at 9pm.
Gavin Walker's The Jazz Show is heard Mondays 9PM to midnight on CITR 101.9 FM and online.
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