Miles Davis - Steamin' With The Miles Davis Quintet

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Steamin' With The Miles Davis Quintet was the last of Miles Davis’ Prestige albums. The records attests to the enduring power of the trumpeter’s first great quintet, comprised of tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist William “Red” Garland, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones.

The group had been setting the New York jazz scene alight with their performances at the Café Bohemia – so much so that Columbia Records wanted to sign the trumpeter. But before that could happen, Miles had to meet his contractual obligations to Prestige, which resulted in two final sessions for the label, held on May 11 and October 26, 1956. They would yield four classic albums for Bob Weinstock’s indie label, released over five years: Cookin’Relaxin’ , Workin’, and Steamin’.

Steamin’ begins with a ten-minute take on “Surrey With The Fringe On Top,” written by the redoubtable songwriting duo Rodgers & Hammerstein for their 1943 musical, Oklahoma! After the album’s light-hearted opener, “Salt Peanuts” is much more vigorous. The song is indelibly associated with its co-writer, the bebop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, who was a mentor to the young Miles Davis. Following the musical fireworks of “Salt Peanuts,” Steamin’’s mood takes a soft, downward turn with the slow ballad “Something I Dreamed Last Night,” on which Miles plays his trumpet with a mute. "Well, You Needn’t” is the Miles Davis Quintet’s high-octane interpretation of a classic Thelonious Monk tune dating from 1947. A sequence of piano chords introduce the changes to the memorable Victor Young-penned song “When I Fall In Love,” which is most associated with singer Nat King Cole.

Heavyweight vinyl produced by Original Jazz Classics for Prestige Records in 2015. Phil De Lancie at Fantasy Studios. Pressed at RTI. Original mono mix.

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