Miles Davis - Vol. 2
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Miles Davis had an unparalleled track record for setting musical styles, often defining what jazz would sound like for years to come. Along with his sheer inventiveness, he also had special talents for synthesis and for putting together remarkable bands. It's all apparent in this 1953 sextet session, with Davis foreshadowing hard bop with a mix of complex charts, forceful sidemen, and an intensely pointed focus all his own. More remarkable still, he managed to do it without writing any of the music himself. J.J. Johnson brought two tunes to the session, as well as his consummate trombone playing: the up-tempo "Kelo" and "Enigma," a gorgeous ballad in the style of Tadd Dameron, while tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath brought his "C.T.A.," which was en route to becoming a jazz standard. Each piece here is a model of compressed energy, a taut construction less than four minutes in length and usually stretched between Davis's pensive trumpet and Art Blakey's exploding percussion. Bud Powell's "Tempus Fugit" is a masterpiece of rhythmic tension, its melodic line seeming to drag against the seething undercurrent. "I Waited for You," with just Davis and the rhythm section, demonstrates Davis's ability to create complex, elusive moods on a standard. The remastering by Rudy Van Gelder breathes new life into this significant music, highlighting the subtle voicings of "Enigma" while restoring the luster to Davis's trumpet and the thunder to Blakey's drums.