MILES DAVIS — Cookin' With the Miles Davis Quintet (review)

MILES DAVIS — Cookin' With the Miles Davis Quintet album cover Album · 1957 · Hard Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
liontime
This is one of a tetralogy of albums Miles Davis recorded over the course of two days in 1956 to fulfill a contractual obligation with Prestige. Although this would appear to be a recipe for four lukewarm albums of tedious tune churning, these four records (Relaxin, Steamin, Workin and Cookin) are truly tremendous. These two sessions are early career highlights for both Red Garland and John Coltrane who truly shine on each of these records. Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones also provide an excellent rhythm section here.

Cookin' bridges the gap between cool and hard bop organically. The album opens with Garland's gentle intro to 'My Funny Valentine' and the quintet plays a beautiful and refreshing rendition of a played out classic. Blues by Five follows in a similar fashion; maintaining a gentle, intricate mood throughout the first side. On side two, Airegin offers a rare and exciting moment in Davis' career when he returns to his bebop roots and plays a fast and dense solo very much unlike his signature cool stylings. The playing is tremendous though, and a true testament to Davis' taste and technique. This solo will also foreshadow Davis' future experimentation in the following decades. The album closes with a long, meandering track much like side one. Cookin' is necessary in the collections of any Davis, Trane or Garland fans.
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