By 1954, Davis had kicked his drug addictions and completed the development of his hard bop sound. “Four” and “Solar” are both classics of this type of jazz. “Walkin’” was a thirteen minute extravaganza of sound and notes, which would look ahead to future experimentation. The 11 minute “Bags’ Groove” was a Milt Jackson composition and Davis and Thelonious Monk contribute wonderful solos.
Disc two picks up during 1955, and by this time Davis had developed his signature trumpet sound, which he would retain for the rest of his career. He had an arrangement with the Prestige and Columbia labels that would enable him to record for both, but the Columbia material would not be released until his contract with Prestige was fulfilled.
He would begin to interpret the Great American Songbook in ways the writers of the songs could not have originally imagined. “Surrey With The Fringe On Top,” “It Never Entered My Mind,” “If I Were A Bell,” “I Could Write A Book,” and “My Funny Valentine” all proved to be vehicles for him to not only interpret, but help change the course of music itself.
The Definitive Series has always featured a pristine sound and this release is no exception. An informative booklet with a nice biography of this period of his career, plus comments about the music, is also included.
The Definitive Miles Davis on Prestige is a nice overview of an important time in the career of Miles Davis. The music remains essential for any fan of Davis or American jazz.