A really interesting and a unique, if not wholly exciting, item in the Miles catalog for a few reasons. First - it's from just before his triumphant return to public form at the Newport Festival in 1955 and shows him working at the peak of his 1950's style. Second - it's on the cusp of the formation of his First Quintet and has all the stylistic marks of that era of his development. Third - great song selection and pacing, starting with mid-tempo and ballad numbers then slowly speeding up over the course of the record and closing again with a nice ballad. Fourth, and most importantly - it's a quartet, just Miles and rhythm. There is nowhere else in his entire catalog where you get to hear him so nakedly and clearly without another horn drawing your interest away (especially since he had such a knack for picking really great players to work alongside him). But back to song selection a moment, where I'd like to point out his very interesting "A Night in Tunisia," in which Miles craftily dodges the part where every saxophone player has to take on "the famous alto break" if they're gonna tackle the song, and Miles just slyly makes it his own, taking a nod to Parker and then doing his own thing with it. As much as I enjoy the rest of the record, a good if not outstanding one in the catalog, this is the highlight. And it's that not-outstanding-ness of the rest of the record that keeps it at 4 stars. It's all well-done, it's all enjoyable, but only on "Tunisia" does it blindside you with surprises, even if I dig his Monk-answer "I Didn't" and other parts quite a bit. I could probably be persuaded to give it an extra half star for the overall quality and enjoyment level, but today because there’s only one really big standout, it's gonna be four.
The Musings of Miles is the first 12" LP by Miles Davis, issued by Prestige Records in 1955, following several LPs issued in the 10 inch format. The six tracks were all recorded at Rudy Van Gelder's home studio on June 7, 1955.
Part of the rhythm section of this quartet is the nucleus of the group that later became known as Miles' First Great Quintet. The First Great Quintet would record in the same year. "A Night in Tunisia" features Philly Joe Jones playing with special drum sticks which had bells riveted to the shaft.
Limited Edition Gatefold 180gm Coloured Vinyl.
A1 Will You Still Be Mine
A2 I See Your Face Before Me
A3 I Didn't
B1 A Gal In Calico
B2 A Night In Tunisia
B3 Green Haze
B4 How Deep Is The Ocean?
Recorded June 7, 1955.
A4 & B4 are bonus tracks, recorded in New York, May 9, 1952.