CD review

Miles Davis and John Coltrane share some ‘bootleg’ history

March 21. 2018 1:12PM
COMING OUT FRIDAY: A handful of stellar concerts from back in the day re-emerge in “Miles Davis & John Coltrane: The Final Tour, The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6.” 

Miles Davis & John Coltrane “The Final Tour — The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6” (Columbia/Legacy)

The first entry in Columbia’s massive Miles Davis box set series in 2000 collected the complete studio recordings of the trumpeter’s work with tenor saxophonist John Coltrane from 1955 to 1959. Now the Miles Davis “bootleg” series offers a four-CD set showcasing their chemistry on stage.

“The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6” presents five shows recorded during Coltrane’s last tour with the quintet as a sideman.

Originally broadcast on European radio, the set features two shows from Paris’s L’Olympia Theater; two shows from Stockholm’s Konserthuset; and one from Copenhagen’s Tivolis Koncertsal, all performed within days of each other in 1960.

The quintet, rounded out by Wynton Kelly (piano), Paul Chambers (bass) and Jimmy Cobb (drums), had been performing together since “Kind Of Blue,” the 1959 album that would become the best-selling jazz album of all time.

“So What,” the now-iconic Davis original that kicks off that disc, is represented on this collection four times, including one nearly 16-minute performance. The band plays it with more swing than on the studio version, with a faster tempo.

Davis and Coltrane trade solos like the two heavyweights they were, with Davis’ melodic improvisations segueing to Coltrane’s blazing fury of notes, foreshadowing the direction he would explore as a band leader.

“All Blues,” another Davis original from “Some Kind of Blue,” is featured in two versions. Other tunes were staples of Davis’s sets at the time, including “‘Round Midnight,” “Bye Bye Blackbird” and “On Green Dolphin Street.”

The collection, set for release Friday, also will be available as a single vinyl LP, “The Final Tour: Copenhagen, March 24, 1960” and as a two-LP set available exclusively through the subscription service.


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