Down Beat4.5 Stars
- Excellent Plus - "...an important record..."
Personnel: Miles Davis (trumpet); Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker (tenor saxophone); Tommy Flanagan, Walter Bishop (piano); Paul Chambers, Percy Heath (bass); Art Taylor, Philly Joe Jones (drums).
Recorded in New York on January 30, 1953 and March 16, 1956. Originally released on Prestige (7044).
Personnel: Miles Davis (trumpet).
Additional personnel: Jackie McLean (alto saxophone); Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker (tenor saxophone); Britt Woodman (trombone); Walter Bishop, Sr., Tommy Flanagan (piano); Teddy Charles (vibraphone); Paul Chambers, Percy Heath, Tommy Potter, Charles Mingus (bass guitar); Elvin Jones, Philly Joe Jones, Art Blakey, Art Taylor (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Joe Tarantino.
One of Miles Davis' most sympathetic collaborators was tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, who shared his love for space, and his genius for melodic architecture. Rollins was only a few years Davis's junior when they first met, but Miles, by virtue of his extended stint with the Charlie Parker Quintet, was already viewed as an established stylist and leader.
This January 30, 1953, recording date introduces the fiery drummer Philly Joe Jones and teams Rollins with his idol Charlie Parker, who in a few choruses seems to presage the entire history of Sonny Rollins. Davis's "Compulsion" is a shifting, restless line, and after a leaping Davis solo, Parker charges in with a thick-toned line followed by a robust Rollins. Bird and Rollins double the melodic line on two takes of "The Serpent's Tooth," the brisker second take being the more polished. Miles begins somewhat hesitantly on "Round Midnight," but his classic core arrangement (with Dizzy's famous ending) is already in place, as Bird plays his best solo of the session.
COLLECTORS' ITEMS concludes with Miles and Sonny's final studio session together. Pianist Tommy Flanagan adds his special brand of harmonic intuition and swing, while Paul Chambers and Art Taylor round out a tightly coiled, elegant rhythm section. A muted Davis seems particularly inspired by the melody to Dave Brubeck's ballad "In Your Own Sweet Way," and Rollins doubles up with masterly restraint. "No Line" is an equestrian event--light, fast, and swinging--while the slow riff tune "Vierd Blues" features a particularly soulful Davis on open horn, egged on by Chambers's subtle counterpoint; Rollins lays way back behind the beat, with lazy, billowing melodic fragments, only to swoop back through with bold harmonic flourishes.