Cut in September, 1956, this is one of the outstanding discs by trumpeter Miles Davis 'great quintet with tenor saxman John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones. Individually and collectively, this all-star line-up had a powerful impact on the post-bop movement.
Davis, noted for his lyricism, plays an especially lovely muted solo on "My Funny Valentine," sometimes harking back to beautiful paraphrases of the theme. Coltrane had just emerged as one of the most original stylists in all of jazz, playing fresh, unusual intervals and improvising complex, multi-note passages famously dubbed "sheets of sound." It's not clear to what extent Davis was responsible for Garland's excellence — rumors were strong at the time that Miles wanted him to employ elements from Ahmad Jamal's style — but, in any event, Garland's method of block chording and accenting twice during the bar with his left hand became very influential. The inventive and technically gifted Chambers and Jones made up one of the finest bass-drum teams in jazz history.
The program here, consisting of a blues, a ballad and some uptempo numbers, provides an ideal showcase for Davis and his sidemen, a very good introduction to their peerless, timeless work.