Collector’s Corner

Digging Into Early Miles


Recorded in 1951, Miles Davis' Dig features Sonny Rollins and provides early glimpses into the progress and promise the young trumpeter gained after his 1944 move to NYC, to study at Julliard. Dig curiously sounds like shots fired in between musical revolutions -- after be-bop but before rock 'n' roll -- jazz salvos newly reminted for Concord's Original Jazz Classics Remasters series.

Dig revealed several new Davis compositions. His title track portrays him and Rollins as young firebrands approaching the outskirts of their subsequent incendiary courses. "Denial" coupled Rollins' sax with the piano and bass lines to buttress their support behind Davis' nimble solo, which you might compare to a butterfly if a butterfly kicked like a mule -- blazing upper register chops and trading fours with powerhouse drummer Art Blakey, Davis sounds more like Dizzy Gillespie here than on most uptempo tunes.

In the 10 minutes of acoustic blue heaven that Davis simply titled "Bluing," his trumpet solo floats among the clouds while Rollins' tenor digs into its fertile earth. George Shearing's warhorse "Conception" proves the best of the rest, though you can hear Davis' facility for stealing your breath away with a ballad in "My Old Flame," which smolders in quiet burn.

You can also dig these tunes compiled on Davis and Rollins' The Classic Prestige Sessions 1951-1956. Davis also appeared on Sonny Rollins With The Modern Jazz Quartet (1953, OJC), serving as pianist to help the ensemble navigate Davis' tune "I Know."

in this playlist.