Miles Davis: Live At The 1963 Monterrey Jazz Festival

The Songs:

  1. Waiting For Miles
  2. Autumn Leaves
  3. So What
  4. Stella By Starlight
  5. Walkin’
  6. The Theme

Personnel:

  • Miles Davis – trumpet
  • George Coleman – tenor saxophone
  • Herbie Hancock – piano
  • Ron Carter – bass
  • Tony Williams – drums

As previously documented in the post regarding the album Seven Steps To Heaven, Miles Davis went through a transitional phase after the departure of John Coltrane in search of new musicians that would form his Second Great Quintet. This live album, recorded at the 1963 Monterrey Jazz Festival, but not released until 2007, captures the group with almost all the pieces in place. The missing piece and last to join the quintet was Wayne Shorter, so the interim saxophone spot was capably manned  on this occasion by George Coleman, who also played on the Seven Steps album.

Miles backstage at the Monterrey Festival with Steve McQueen

The live performances of these standard staples from the Davis book crackle with energy, powered by the 17-year-old Tony Williams. Miles launches into Autumn Leaves as soon as he hits the bandstand. So What is played at a blistering tempo with great solos from Davis and Coleman. With Ron Carter anchoring the group, Hancock was free to explore new ground, both melodically and harmonically, foreshadowing what was to come when Shorter finally did join the band. This recording, released over 40 years after it was recorded, is an important document in the evolution of this great group. (Buy it here.)

Suggested Reading:

Gerald Early. Miles Davis And American Culture.

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