Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Miles Davis - Miles in Tokyo

Recorded in '64, Miles in Tokyo finds the iconic Miles Davis performing with his almost-second great quintet. Tenor saxophonist Sam Rivers, a more accomplished and daring experimentalist than his predecessor, George Coleman, joined the group after a fellow Bostonian, drummer Tony Williams, recommended him to Davis. There are times on this recording when one might understand why Davis and Rivers never meshed, and times when the partnership is quite wonderful, though brief.
On "If I Were a Bell," for example, after a lucid and melodic statement by Davis, Rivers purposely goes off-center on his solo. He does it with enough force that his motions are neither subtle nor nuanced; they're noticeable. Yet on the more forlorn and dark "My Funny Valentine," he shows greater care to stay within the song's melody, a treatment that resonates well with the rest of the group.
"So What" is taken at a faster pace than the version on the seminal Kind of Blue with, again, Davis and Rivers varying in their melodic approaches. By "Walkin'," though, it is Davis who alters his style, accepting some restless elements into his approach. He flies fast and furiously through his solo, provoking Williams into some manic beats. Williams, for his part, always sounded best in contexts that were more "out" than "in," and the inclusion of Rivers on this date certainly allowed him greater, rhythmic latitudes. Herbie Hancock, as well, finds some dissonant and interesting moments on "Walkin'." The finale, "All of You," finds Davis muted and lyrical, Rivers wild but compliant, and the rest of the group providing a wonderful groove.
Months after this concert in September of '64, the definitive version of the second great quintet, with Wayne Shorter on tenor, finally took form. The almost-second great quintet heard on Miles in Tokyo is an aberration, a rare gem, and  worth investigating. - by Germein Linares,

After George Coleman left the Miles Davis Quintet, tenor-saxophonist Sam Rivers took his place for a short period including a tour of Japan. Davis did not care for Rivers's avant-garde style (they failed to develop any chemistry) and soon replaced him, but this live LP (originally only issued in Japan) survived to document this brief association. The music (five lengthy versions of standards) is actually of high quality with both Davis and Rivers in fine form and the young rhythm section (pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams) pushing the trumpeter/leader to open up his style. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Miles Davis
Album: Miles in Tokyo
Year: 1964
Label: Sony BMG (2005)
Total time: 54:15

1.  Introduction By Teruo Isono 1:10 
2.  If I Were A Bell (Frank Loesser) 10:17
3.  My Funny Valentine (Lorenz Hart/Richard Rodgers) 12:50
4.  So What (Miles Davis) 8:05
5.  Walkin' (Richard Carpenter) 9:15
6.  All Of You (Cole Porter) 11:18
7.  Go-Go (Theme And Announcement) (Miles Davis) 1:20

Miles Davis (Trumpet)
Sam Rivers (Tenor Saxophone)
Herbie Hancock (Piano)
Ron Carter (Double Bass)
Tony Williams (Drums)


  1. Sounds interesting with the addition of Rivers. I have never heard this album thx !

  2. Thought you might be interested in this. NMR acquired from usenet some years ago. Recorded 2 days earlier, same personnel:

  3. Sam Rivers is such an interesting musician and a so good an a sideman. This record is also hard to find. Great gift... :-)

  4. This is a great find - doubly so with grumpy's contribution. Thanks so much to both of you. I love all the stuff from this "transitional" period before Miles settled on Wayne Shorter.

  5. Could you repost with new links? Thx

  6. No files downloadable. Could you repost links? Thx



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