Jazz is a music of ensembles working toward a shared common goal through improvisatory avenues, but it is most special when focused on partnerships. Bird and Diz. Lady Day and Prez. Dolphy and Little. Ella and Satch. Near the top of any such pyramid belongs Miles Davis and John Coltrane, with this four-disc set bearing audio witness that there is immense artistic power in the sound of two partners splintering from each other.
Culled from radio broadcasts of five of the pair’s final shows together in the spring of 1960, this Bootleg installment chronicles an important tour for Davis. It represented his arrival as jazz royalty. He was displeased with his tenorman, Coltrane, who had had enough of the sideman gig. We should remember the timeline: Giant Steps had been cut nearly a year ago. Davis was playing an advanced form of hard bop, with a heavy modal emphasis and a sensibility that married Baroque chamber music with blues-rooted soul. Coltrane—well, Coltrane wished to do something else.