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The Miles Davis Quintet featuring John Coltrane: All Of You: The Last Tour 1960

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John Coltrane had been an on-and-off member of Miles Davis’ First Great Quintet for five years when the group-filled out at this juncture by pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb-embarked on a European tour in early spring of 1960. Listening to these four CDs, captured during that trek, it’s often difficult to fathom that Trane, who would leave Miles’ organization following these dates, had not yet achieved the legendary status we now associate with him. His playing here, just a year after the recording of Kind of Blue, is bold and instantly recognizable. It also accurately reflects the jazz lore behind these dates: that Trane was spiritually beyond Miles’ music at this point, and created a stir by bringing to his solos the intensity and dissonance with which he’d change jazz in the ’60s.

But he still wasn’t the leader of this band. That much is established during the two extended takes of “So What” that appear on the first disc, recorded at different Stockholm sets on March 21, 1960. Particularly during the second run-through, Coltrane often seems stymied during his solo, repeating himself as if he’s onstage with his quartet at the Vanguard the following year, as if he knows where he wants to go but realizes that this setup isn’t the vehicle that’s going to deliver him to that place.

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