Miles Davis’ All Stars – Walkin’ (1957/2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Miles Davis’ All Stars – Walkin’ (1957/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 37:53 minutes | 787 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Booklet, Front Cover | © Prestige Records

Walkin’, now considered one of the earliest essential albums in the Miles Davis canon, comprises two classic 1954 sessions: one with a quintet; the other a sextet. The influential sextet session, featuring trombonist J.J. Johnson and Lucky Thompson on sax, took advantage of long-playing record technology with two extended jams that announced both the return of modern jazz musicians to a focus on the blues and the coming of the funky hard bop era. The quintet date, with underground legend Davey Schildkraut on alto sax, provides the first inkling of the trumpeter’s haunting muted style and introduces his classic composition Solar.

The undeniable strength and conviction present in Miles Davis’ performance on Walkin’, underscores the urgency and passion with which he would rightfully reclaim his status as a primary architect of bop. Davis is supported by his all-stars, consisting of his primary rhythm unit: Horace Silver (piano), Percy Heath (bass), and Kenny Clarke (drums). The sextet featured on the title track, as well as “Blue ‘n’ Boogie,” adds the talents of J.J. Johnson (trombone) and Lucky Thompson (tenor sax). Davis’ quintet includes the primary trio and Dave Schildkraut (alto sax). Perhaps not an instantly recognizable name, Schildkraut nonetheless made some notable contributions to Stan Kenton’s Kenton Showcase EPs, concurrent with his work with Miles. Walkin’ commences with the extended title track, which follows a standard 12-bar blues theme. While the solos from Johnson and Thomson are unique, Miles retains a palpable sense of extrication from the music – as if the song was an extension of his solo instead of the other way around. The lethargic rhythms reiterate the subtle adornments of the horn section to the basic trio. In direct contrast to “Walkin'” is a full-tilt jumper, “Blue ‘n’ Boogie.” The improvisation yields some truly memorable solos and exchanges between Davis and Johnson – who can be heard clearly quoting from Thelonious Monk’s “Rhythm-A-Ning.” “Solar” maintains a healthy tempo while drawing the listener in to the delicate interplay where the solos often dictate the melody. Horace Silver’s piano solo is Ellington-esque in it’s subdued elegance. The final track, “Love Me or Leave Me,” gives the most solid indication of the direction Miles’ impending breakthrough would take. So swift and certain is each note of his solo, it reflects the accuracy of someone thinking several notes ahead of what he is playing. Walking is a thoroughly solid effort.

01 – Walkin’
02 – Blue ‘N’ Boogie
03 – Solar
04 – You Don’t Know What Love Is
05 – Love Me Or Leave Me

Produced by Bob Weinstock. Engineered by Rudy Van Gelder.
Recorded on April 29 (“1 & 2”) and on April 3, 1954 (“3-5”) at Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ.
Digitally Remastered.

Miles Davis – trumpet
J.J. Johnson – trombone on “1 & 2”
Lucky Thompson – tenor saxophone on “1 & 2”
David Schildkraut – alto saxophone on “3-5”
Horace Silver – piano
Percy Heath – bass
Kenny Clarke – drums