Anthony Braxton and his Great Quartet playing 'No 159' from the 1991 set recorded at the Willisau Festival. Swirling, densely scampering brilliance held together with a repeated phrase that pops up like an annoying child repeatedly sticking their tongue out at you over and over again. (My dear wildboy grandson springs to mind...).
Phineas Newborn recorded the old bop/Afro-Cuban warhorse 'Manteca' out in Los Angeles, 1961, with one of the top rhythm duos of the day – Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones, who had come together in the first great Miles Davis Quintet during the years 1955-8. Newborn never attained the critical heights and was dogged with illness, both mental and physical. On form, though, a scintillating player:
'In his prime, he was one of the three greatest jazz pianists of all time, right up there with Bud Powell and Art Tatum...' (Leonard Feather, quoted from here...).
Miles in 1965 with his Second Great Quintet, bristling with the youthful energies he had surrounded himself with in another gesture of artistic renewal. Taken from the live sets taped at the Plugged Nickel, this is 'Round Midnight,' Monk's famous dark blue reverie which Davis recorded many times. Thoughtful trumpet leads in with a long pause before a sudden trill then into the main theme, Miles bending and squeezing notes, wry smears, sudden flurries. Changing gear as Shorter enters, the tempo busier now. An elliptical solo, finding almost as much space as the leader. Some nice interplay between piano and tenor. Herbie Hancock next, equally sparse to match the mood. Miles returns. More 'vocalised' horn - this is not about bop speed but something different, colour and a cunning use of silence...
Anthony Braxton (as) Marilyn Crispell (p) Mark Dresser (b) Gerry Hemingway (d)
Phineas Newborn Jr
Phineas Newborn Jr (p) Paul Chambers (b) Philly Joe Jones (d)
Miles Davis (tp) Wayne Shorter (ts) Herbie Hancock (p) Ron Carter (b) Tony Williams (d )