Personnel: Miles Davis (trumpet); Rubberlegs Williams (vocals); Herbie Fields (tenor saxophone, clarinet); Charlie Parker (tenor saxophone); John Lewis, Teddy Brannon (piano); Leonard Gaskin, Nelson Boyd (bass); Ed Nicholson, Max Roach (drums).
Producer: Teddy Reig.
Reissue producer: Phil Schaap.
Recorded at WOR Studio, New York, New York on April 24, 1945 and Harry Smith Studio, New York, New York on August 14, 1947. Includes liner notes by Phil Schaap.
Digitally remastered by Jack Towers (The Cutting Room, New York, New York).
All tracks have been remastered using 24 bit digital transfers.
The son of a prosperous East St. Louis dentist, Miles Dewey Davis III emerged from the local music scene with a wealth of experience. He was primarily influenced by his teacher Elwood Buchanan and tonal masters such as Bobby Hackett, Harold "Shorty" Baker, Clark Terry and Freddie Webster. But it was the opportunity to play alongside Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie when Billy Eckstine's big band passed through St. Louis that inspired Miles to come to New York and attend Julliard in 1944.
The August 14, 1947 session was Miles' first as a leader and he already exhibits rudiments of timbre and phrasing that would distinguish his mature work. The presence of pianist John Lewis, Charlie Parker's use of tenor saxophone, and a more relaxed set of tempos distinguish this from his mentor's Savoy sesions. Lewis' "Milestones" (not to be confused with Miles' Columbia recording) is a relaxed, appealing line: Miles' muted horn and Bird's tenor blend for a burnished, mellow attack, and Miles employs both a more relaxed style of phrasing and a lighter attack than was popular among boppers. "Little Willie Leaps" (based on "All God's Children Got Rhythm") is a brisker bop vehicle, and Bird dances lightly while Miles demonstrates plenty of rhythmic verve. "Half Nelson" and "Sippin' At Bells" offer more syncopated melodies, inspiring Bird to transcend the weightier aspects of his tenor, while Miles finds space for more nuanced details amidst the Dizzying harmonies.