Apr 16, 2013
Fifty years ago today, Miles Davis began the recording sessions that would mark another major change – and triumph – in his career. Coming off a year plagued by ill health, aborted recording sessions and outright band mutiny, Davis faced the challenge of creating a working group of musicians that would enable him to work on a steady basis.
The April 16th sessions in Los Angeles found Davis breaking in a new bass player. Paul Chambers had left in 1962 with the rest of “The Rhythm Section”, and Davis’ new man behind the double bass was Ron Carter. Carter would hold that post through the start of Davis’ Electric period six years later. George Coleman on sax, session ace Victor Feldman on piano and Frank Butler on drums. Among the tracks recorded that day was the Tony Crombie-Benny Green composition “So Near, So Far”. That track didn’t make the album that was released in October 1963, but is available on re-issues and Davis compilations.
Davis recorded the next day as well in Los Angeles, but was displeased with the up-tempo numbers that were laid down. He booked time in New York for May, when he, Coleman and Carter would be joined by two players who would round out perhaps the greatest rhythm section in modern jazz history – Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams.