George Russell, the godfather of modal jazz, presented Bill Evans to Miles Davis when he was looking for a new pianist. The newcomer introduced the trumpeter to the classical music that had been inspired by early 20th century modal theory. At the same time, Miles replaced Philly Joe Jones with Jimmy Cobb. While the latter perpetuated the
rhythmic strength of his predecessor, what Miles appreciated about Bill Evans was the delicacy of his playing, unique in jazz, and the way he suggested the tempo. When Miles took his new sextet into the studio, he chose a repertoire of standards mainly comprised of muted tones, ballads and medium tempos and, at least in the introductions, the softness of brushes. Only “On Green Dolphin Street,” “Fran-Dance” (in tribute to Miles’ future wife, the dancer Frances Taylor) and “Stella By Starlight” were released at the time, on Jazz Track, along with the music for Lift To The Scaffold. In 1974, under the title 1958 Miles they were combined with “Love For Sale,” which revealed a much less introverted Bill Evans.
Original issue: CBS/Sony LP (J) 20AP 1401 in Japan in 1974.
Tracks 1-3 originally issued on Jazz Track (CL 1268) on October 19, 1959
Producer: Cal Lampley
Engineer: Harold Chapman
May 26, 1958
Miles Davis (tpt); Cannonball Adderley (as); John Coltrane (ts); Bill Evans (p); Paul Chambers (b); Jimmy Cobb (d)
Columbia 30th Street Studio, NYC
Note: Over the years this title has always included a version of Jackie McLean’s “Little Melonae,” which was strangely enough recorded in 1955, not 1958 (and to make matters even more confusing there is another very obscure version of “Little Melonae” that was recorded in 1958, but not issued until 2000 in the 6-CD box set Miles Davis & John Coltrane: The Complete Columbia Recordings 1955-1961 (Columbia/Legacy 65833). Since the 1955 “Little Melonae” appears as a bonus track on CD-02 ‘Round About Midnight we have omitted it from this CD. At the same time we have added the alternate take of “Fran-Dance” from the May 26, 1958 session.
- On Green Dolphin Street
- Stella By Starlight
- Love For Sale
- Fran-Dance* (Alternate Take)
* Not on original LP