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This potpourri of Davis-led small combos is an indicator of the kind of important playing he was doing in the years leading up to his famous “comeback” in 1955. But if the majority of the critics were asleep on Miles, the musicians were not. These recordings went a long way toward entrenching him as an influence.
The pianists are John Lewis, Horace Silver, and, on his own composition “Smooch,” Charles Mingus. The drummers are the trinity of bebop: Max Roach, Art Blakey, and Kenny Clarke; the bassist throughout is Percy Heath; and on “I’ll Remember April,” the alto saxophonist is Davey Schildkraut, once mistaken for Charlie Parker by Mingus in a “Blindfold Test.”