The radio crackles; the announcer praises the human spirit with the pomposity of a cultural attaché. But already the drummer rumbles in the background, and the trumpet cries out. The critic Maurice Cullaz takes the microphone, and with the terse enthusiasm of a sports commentator, introduces “the most modern form of jazz, the bebop style.”
We are hearing, live from Salle Pleyel, May 8, 1949, the Festival of Jazz in Paris, where Miles Davis landed the night before with Tadd Dameron. Four years earlier, someone had said that he had no technique—in spite of the fact that Miles had started out with Charlie Parker, and then learned the acrobatics of bop from the pianist’s compositions, and received the full backing of the genre’s master drummer Kenny Clarke. Miles had just founded a revolutionary nonet in New York, and he was elated after the welcome he had received in Paris. The return to American reality would, alas, be something else, and Miles would go through a long purgatory before recovering the critical acclaim he had received in Paris. Henri Renaud, who was then head of the jazz department at CBS France, released this recording for the first time in 1977.

Original issue: Columbia LP JC 34804 in November 1977
Producers: Bruce Lundvall, Henri Renaud
Engineer: Unknown
May 8, 1949 (a)
Miles Davis (tpt); James Moody (ts); Tadd Dameron (p); Barney Spieler (b); Kenny Clarke (d)
May 9, 1949 (b)
Same personnel as May 8, 1949
May 8, 9, 12, 14 or 15 (c)
Same personnel as above.
Recorded live at the Paris Festival International de Jazz, Paris, France

  1. Rifftide [a]
  2. Good Bait [a]
  3. Don’t Blame Me [a]
  4. Lady Bird [a]
  5. Wahoo [b]
  6. Allen’s Alley [b]
  7. Embraceable You [b]
  8. Ornithology [b]
  9. All The Things You Are [b]
  10. Lover Man* [c]
  11. The Squirrel* [c]

* Previously unissued – not on original LP