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Miles Davis’ first classic quintet was formed in 1955 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest combos in jazz history. Relaxin’ was the second in a series of four albums featuring the group recorded between May and October of 1956. It contains Miles’ first version of “If I Were a Bell” from the play Guys and Dolls, a tune he would include in his concert repertoire until 1965. “Hearing the many variations that he comes up with throughout the song”, wrote Lindsay Planer, “conveys how intrigued Davis must have been by the tune, as it stayed in his performance repertoire for decades. Tracks such as ‘You’re My Everything’ and ‘Oleo’ highlight the synchronic nature of Davis and Coltrane as they carry each other’s melodies while trading off solos. The steady syncopation of Philly Joe Jones keeps the rhythms tight and the delicate interplay all the more conspicuous.” Two tunes from the first Prestige LP by the quintet have been added as a bonus.
Hackensack, New Jersey, May 11, 1956 (B2 & B3) & October 26, 1956 (A1-A3, B1).