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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. Steamin’ was the fourth and last in a series of four albums featuring the group recorded between May and October of 1956. Although there are no original tunes on this LP, it gives ample proof of Miles’ and the group’s ability to transform any tune into their own. According to reviewer Lindsay Planer, “‘Surrey with the Fringe on Top’ is passed between the mates like an old joke. There are two well-placed nods to fellow bop pioneers Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie on a revision of their ‘Salt Peanuts’. Philly Joe Jones’ mimicking cymbal speak – which replicates Gillespie’s original vocals – is nothing short of genius.” Two tunes from the first Prestige LP by the quintet have been added as a bonus. “The Theme” would be recorded again in two shorter versions in 1956 for the LP Workin’.
Hackensack, New Jersey, May 11, 1956 & October 26, 1956 (B2 only).