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Miles Davis recordings in Hollywood, 1946 with the Benny Carter orchestra

Let's take a look at some recordings that document Miles' presence in the Benny Carter Orchestra in Hollywood, in the early 1946.

The source of this recordings come from the AFRS (American Forces Radio Services) Jubilee programs which are well documented here.

I'm very grateful to Mr. Peter Losin for his kind help with the sources of these recordings.

The first of these recording is dated as Hollywood, April 29, 1946.

From this session we have several tunes, and in some of these we may recognize Miles:


Mr. Co-Ed

Here we have a 32 bars trumpet solo, over the AABA structure; trumpet improvises on the A sections, mainly in Bb major .

We find a musical phrase on which the soloist insists many times, expecially in last A section:

Now if we listen to Howard McGhee solo on Cheers (take 2), recorded on February 26, 1946 with Charlie Parker for Dial, we find that he plays last A section before out theme this way:

.

A more accurate listening reveals us the occurrence, in Cheers (take 2) of phrases like or , which are very similar to those heard on Mr. Co-Ed.

And even on Cheers, take 1, McGhee ends his solo with a similar phrase: .

It's very hard to assert that it's not the same trumpet player we've heard on Mr. Co-Ed.

Frim Fram Sauce

Let's listen first to this wonderful vocal chorus over the AABA 32 bars structure:

.

Then there is a trumpet solo over the first 16 bars of the structure (impro on bars 5-8 and 13-16) followed by vocal on the rest of the structure:

.

This is definitely not Miles Davis; we'll get back to this later.

Polishin' Brass (J.J. Johnson)

Here we are again in Bb major, and we hear a 16 bar trumpet solo .

This is definitely Miles Davis playing; let's compare this phrase from Polishing Brass solo with what he plays on Thriving On A Riff (take 3) from November 26, 1945 Savoy studio recording (the Ko-ko session).

Or this other phrase from Polishing Brass solo with what he plays on Thriving On A Riff (take 1) from the same November 26, 1945 Savoy recording session.

And if we listen carefully, we find still another fragment matching with Ko-ko session. Let's compare this fragment from Polishing Brass solo with what Miles plays on Thriving On A Riff (take 1) and on the intro of Ko-ko (take 2) from the same November 26, 1945 Savoy recording session; the same we hear on Moose The Mooche, take 3, recorded on March 28, 1946 for Dial with Charlie Parker.

And still we find similar even in Anthropology at the Finale Club, in Los Angeles, in March 1946 with Charlie Parker .


Cuttin' Time (B. Carter)

Another Benny Carter arrangement, in Eb major; here's the theme and here's trumpet solo .

This is clearly Miles: compare this fragment of Cuttin' Time solo with what Miles plays on Thriving On A Riff (take 2) from the November 26, 1945 Savoy recording session.

And here in Cuttin' Time he plays even very similar to what he plays on Just You, Just Me (still Eb major) on March 31, 1946, in Los Angeles .

Prelude To A Kiss

Here Benny Carter is the only soloist with alto and trumpet plays just an 8-bars theme bridge .

Trumpet player is definitely not Miles Davis; in my opinion it's again Howard McGhee; I've got just a weak rhytmic proof but I guess it'll be enough.

Let's listen to trumpet open statement in Prelude To A Kiss and consider how similar it is the musical gesture with the open statement of Howard McGhee on Lover Man recorded on July 29, 1946 with Charlie Parker for Dial.

I Cover The Waterfront

Let's listen to this long trumpet solo:

If we compare this fragment from trumpet solo with a fragment of Benny Carter solo on I Can't Get Started from Trianon Ballroom, same period we can suppose that it is the same Benny Carter playing trumpet, as he announce .

More, listening carefully to this fragment from I Cover The Waterfront we find out that even on Frim Fram Sauce the trumpet soloist was Benny Carter.

Back Bay Boogie

Mainly a Bb blues; here is trumpet solo (four chorus):

Trumpet solo ends with this phrase: which is very similar to this one heard in Mr. Co-Ed .

We can recognize Howard McGhee even comparing it with the way he opens his solo on Carvin' The Bird (take 2), recorded on February 26, 1946 with Charlie Parker for Dial: .





There are also some more tunes from different recordings, same period, always in Hollywood, at NBC Studios.

Just You, Just Me (R. Klages-J. Greer)

Here this song is played in C major and then it modulates to Eb major when Miles plays his 16 bars solo on A-A of the song structure .

During Just You, Just Me solo we hear again a fragment which is very similar with the one heard in Sweet Georgia Brown on March 31, 1946 .

More, Miles starts his solo playing this fragment that recalls the begin of second chorus on Just You, Just Me on March 31, 1946 .

At the end we hear a modulation from Eb major to Ab major .


Jump Call (B. Carter)

This tune is basically in Bb major. Here Miles plays a 32 bars solo; his solo starts with a quotation of Moose The Mooche, recorded on March 28, 1946 .

We can compare the first phrase of his solo with the first phrase of Moose The Mooche theme and with the first phrase of Miles solo on Moose The Mooche (take 3) .

This may suggest that this date is after March 28, 1946.

There is another thing that is worth noting in Jump Call solo: during this solo we hear a fragment matching with Miles phrases from the discussed Ko-ko session (November 26, 1945 Savoy studio recording); compare with this phrase from Thriving on a riff (take 1) and this from Ko-ko intro (take 2) and still this from Moose The Mooche, take 3, recorded on March 28, 1946 for Dial with Charlie Parker. .


List of referenced discography:

- Charlie Parker: The Complete Savoy & Dial Sessions

- Benny Carter Big Band: On The Air (Jazzup 327)

- Spotlite SPJ147 (Anthology) - Jazz Off The Air Vol 3

- Jazz Door JD 1206

- Benny Carter Big Band: The Radio Years 1939-1946 (Jazz Unlimited 201-2078)

- Charlie Parker: At The Finale Club & More

- Jazz Hour JH-1005


Complete transcriptions of referenced Miles Davis and Benny Carter trumpet solos are available on themusicofmiles



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