Miles Davis: Deception
Miles Davis Nonet
Birth of the Cool (Capitol 7243 5 30117 2 7)
Gunther Schuller (French horn), Bill Barber (tuba), Al McKibbon (bass).
Composed by Miles Davis. Arranged by Gerry Mulligan.
Recorded: New York, March 9, 1950
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
Miles Davis, Lee Konitz, Art Blakey and
Bud Powell at Birdland, photo by Marcel Fleiss
As its title hints, "Deception" (1950) is based on George Shearing's "Conception" (1949). Adding a 6-bar pedal point, Miles ingeniously extends Shearing's 44-bar structure to an equally unusual 50 bars. Gerry Mulligan's arrangement features a sea-change solo by J.J. Johnson, who modernized jazz trombone by subduing the instrument's traditional bluster while meticulously expanding its technique. Davis, though, was the linchpin of this band, validating Gil Evans's observation that Miles was ideal for Birth of the Cool because, alone among bebop's star soloists, Miles could sublimate ego and coalesce with the ensemble. "Deception" is legendary legerdemain by magicians of modern jazz.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz