Miles Davis: Deception




Miles Davis Nonet


Birth of the Cool (Capitol 7243 5 30117 2 7)

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Miles Davis (trumpet), Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax), J.J. Johnson (trombone), Lee Konitz (alto sax), John Lewis (piano), Max Roach (drums),

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

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