Miles Davis: Seven Steps to Heaven


Seven Steps to Heaven


Miles Davis (trumpet)


Seven Steps to Heaven (Columbia / Legacy 93592)

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Miles Davis (trumpet), George Coleman (tenor sax), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), Tony Williams (drums).

Composed by Victor Feldman and Miles Davis


Recorded: New York, May 14, 1963


Rating: 99/100 (learn more)

Miles Davis, artwork by Michael Symonds

When Miles Davis added Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams to his band in 1963, they were far from household names, and not even widely known in the jazz world. But even on this debut recording, you can tell that Miles had found another dynamite rhythm section, one destined to influence the later evolution of jazz combo playing. Hancock plays with absolute authority from the intro to the final coda. And Carter moves this piece through the paces like a jockey heading for the finish line at Churchill Downs. And could it possibly be true that drummer Tony Williams was only seventeen years old when he made this recording? He might have been too young to register for the draft (not a bad thing in '63), but his drum breaks sound like they could lead a regiment of hipsters into hard-bop hand-to-hand combat. Where does Miles find 'em? Can't say. But where does he lead 'em? Easy, right up the seven steps to jazz heaven.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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