Miles Davis: Summer Night


Summer Night


Miles Davis (trumpet)


Quiet Nights (Columbia 2106)

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Miles Davis (trumpet), Victor Feldman (piano), Ron Carter (bass), Frank Butler (drums).

Composed by Al Dubin


Recorded: Hollywood, April 17, 1963


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

This is a hidden gem in the Miles Davis discography, a dark and moody ballad performance that got lost in the shuffle -- inserted as an extra track to fill up some space on Quiet Nights, the least well known of the Miles Davis - Gil Evans LPs. But "Summer Night" deserves a prominent place on any list of Davis's most emotionally charged performances. Here Miles returns to the ethos of King Oliver and Bubber Miley, pioneers who showed back in the 1920s that the quality of sound is always more important than the quantity of notes. This is also my favorite Victor Feldman performance. He makes every note, every chord, every pause count for maximum effect. "I wanted [Feldman] to join the band," Davis later wrote in his autobiography, "but he was making a fortune playing studio work in LA. I came back to New York looking for a piano player. I found him in Herbie Hancock." So Davis heads off into the sunset with his great mid-1960s band, and Feldman mixes it up with Steely Dan, James Taylor and Joni Mitchell. But this moment when their paths intersected left us this classic performance.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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