Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 28 (Kenny Wheeler) & Vol. 31 (Miles Davis)

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COMPOSERS: Kenny Wheeler; Miles Davis
LABELS: TCB
ALBUM TITLE: Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 28 (Kenny Wheeler) & Vol. 31 (Miles Davis)
WORKS: Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 28 (Kenny Wheeler) & Vol. 31 (Miles Davis)
PERFORMER: Kenny Wheeler (trumpet), Alan Skidmore (sax), Peter Frei (bass); Miles Davis (trumpet), John Coltrane (sax)
CATALOGUE NO: TCB02282; TCB02312

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Two further volumes in this series drawing on Swiss Radio’s archives. Davis’s Quintet was in the middle of a tour during which Coltrane had been booed. He had previously resigned, but Davis persuaded him to make the tour, and some performances from this period exhibit an uneasy tension. Davis was tending to play more sparsely, while Trane crammed in ever more. Individually everyone is on splendid form, but the band betrays signs of blowing apart. Perversely, this makes for a very exciting session.

Skidmore and Wheeler co-led a quintet in the late-1960s/early-’70s, but here play with the resident Jazz Live Trio and only appear together on two tracks. Wheeler’s contributions amply display his fertile melodic imagination and characteristic tone. I often saw him live and felt his recordings rarely did him justice: this one does. Skidmore, heavily-influenced by Coltrane, is also on top form. Fine work from bassist Frei, too.

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Barry Witherden