Miles Davis In Europe (1963) Columbia

Miles-Europe-front--cover--1800-LJC

Selection: Quintet introduction:

Europe – a little island off the coast of America. Pity the poor MC At the Antibes Jazz Festival, tasked with introducing The Miles Davis Quintet. As regulars may know I’m something of a Francophile and in the LJC household  we have an affectionate term for the French when they grapple with the English language – we refer to them as ”   ‘ow you says “. (I’ve been called a “rosbif” before now so it’s payback time). For some reason the letter H causes problems to the francophone. The announcer does really well considering, ducking backwards and forwards between French and English, but he has nowhere else to go when he comes up against introducing the piano player,  ‘ow you say…

Zoot alors!

Selection: Milestones

Played at double the speed I am used to hearing, but it plunges you into the front row of the Pinedes, Juan les Pins, Antibes, which has a fantastic backdrop – the Mediterranean. Late July I imaging it still light in the evening, maybe the setting sun, 1963, a different time and place..

Artists

Miles Davis (trumpet) George Coleman (tenor saxophone) Herbie Hancock (piano) Ron Carter (bass) Tony Williams (drums)  recorded live at “Juan-les-Pins Jazz Festival”, Antibes, France, July 27, 1963

Music

The pre-Wayne Shorter Quintet, and a lot of the material of the latest recording at the time, Seven Steps to Heaven, featuring the same line up, only this time, live at Antibes, recorded for broadcast by French radio RTF.

Dizzy-Gillespie-at-AntibesMiles makes no concession to time and place, he performed everywhere and his music “speaks for itself”, or so we are told. So my favourite  tribute to Antibes comes some five years previously from Dizzy Gillespie from his album Dizzy on the Riviera:Now that’s what I call the French Riviera, and Gillespie’s liner notes gives you the context:

Dizzy-on-the-French-Riviera

About sums it up for me too, but I need the help of the LJC Time Machine to hit the right ambiance. Things are a little different today, Cap d’Antibes with its Russian oligarchs and their surgically enhanced girlfriends, Abramovich’s Navy parked in the IYCA,  it’s a different Riviera. But luckily, music is timeless.

To more serious matters, not Star Wars repeats,  but Stereo Wars.

The psychology of listening in mono and in stereo

LJC Thinks some moreLJC thinks:

It occurred to me that while the Stereo Wars generate masses of keyboard typing energy, the brain is smart at interpreting incoming signals, putting them back where they belong, as ingredients of  music.

Whilst stereo studio production is one of Columbia’s great strengths, live concert music has never struck me as stereophonic experience – the music just comes at you from the stage, all mixed together. You never think of it requiring instrument position on a stage because you can see the position of the player, and you can hear them. Stereo is more an artefact of the home listening environment where you can’t see the artists: logically they can’t all be standing in one central position, so a soundstage is a logical inference. However when you listen to a mono recording in a home listening environment  the brain tosses out logic, and “comprehends” that the music is compiled from different musicians, it cancels out the need for geo-location. There are some records where stereo placement creates an extra step in decoding the music, as musicians are in “the wrong place”

What prompted me to think about this was listening to a newly arrived stereo copy of Monk Solo on Columbia. The stereo was a delight, parsing the octaves of the keyboard left hand bass  to right hand treble, you are hearing what Monk will have heard seated at the piano, not a listener perspective but a performer one.  Not a mirror image, as  sitting facing listening to Monk, his left would be your right, and not a mono perspective. There seems an inner logic that emulates left-to-right, bass to treble. Or is that only me? Any thoughts, the floor is yours.

stereo-wars-poster-1200-LJC

Vinyl: Columbia CL 2183 Two-Eyes “Guaranteed High Fidelity” mono.

Miles-Europe-labels-1800-LJC

Miles-Europe-rear-cover--1800-LJC

Collectors Corner

If a record could see, it would see me smile. Guaranteed High Fidelity, Columbia. Columbia are devilishly good late night listening. I am a complete convert to Columbia original US pressings.

LJC-TWO-EYE

Out go the UK  Fontana and UK CBS as I acquire replacements. Six eye, two eye, no eye, its the walking eye for me.This one travelled all the way from Germany, for about the same price as just the postage from the US.

Because of the infernal business agreements Columbia signed with EMI to use the Columbia name in the UK, we Brits became hostage to Fontana and then saddled with CBS manufacture and distribution of Columbia recordings, which means Sixties Miles Davis and a good selection of Monk. Consequently there was no need to export US pressings, and as a result most copies in circulation are inevitably UK pressings. Sometimes that’s no bad thing. Esquires in place of Prestige and New Jazz, Interdisk in place of US Riverside, That’s a fair exchange, but not so Columbia. Original pressings are not optional, they are essential.

Of course, the story has no happy ending, as Columbia like everyone else, succumbed to the digital format, even on vinyl.

Postscript:

ljc-Santa-smokeHo Ho Ho. As I proof these final notes I see it is Christmas Eve, bah humbug nothing but Christmas Specials on television for the next few days: I do hate being “entertained”.  So season’s greeting to all and any of you who have persevered with the LJC blog, another year coming up, I have no idea where to go from here, but hopefully you might enjoy getting lost in the music, in good company. I’m game, if you are. Could be fun.

18 thoughts on “Miles Davis In Europe (1963) Columbia

  1. Hi team- relatively new collector but I go after the oldest first, and then the rare ones when I can. I just love the living history of these albums. It’s like being transported in a time to a whole different era of music and society. My favorite I picked up was a 6-eyes original MONO “Miles Ahead” by Miles Davis and the Gil Evans orchestra. Has a mint sailing cover on it- very beautiful.

    I too LOVE the mono sound. Maybe that makes me a mono snob- not sure- but can’t wait to reach even more posts in this blog and increase my knowledge!

    Also please join my own brand new blog where I document my sometimes insane adventures to find such records, including cross country trips to dark basements and filing through thousands of old records. 🙂 I didn’t start until my 30s, so I’m a late “record” bloomer. 🙂 Thanks everyone! And yes I realize my blog’s name is a faux pax by calling it “vinyl”…. must get that rectified ASAP.

  2. Merry Christmas, LJC! I am not familiar with this Miles record, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be someday. As I’ve touched on elsewhere in your site, I don’t particularly discriminate between Stereo and Mono as a whole. I just want whichever sounds better from that particular label and record. Luckily the Blue Note ones both sound so good I am content with whichever I find at an affordable price (especially from Plastylite!).

    I should note that my speaker setup is actually unique. I have 4 speakers with 2 on one side of the system and 2 on the other. What I did though is mix the channels. So on each side I have a left and right channel. This makes even the worst stereo separated mixes more tame. It subdues any ping-pong affect and just makes the music dance around in front of you as opposed to going side to side.

    While I agree with you on the Monk analogy of the stereo mix being what he heard as a player, I wouldn’t fully discount the audience aspect of hearing things in stereo. If one is in the back of the room the music will inevitably become a mass of sound. If very close up in the first few rows, one can certainly hear the trumpet start blaring to one side while the drums hold it down elsewhere. Regardless, I am fine with either as long as the “presence” is there on the record. I want to see the gold color shimmering on the brass as the players belt it out and the decay of each drum snap. Is that too much to ask?

  3. I’m late for Christmas but wanna tell you this story, somewhat related to this nice geographical digression.
    I’ve been offered a pair of rare records of the same French musician, Francois Tusques.
    On the rare Mouloudji label: Free Jazz and Le Nouveau Jazz, two early french Free records, in perfect conditions and with the original photo insert. In the second plays Barney Wilen, formerly with Davis. I knew only Free Jazz (same title as Coleman’s) and I found it interesting, an early interpretation in a free way, nothing exploding but nice to listen to. The second, more valued, has been disappointing. Knowing Wilen’s early works, I found his playing manneristic and out of tune: he was not a Free player in the way he could play beautifully but couldn’t play Free.
    So, two different rare records in beautiful conditions but not my highest love for this music.
    Do I get ’em?
    Price?
    550 and 700 €.
    A nice Christmas self-present for my collection.
    Did I get ’em?

    • Its only money Dott. I’ve tried playing money and it don’t sound no good. Not as good as records.

      Wilen travelled a lot of places before he returned to his true vocation of modern jazz – Timothy Leary, avant-rock, Africa/world, Free Jazz, I listened but I didn’t like.

  4. for conversation sake, André Francis , who delivered that mémorable introduction speech, was the most famous french jazz journaliste from the national radio broadcast that organized almost all jazz concerts And festivals in the 60/70s and considered as “the radio voice of jazz” here in France

  5. One minor correction, Andy: Europe is not a “little island off the coast of America”. In fact, it is a huge desert island off the coast of AFRICA, an appendage of Asia and a protruding rear end of Siberia, which borders on Libya to the south, Turkey to the Southeast, Lukashenkoland to the east, Nokialand to the northwest, ABBA peninsula and Santa Claus to the North and The Edge Of The World to the west. Once upon a time, giants of human history like Peter the Great, Frederick the Great, Alex the Great, Justinian the Great, Tolstoy, Beckett, Robespierre, Jung, St. Francis, Cezanne, Cervantes, Schopenhauer, Michaelangelo, Socrates, Savonarola, Luther, Cromwell, Harold Pinter, Django Reinhardt and Tubby Hayes used to roam this vast, now barren territory, but it has since fallen into state of despair and disrepair courtesy of one Frau Merkel and her lovely Wall Street freunds. Ja, ja!

    Pardon the digression, I couldn’t help it. I plea not guilty.

    • These are not approved thoughts here on Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain). We are a province of the superstate Oceania, not Eurasia – Continental Europe and Russia. Geography and History needs constantly to be rewritten, Bob, I have asked The Ministry of Love to pay you a visit, to expedite your re-education.

      • Having spoken to the very kind and gentle visitor from the Big Brotherly Ministry of Eternal and Undying Love, I hereby recant everything I ever said and do solemnly declare that the sun does, in fact, rotate around the earth. Or was it the spindle hole?

    • i guess we can add a few u.s banksters (mostly fromGoldman-sachs hall of fame) to that merry pack of euro villains, perfectly happy that the $ vs.€ rate is so fair to their trade…
      couldn’t help it

  6. Happy Christmas to all in London from Washington D.C. LJC I have both a mono 6 eyes and stereo copy of “e Milze Daviz” In Europe. I love mono, but not over stereo. I am on a quest to buy both mono & stereo copies of legacy Blue Note, Columbia, Prestige, Riverside etc, etc, recordings when they exist. A daunting task since mono on eBay is usually very expensive for the really sort after recordings, especially Blue Note.

    Anyway, what I perfect time to listen to a copy of Miles Davis in Europe before the turkey and ham fest this afternoon.

  7. Happy Christmas LJC, where ever you are, in stormy London or amongst the froggies. Happy hunting in season and bear in mind, it is always hunting season. Your game pride, as so generously shared with us, held in high esteem.

  8. happy xmas LJC! this one is an’ol’fave of mine and andre francis (one of the french jazzhead honchos ) is typically old school, as he pronounces herbie han-cook! and underlines tony williams’ presence with “he’s only seventeen”. however mine is the OG french copy bought (or stolen maybe) back in the early 80s that i always treasured. i used to looked down at it compared to the “real” second quartet (with shorter) but it’s definitely a keeper as live gigs go
    keep on groovin’
    phl

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