My Funny Valentine: In Concert (Live)
A quieter oddity in Davis' vast and often explosive recording catalog, this introspective live set of mostly ballads (which the band had no idea was being recorded) is filled with quiet miniatures and varied textures. Bassist Ron Carter, pianist Herbie Hancock and the then 19-year-old drummer Tony Williams, play with a stately moodiness, and Davis' tone, often with his trademark Harmon mute, has a sore, aggrieved edge that he said was due to JFK's assassination the previous autumn. The slower tempos and more sensitive spirit that infuse numbers here like the Rodgers & Hart-penned title cut or the oft-played jazz chestnut, "Stella By Starlight," open the way for Miles to show why he's such a towering player. It's hard not to marvel at the prismatic turns in his playing, aggressive one moment in the set's lone uptempo number "All Blues" and romantic, almost dreamy in Cole Porter's "All of You" the next. As a lyrical second, underrated Memphis tenor sax player George Coleman is convincing and full of brio, giving perhaps the performance of a lifetime. Often tagged as an exploration, this set's mood is clearly reflective, trying perhaps to make sense of the tumultuous times in which it was made.