Miles Davis Quintet - Relaxin' With the Miles Davis Quintet (1958), 6/10

Relaxin' With the Miles Davis Quintet is a surprisingly energizing effort from the all-star quintet’s legendary sessions. The songs themselves are essentially the epitome of sleek, controlled hard bop where everything is very much in pocket and standard. This is where Miles and Chambers excel across their catalogues and certainly here, however, because they interject so much controlled feeling and distinction in such refined performances. Coltrane is, as he was largely at this time, not the impactful force that he would later become. There are so many small but surprisingly poignant moments of suggestive improvisation that they become impossible to ignore and culminate in a remarkable jazz record. Although it is not my favorite from the sessions, it is up there and holds its own as an excellent album, especially considering its historical place in Miles’ discography. This is certainly an enjoyable listening experience that should not be overlooked by fans of fifties jazz, nor by anyone looking for a holistic experience of the progression of the genre. Tracks like the opener or “Oleo” are practically essential listening and deserve rotation. When things truly transition into Relaxin’ territory, the band flows effortlessly into its new mode and displays a grace that elevate the experience to new heights just before its poised close, all consistently accented with small moments of joyful and tasteful indulgence.