Elliott Fienberg

Elliott Fienberg

Quiet Nights – One of Miles’ Worst Recordings

As the TVs shows absolute chaos featuring Donald Trump holding up a bible, I feel like I need some sort of retreat and respite in the music of Miles Davis. Because his ability to play it cool was a revolution in itself.

I picked Quiet Nights which I would find out very quickly just a bad release overall. It sounds lifeless and phoned in. So I had to look it up and found out that Miles was potentially pressured to tap into the Bossa Nova trend that was growing at the time, in part thanks to the album Jazz Samba by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd that came out a year prior.

But here’s the rub. You can’t just praise an artist and not be able to randomly dive into their catalog and be willing to experience a dud. Besides the album doesn’t end all that bad with Summer Nights which goes into The Time of the Baracuda which is like three or four weird orchestral jazz pieces in one.

The setup for this is that Miles would alternate between small ensemble albums and big orchestral ones with the help of Gil Evans, which is what this one is.

The sessions for this recording went on and on, and they were only left with 20 minutes of useable material. So they filled it with other recordings. Miles was pissed. Me listening 65 years later basically for free on Spotify, not so much.

Released: December 16, 2020 on Columbia

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