Monday, April 21, 2008

My Funny Valentine: 1956 and 1964

I am currently experimenting with ways to make some of the music I discuss available through this website. This will obviously make it easier for readers to sample the music and decide what discs they want to buy.

The following links includes two versions of the same song, My Funny Valentine. They should allow you to directly listen to the music via iTunes or some other music program.

Miles Davis Quintet/Cookin'/My Funny Valentine 1956

Miles Davis/My Funny Valentine/My Funny Valentine 1964

The first version is recorded in 1956, and it is found on Cookin', the disc recorded by the first great Miles Davis Quintet. Miles is on trumpet, John Coltrane on tenor sax, Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums.

The second version is recorded eight years later, at the Lincoln Center's Philharmonic Hall. It is included on My Funny Valentine: Miles Davis In Concert. The second quintet includes George Coleman on sax, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and Tony Williams on drums.

Both versions are magnificent, and the differences between them are good illustrations of the differences between the two quintets. I heard an interview with Herbie Hancock just the other day, and told this story on Miles. When Hancock found hims solos getting a little stale, Miles told him: don't play the butter notes. Hancock does his best Miles imitation on the quote. Hancock had no idea at first what Miles meant. Miles apparently gave most of instructions to the band in cryptic metaphors. But Hancock figured it out: the butter notes were the notes mostly clearly identified with a cord. Well, in the second version of MFV, there are a lot fewer butter notes, but the soul of the song shines out more clearly for that.

Give it a listen, and let me know what you think.


  1. Not a comment, but.. I was wondering if the interview you mentioned was on the 'making-of'documentary of Herbie's album where he collaborated with all those new artists like John Mayer/Aguilera/Trey Anastasio, etc.?

  2. Jwaggs: I don't really remember, sorry. I think, though, that it was the documentary that you mention.