Cookin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet is an album recorded in 1956 by the Miles Davis Quintet in Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in Hackensack, New Jersey, and released in July 1957. As the musicians had to pay for the studio time (a result of a rather modest contract with Prestige), their recordings are practically live. Two sessions 11 May 1956 and 26 October in the same year resulted in four albums—this one, Relaxin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet, Steamin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet and Workin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet.
It was the first of the four LPs to be released. In response to the album title, Davis said, “After all, that’s what we did—came in and cooked”.
The album was originally released on CD in the U.S. in 1987, and it was remastered for CD most recently by Rudy Van Gelder again in 2006 for Prestige Records.
Reid Miles designed the album’s cover and Phil Hays provided the illustration.
Miles Davis Quintet (1955–59)
In the summer of 1955, after Davis performed at the Newport Jazz Festival, he was approached by Columbia Records executive George Avakian, who offered him a contract if he could form a regular band. Davis assembled his first regular quintet to meet a commitment at the Café Bohemia in July with Sonny Rollins on tenor saxophone, Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums. By the autumn, Rollins had left to deal with his heroin addiction, and later in the year joined the hard bop quintet led by Clifford Brown and Max Roach.
At the recommendation of drummer Jones, Davis replaced Rollins with John Coltrane, beginning a partnership that would last five years and finalizing the Quintet’s first line-up. Expanded to a sextet with the addition of Cannonball Adderley on alto saxophone in 1958, the First Great Quintet was one of the definitive hard bop groups along with the Brown-Roach Quintet and the Jazz Messengers, recording the Columbia albums Round About Midnight, Milestones, and the marathon sessions for Prestige Records resulting in four albums collected on The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions.
In mid-1958, Bill Evans replaced Garland on piano and Jimmy Cobb replaced Jones on drums, but Evans only lasted about six months, in turn replaced by Wynton Kelly as 1958 turned into 1959. This group backing Davis, Coltrane, and Adderley, with Evans returning for the recording sessions, recorded Kind of Blue, considered “one of the most important, influential and popular albums in jazz”. Adderley left the band in September 1959 to pursue his own career, returning the line-up to a quintet. Coltrane departed in the spring of 1960, and after interim replacements Jimmy Heath and Sonny Stitt, Davis plus Kelly, Chambers, and Cobb continued through 1961 and 1962 with Hank Mobley on tenor sax.
The two rhythm sections from the Davis Quintet also achieved fame on their own. Garland, Chambers, and Jones recorded as a unit on Art Pepper meets The Rhythm Section and Sonny Rollins’ Tenor Madness, while Kelly, Chambers, and Cobb toured and recorded as a trio under Kelly’s name, in addition to appearing on the albums Coltrane Jazz and the solo debut of Wayne Shorter, as well as backing Wes Montgomery on Full House and Smokin’ at the Half Note. The Kelly-Chambers-Cobb trio also backed Art Pepper on the album Gettin’ Together, which included trumpeter Conte Candoli.