worth hearing

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[The Chasing the Thrill posts chronicle my adventures in trying to capture that ephemeral moment when song and audio fidelity come together into a sound that makes me forget everything else. Mostly it will be my notes on the vinyl that I listen to, but may include some non-vinyl music moments as well. If you’re interested in the set up I use to listen on, here it is.]


round about midnight front


Like Rumours, which I recently wrote about, there’s not much that need be said about ‘Round About Midnight. It is as exciting to hear today as it was when released in 1956. If you’re unfamiliar with the record, one way to approach it is to just focus on an individual instrument for an entire song, and then switch your focus to another instrument. In this way you not only hear the performance, but also the harmonic cohesiveness that resounds throughout this record.

This listening approach is made easier by the fact that unlike many quintet records released up to this point — in particular, those performing hard bop — there is a surprisingly little amount of simultaneous playing between Miles and Coltrane (“Ah-Leu-Cha” being the brilliant exception).

Because of this emphasis on individual (but unified) parts, and because those who are playing these parts are other-worldly talents, what results is a recording that not only rewards repeated listening (and I’m not talking about ten or twelve times; rather, a lifetime), but demands it.

Listening with your eyes closed to this recording on the very fine 2011 vinyl release by Not Now Music will teach you things about yourself. (I purchased it from the very excellent Ernie B, which, prior to my buying vinyl again, I would purchase a lot of dub CDs from – glad to see him rolling with the times).

This double vinyl gatefold set includes the original release on the first disc, and the six songs originally recorded with what was then dubbed “The New Miles Davis Quintet” on the second. Both discs sound utterly fantastic, but what really resonates for me is the bass presence. Certainly, Paul Chambers is a master, but I had never before heard the resonance of his tone quite as I do on this release. Similarly, Red Garland’s “block key” piano playing takes on a more nuanced dimension to my ears on this release.


round about midnight inner sleve

Nice packaging too. I’d never seen the large photo of Miles that graces the inside of the gatefold.

9.5 out of 10.



One of the things I like about traveling is that in those “non-productive” moments – such as when they force you to put your laptop/iPhone away while the plane is taking off/landing – I end up just letting my mind roam over the various reading materials I stockpile for such moments.

I always enjoy coming home and either going through my Moleskine to see what notes I’ve jotted down, or, more recently, syncing my iPhone with Evernote list with my lap top.

Here’s what I came back with this time:

Movie to see:
Withnail and I

Book to Read:
A Most Wanted Man by John le Carré

Music to Buy
Os Mutantes. A record I’ve had and seem to have lost, and now want to hear again.

S.F. Sorrow by The Pretty Things. Crucial 60s psychedelia.

The Kink Kronikles. Early Kinks comp.

I underlined this quote from the Marquess of Queensberry Rules on boxing:

Don’t do away with combat, but create rules so that It can be waged in a reasonable fashion.

I also read about this great bartending idea of rinsing your glass with a complimentary booze prior to pouring the drink. So, for instance, if youwhen I make a margarita tonight, I will rinse my glass with Mezcal prior to pouring. You could apply the same logic to a manhattan, rinsing with a good single malt.

As always, I found tons of restaurants to visit in my travels, and I shall dutifully report upon them post haste. Watch this space.

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