Review Summary: [Verb]in' Series: Part 1 of 4
Series, a four-album series, was recorded in just two sessions with Miles’ first great quintet. The albums are known to characterize the early hard bop sound, a sound that took bop leanings and applied more of a modern edge to them. On such albums, Miles and company got the opportunity to exercise technical aptitude and learn the intricacies of typical jazz. This was essential to Miles’ modal explorations later on, as such explorations were built atop a rock-solid hard bop base.
was the first album released in this series and as good a start as any. The album has the main components of a jazz record performed in formidable fashion. Excellent, blazing solos are continuously put forth on ”Airegin”
, and a romantic aura is exuded from ”My Funny Valentine”
, for example. The quintet spices things up with the closer, a dual piece that drastically changes dynamics and mood halfway through the song. The piece is perhaps the most interesting on the album, a notable track in its own right. Perhaps the only letdown the album contains is the ballad ”Blues by Five”
, which drags on a bit, failing to justify its near 10-minute run time.
Even with the slight slip-up, ”Cookin’”
is an incredibly solid hard bop outing, featuring memorable passages that do justice to the Miles Davis name. It is rather accessible as well and features something every listener is bound to enjoy. Furthermore, it’s hard not to be amused by the smell of what Miles was cooking, only revealed later in his career, and boy was it spicy.