Friday, August 24, 2012

Musical Quotes: The Serpent's Tooth

Miles Davis Sextet 1953 : The Serpent's Tooth (Take 1)

Miles Davis Sextet 1953 : The Serpent's Tooth (Take 2)


What’s jazz music without an occasional quotation? And during the bebop era, we hear a lot of them. Cut in 1953, “The Serpent’s Tooth” is especially fun and gives us a two-fer from the Miles Davis Sextet. At 1:21 into the song, trumpet-player Davis quotes “Heart and Soul.” Not too much later, at 3:04, tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins offers a direct challenge to Charlie Parker, with a quote from Irving Berlin's "Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)". It seems to be an amusing little commentary that the jazz musicians are having. A second take of the song is also included here for a comparison.

Recorded at New York City’s WOR Studios on January 30, 1953, the rest of the band included Charlie Parker (tenor sax), Walter Bishop Jr. (piano), Percy Heath (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums). Miles Davis passed away in 1991, but he left a long legacy of classic jazz that emphasized his lyrical, introspective, and intimate style.

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