"[Producer Rudy] Van Gelder was one of the first Americans, let alone enginee... more
"[Producer Rudy] Van Gelder was one of the first Americans, let alone engineers, to acquire the German Neumann U-47 condenser microphone when it became available in 1949. Van Gelder sought to bring a more intimate sound to small jazz groups. This required placing a microphone closer to the instrument in order to capture the subtleties that traditional recording techniques missed. When Van Gelder initially used the U-47 microphone, he found the sound was easily distorted and unusable. However, a friend of Van Gelder’s, Rein Narma, was able to reconfigure the circuitry of the U-47, making it ideal for close range recording. The result was a detailed, warm sound that many would imitate but few would master. The difference in sound is quite clear when comparing albums Davis recorded with and without Van Gelder.
"Half Nelson" from Davis’ “Miles Davis All Stars” was recorded in 1947 at Harry Smith Studios in New York City. Davis’ talent is undeniable, his vocabulary is progressive, his temperament is wholly his own but—he sounds far away. Davis’ voice exists in the mid range of the mix, and is overshadowed by the shimmer of Max Roach’s ride cymbal and the high end of John Lewis’ piano overtones.
The sound heard on "Solar" from Davis’ album “Walkin’,” recorded in 1955 with Van Gelder, is markedly different: his voice is at the front of the mix, his subtle inflections are captured perfectly. The once intangible details of his playing style are captured, thanks in no small part to a modified U-47 and of course, Van Gelder’s mastery."
Visible in this photo of Davis from the *Porgy and Bess* sessions. In [thi... more
Visible in this photo of Davis from the Porgy and Bess sessions.
In this article, LondonJazzCollecter states that the M49 was the only mic Davis used for himself on Kind of Blue:
The M49 was a favourite of recording studios in the 1950s and 60s and was the standard microphone used on smooth pop and soulful jazz recordings during the era. (...) Miles Davis was said to have exclusively used this microphone on his best-selling album: "Kind of Blue".
Featured in this November 22, 2013 article by proaudioeurope.com. > **SNAP... more
Featured in this November 22, 2013 article by proaudioeurope.com.
SNAP! studio recently purchased a stunning long bodied Telefunken badged Neumann U47 (VF14) to join our exceptional microphone collection.
We got this mic from an old friend, Niels Erik Lund, who started his engineering career as assistant to Quincy Jones and Bruce Swedien in LA before returning to Denmark and starting his own studio, the legendary Easy Sound. When Easy Sound closed, Niels Erik sold five of his six U47’s and kept the best, the mic he’d used on award winning productions of Miles Davis amongst others.
When the time came to finally part with this beautiful piece of history, Niels Erik wanted to be sure it would go to a good home and continue to be used for recording great talent.
We’re delighted and humbled to have been in the right place at the right time,Thanks Niels Erik (and Miles)
The photo shows Miles Davis recording with the actual microphone.
A picture of the mic and the photo of Davis can be seen here.
Producer Steve Hoffman has stated his use of the LA-2A for Davis. > My Tel... more
Producer Steve Hoffman has stated his use of the LA-2A for Davis.
My Teletronix LA-2A, ganged for stereo or mono reproduction via the handy toggle switch in the center of the two units. (...) I've used it on countless projects, Nat "King" Cole, Frank Sinatra, Beach Boys, Doors, Eagles, Ringo, McCartney, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Peggy Lee, Jethro Tull, Chuck Berry, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Van Morrison, White Stripes, Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ella Fitzgerald, Yes, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Steely Dan, Steppenwolf, Bad Company, Jim Croce, Elvis Presley, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Dave Mason, Paul Simon, America, The Band, Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Cars, ZZ Top, James Taylor, Art Pepper, Steve Miller Band, Queen, Rod Stewart, Duke Ellington, John Lee Hooker, Al Jolson, Roy Orbison, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis, Jr., The Who, Lightnin' Hopkins, Bill Haley & his Comets, Miles Davis, Mamas and Papas, Blue Öyster Cult, The Byrds, Eric Clapton, Bill Evans Trio, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Phil Collins, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Jeff Beck, Doobie Bros., Faces, Grand Funk, Heart, Billy Joel, Linda Ronstadt, Ten Years After, Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, Pat Benetar, Elton John, Leon Russell, Metallica. etc.
Miles Davis used several custom Committees throughout his career, as document... more
Miles Davis used several custom Committees throughout his career, as documented in this Wordpress article. The article features one such trumpet, while linking to three others.
Source One (Wordpress):
Miles Davis played a variety of custom-made Martin Committee trumpets throughout his career; in the photo is a Green custom-made, engraved Martin trumpet with a Conn 5 mouthpiece with serial no. 707737. His name is engraved on the trumpet.
A Martin trumpet used by one of the twentieth century's most acclaimed and innovative musicians, the legenday Miles Davis. With an engraving on the front reading The Martin Committee Elkhart-Indiana Miles Davis, this extraordinary piece comes with a letter of provenance dated May 19, 1999 from Davis' son, Gregory, which states To Whom It May Concern I Gregory Davis confirm that this Martin trumpet serial #LM 713071 was used by my father Miles Davis through the late sixty's to the early seventy's. Very Truly Yours, Gregory Davis [sic] The overall condition of the horn is in excellent condition and comes with its own case as well as a black and white poster of Davis holding the trumpet.
Source Three (Deleted page. The Wordpress article provides a description):
Here’s a trumpet from former NBA star Dominique Wilkins. The Skinner Gallery in Boston started the bidding at $20,000 back in ’07 for a Miles Davis trumpet.
Martin Committee trumpet, serial number 203005. Dark green metallic finish, owned and played by miles Davis. This trumpet was given to the son of Davis' friend in 1966, boxing legend Sugar Ray Robinson. Davis was a boxing fan and befriended Sugar Ray and his wife, Edna. It is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Sugar Ray's son, Ray Robinson, who was personally given the trumpet. The bell of the trumpet reads, "The Martin Committee Model / Elkhart / IND / USA" with ornate floral etchings. Keys are made from mother of pearl. As was typical of Davis, the mouth piece is intentionally bent upward and just below the mouthpiece, where Davis' thumb would have rested, shows signs of wear. (est. $10,000-$20,000)
Miles Davis Started on a Selmer Grand Prix Bb trumpet more
Miles Davis Started on a Selmer Grand Prix Bb trumpet
Davis used a trio of custom-made "Moon and Stars" T3460s, as featured in this... more
Davis used a trio of custom-made "Moon and Stars" T3460s, as featured in this September 4, 2019 Christie's article promoting the October 29, 2019 auction of Davis' blue "Moon and Stars" T3460.
Davis continued to record, perform and innovate in the 1960s and early 1970s, absorbing influences from Stockhausen to soul. By 1975, however, a combination of exhaustion, personal demons and drug addiction forced him to take time out. He wouldn’t pick up a musical instrument again in earnest until the early 1980s, which was when the blue-lacquer ‘Moon and Stars’ trumpet, coming to the Exceptional Sale on 29 October at Christie’s in New York, was created for him.
(...) The Committee horn being auctioned was one of a set of three conceived by designer Larry Ramirez, who was a part-time jazz trumpeter himself. At Davis’s request, one was coloured red, one blue and one black — each of them decorated with a gilt moon and stars, and with the word ‘Miles’ inscribed inside the bell.
Ramirez lived in Denver, which — as good luck would have it — was where Davis was playing one of his first comeback concerts, in the summer of 1981. The designer was able to hand-deliver the first two trumpets he’d finished (the blue and the black) to Davis’s motel room one night.
Ramirez told the story, in later life, of the nerves he’d felt at the moment Davis handed him back one of the horns and said, ‘You play, don’t you?’. He duly played a tentative passage from Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and remembers his relief when Davis observed, ‘Man, you play pretty good’.
(...) As for the two other ‘Moon and Stars’ horns made at the same time, the red trumpet has remained in the star’s family since his death in 1991, while the black one is buried at Davis’s side in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.