After John Coltrane’s last tour with Miles Davis in 1960, the trumpeter tried five great tenor saxophonists as replacements before settling on Wayne Shorter in late 1964. He had by that time assembled a new rhythm section with Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and Tony Williams on drums, but Shorter’s immediate predecessors didn’t really gel with this team. Miles In Berlin was the first recording by the lineup we now call Davis’ second great quintet (the first being the mid-50s unit with Coltrane). Neither the material nor the approach here is very different from live recordings with George Coleman or Sam Rivers earlier in 1964, but everything works more smoothly. Rather than throwing out the old forms as Ornette Coleman’s disciples were doing, Davis & Co. stretched them to the breaking point. Everyone knew where the chord progression was, where the downbeat was, where the tonic was, but no one bothered to just state these things, and the delight they took in constantly pushing and pulling at the structures infuses this essentially cerebral approach with real excitement. This quintet is still the model for much of today’s jazz, and it all began with this record.