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At over forty-eight minutes, . is one of the longest jazz albums of its period. Subsequent Davis recordings would be even longer.

Two recording sessions in 1956 were enough for four separate albums: Relaxin' with the Miles Davis Quintet , Cookin' with the Miles Davis Quintet , Workin' with the Miles Davis Quintet , and Steamin' with the Miles Davis Quintet . "If I Were a Bell" is the lead track off of Relaxin' . "Many people argue that these are the first hard bop recordings ever done," Jones says. "What you hear is a relaxed style, you hear the rhythm section very relaxed. You don't hear that up feel that you get with bebop. And you also hear the American popular songbook expressed magically by Miles."

Clark Terry, the trumpeter, one of his early idols, became Mr. Davis's mentor, and his local reputation grew quickly. Mr. Davis's parents made him turn down early offers to join big bands. But in 1944 the Billy Eckstine band, which then included two men who were beginning to create be-bop -- Charlie Parker on alto saxophone and Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet -- arrived in St. Louis with an ailing third trumpeter. Mr. Davis sat in for two weeks. The experience made him decide to move to New York, the center of the be-bop revolution.

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