“Freddie Freeloader” doesn’t noodle its way into order like the previous track. It sets up a horn pattern from the very outset. Initially the song feels a bit more scripted compared to “So What”. It doesn’t take long to hit an extended piano solo, which feels sort of out of place as the first instrument, I don’t have a clue as to why that is though. The piano feels really open and light though, the Slate.com article claims the pianist here is Wynton Kelly, whose playing doesn’t seem much different than that of Bill Evans. It all feels quite open and spacious and light. Those are odd adjectives for piano but that is how it comes across to me. As soon as Miles steps up for a solo, the piano recedes into the background but never leaves. Miles’ solo comes and goes but Kelly keeps up a sparse and less showy solo going. Along with the bass, the two instruments carry on an underpinning that could have easily just sustained the original riff the horns were playing for the whole song. Now when dissected, this song seems to be a bit of a reprise of “So What”, at least structurally. In any case Miles’ solo is his typically clear and measured piece. He has clarity and isn’t in a rush to cram notes on top of one another. He even seems to pause for a beat or two to emphasize bits he just made up. He really gives the sense of not wasting a single nanosecond of his playing on unnecessary runs of notes. It’s subtle as it sometimes comes across as just too measured but it’s pretty great in the hands of someone like this. After Miles come the dueling saxes. I am definitely no expert on Cannonball Adderley but I believe I know John Coltrane well enough to discern the two just by process of elimination. The casual listener might just hear continuous saxophone though, not realizing the two were switching off. It’d be embarrassing if there were only one of them on this track I guess. Jazz dudes really get into this minutiae but I personally don’t care so much who’s who at each second of the piece. Guys like that are the reason Miles left all musician’s credits off of On the Corner. He had no patience for that sort of minutiae either I suppose. I personally approve of riling up the type of person that would be riled by such a move. Anyway, all in all it’s a good track but it rings a tiny bit too much of its predecessor so it feels like repetition. If their order were juxtaposed, I might have switched my feelings of the two. Who knows?
Rating 4 out of 5