A Famous Miles & Trane Gig that Never Was

Milwaukee jazz fans still talk about the music trumpeter Miles Davis and saxophone John Coltrane played as part of the former’s March 1959 gig in at Izzy Pogrob’s local Brass Rail club. Trouble is the gig never happened. Immersing himself in archival investigative journalism, On Milwaukee’s Bobby Tanzillo finds that despite newspaper ads to the contrary, at the last minute the week-long booking was cancelled. While the club was allegedly mob-run – less than a year later Pogrob was found in a ditch with nine gunshot wounds to his head – the official reason was musicians’ illness. But further research finds that during that week Davis was rehearsing with the Gil Evans Orchestra; Coltrane and quintet’s bassist Paul Chambers were recording tunes destined for the the Giant Steps session; and quintet pianist Wynton Kelly was also featured on two LPs. Tanzillo figures the real reason was insufficient money upfront. Yet today, even the site of the club, which had booked major Jazz talent before that, has been torn down and is now part of a long deserted lot. So nothing remains to memorialize the gig that never happened.,