Miles and Coltrane’s Milwaukee Gigs That Never Happened

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

On March 23, 1959, an ad ran in a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, newspaper, announcing: “Opening Tonight, The Country’s Hottest Jazz Trumpet Player Miles Davis and His All-Star Quintet.” At the time, Miles and his incendiary band of John Coltrane, Wynton Kelly, Jimmy Cobb, and Cannonball Adderley were recording what became the jazz masterpiece Kind of Blue. This group, like this record, became legendary. Yet for some reason, the band never made their Milwaukee engagements. Was it money? Was it the mob? At On Milwaukee, writer Bobby Tanzillo tries to find out why.

Speaking of messy, less than a year after the Davis’ group’s cancellation at the Brass Rail – for whatever reason – Izzy Pogrob turned up dead in a ditch next to a country road in Mequon, with nine gunshot wounds to the head.

Jazz fizzled at the Brass Rail, which Pogrob’s brother Irvin ran as a strip club until 1968, when it was taken over by Rudoph Porchetta. In the 1970s it morphed into a pizza place – though it served food much earlier – and tavern and finally closed in 1982.

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