Seven Steps: The Complete Columbia Recordings of Miles Davis 1963-1964 is an anomaly among the retrospective sets that have been issued from the late artist's catalog. It does not focus on particular collaborations (Miles with Coltrane, Gil Evans, the second quintet), complete sessions of historic albums (Bitches Brew, In a Silent Way, and Jack Johnson), or live runs (Plugged Nickel and Montreux). Instead, it is a portrait of the artist in flux, in the space between legendary bands, when he was looking for a new mode of expression, trying to find the band that would help him get there. These seven CDs begin after the demise of bands that included John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb, and Wynton Kelly, after his landmark Gil Evans period, and even after his attempts at creating a new band with everyone from Frank Strozier and Harold Mabern to Sonny Rollins and J.J. Johnson.
Along with its sister recording, Pangaea, Agharta was recorded live in February of 1975 at the Osaka Festival Hall in Japan. Amazingly enough, given that these are arguably Davis' two greatest electric live records, they were recorded the same day. Agharta was performed in the afternoon and Pangaea in the evening. Of the two, Agharta is superior. The band with Davis – saxophonist Sonny Fortune, guitarists Pete Cosey (lead) and Reggie Lucas (rhythm), bassist Michael Henderson, drummer Al Foster, and percussionist James Mtume – was a group who had their roots in the radically streetwise music recorded on 1972's On the Corner, and they are brought to fruition here.
Miles Davis' concert of February 12, 1964, was originally divided into two LPs, with all of the ballads put on My Funny Valentine. These five lengthy tracks (which include "All of You," "Stella by Starlight," "All Blues," "I Thought About You," and the title cut) put the emphasis on the lyricism of Davis, along with some strong statements from tenor saxophonist George Coleman and freer moments from the young rhythm section of pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams.
Kind of Blue isn't merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it's an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence. Why does Kind of Blue posses such a mystique? Perhaps because this music never flaunts its genius. It lures listeners in with the slow, luxurious bassline and gentle piano chords of "So What." From that moment on, the record never really changes pace – each tune has a similar relaxed feel, as the music flows easily. Yet Kind of Blue is more than easy listening. It's the pinnacle of modal jazz – tonality and solos build from the overall key, not chord changes, giving the music a subtly shifting quality. All of this doesn't quite explain why seasoned jazz fans return to this record even after they've memorized every nuance.
A rare 1960 appearance by the Miles Davis quintet in England! Featuring Sonny Stitt, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers & Jimmy Cobb. Includes the concert at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, on September 27, 1960 in its integrity. Stitt plays alto saxophone on "All of You," "Well, You Needn't," "Autumn Leaves," and "The Theme." He plays tenor on the remaining tunes unless indicated otherwise.
MILES DAVIS QUINTET The Complete Blackhawk Sessions (Incredible 2003 US audiophile SIX LP limited edition boxed set, remastered & pressed on high quality 180gm virgin vinyl for the ultimate audio experience & featuring the classic sessionsrecorded live at the Blackhawk, San Francisco on April 21 & 22, 1961. The set is complete with an individually numbered 20-page illustrated booklet & housed in a superior textured picture box.
Could there be any more confrontational sound in Miles Davis' vast catalog than the distorted guitars and tinny double-timing drums reacting to a two-note bass riff funking it up on the first track from On the Corner? Before the trumpet even enters the picture, the story has been broken off somewhere in the middle, with deep street music melding with a secret language held within the band and those who can actually hear this music – certainly not the majority of Miles' fan base built up over the past 25 years.
These tracks are all previously unissued ! Miles Davis toured Japan for the first time during July 1964 with a quintet that included saxophonist Sam Rivers, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams. Although several Japanese concerts were booked, only three performances are known to have taken place: the well known July 14 show at Kohseinenkin Hall, in Tokyo (which was issued on LP), and the previously unissued July 12 and 15 concerts, presented on this 2CD set. Both concerts appear here for the first time ever. No other recorded collaborations between Miles and Rivers exist apart from the three shows in Japan!