A much different album than you might expect from the cover – hardly the funky 70s set implied by the Big Fun-styled cover – and instead a lost slice of work from his groundbreaking late 60s years! The set was recorded in 1967, but unissued until Miles late 70s time away from the studio – hence the cover, which attempts to contemporanize the record – and the music is very much in the dark moods and sharp tones of Filles De Kilimanjaro, and features a somewhat similar group! The core quintet of Wayne Shorter on tenor, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and Tony Williams on drums handles the first half of the set – but the group's then expanded to include Chick Corea on electric piano along with Herbie on keys – and Ron Carter steps out so that Dave Holland can bring some more modern tones to the bass. Tracks are all somewhat long, and titles include "Capricorn", "Water Babies", "Sweet Pea", and "Two Faced".
A set of outtakes released during Davis's retirement, three songs recorded during sessions for Nefertiti, and two cut during exploratory sessions for In A Silent Way, with Chick Corea and Dave Holland added on electric piano and bass respectively. It's a weird set because the Nefertiti side has the anything-can-happen combustibility of the Shorter-Hancock-Carter-Williams quintet ("Capricorn"), and the second side has the mostly absent Miles and endlessly raining electric pianos of the Zawinul-Corea-McLaughlin group ("Two Faced"). The first side isn't up to Quintet standard - the title track is a simple sequence outlined by block chords from Hancock, with unremarkable solos from Davis and Shorter - but the gently unhinged "Sweet Pea" (a tribute to Billy Strayhorn) is a classic, and I like even the later tracks better than most of Davis's fusion, because Williams keeps things from drifting entirely out to sea, and there are recognizable tunes and a minimum of tape manipulation. All the tunes are Shorter's except for "Mr. Tillman Anthony (William Process)"; the 2002 reissue also includes Davis's "Splash" (I believe the same take that's on on the Silent Way Sessions boxed set).David Bertrand Wilson
A 3CD box set collection chronicling Miles’ musical evolution in the studio from 1966-1968 working with his “second great quintet,” the latest edition in Columbia/Legacy’s acclaimed Miles Davis Bootleg Series provides an unprecedented look into the artist’s creative process, drawing on full session reels including all rehearsals, partial and alternate takes, extensive and fascinating studio conversation and more. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Miles Smiles, the groundbreaking second studio album from the Miles Davis Quintet–Miles Davis (trumpet), Wayne Shorter (tenor saxophone), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass) and Tony Williams (drums)–this definitive new collection includes the master takes of performances which would appear on the Miles Smiles (1967), Nefertiti (1968) and Water Babies (recorded 1967, released 1976) albums alongside more than two hours worth of previously unreleased studio recordings from original sessions produced by Teo Macero (with the exception of “Fall,” produced by Howard A. Roberts).
Miles Away, a compilation of songs by Miles Davis. Released in 2008 on Not Now Music. On top of that, the sound is alright, the packaging is elegant (a fold-out digipak, with cool b&w photos of Miles beneath each disc), and we even get brief, informative liner notes. Not Now Music are getting dangerously good at this budget comp thing.
THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA STUDIO RECORDINGS compiles all of Miles Davis' collaborations with composer/arranger Gil Evans. Included are the original and alternate versions of the four albums that Davis and Evans made together–MILES AHEAD, PORGY AND BESS, SKETCHES OF SPAIN and QUIET NIGHTS–as well as various outtakes and unreleased tracks. More than half of the material is previously unreleased. THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA STUDIO RECORDINGS won 1997 Grammy Awards for Best Historical Album, Best Album Notes (by George Avakian, Bob Belden, Bill Kirchner and Phil Schaap), and Best Recording Package - Boxed.
From the opening four notes of Michael Henderson's hypnotically minimal bass that open the unedited master of "On the Corner," answered a few seconds later by the swirl of color, texture, and above all rhythm, it becomes a immediately apparent that Miles Davis had left the jazz world he helped to invent – forever. The 19-minute-and-25-second track has never been issued in full until now. It is one of the 31 tracks in The Complete On the Corner Sessions, a six-disc box recorded between 1972 and 1975 that centers on the albums On the Corner, Get Up with It, and the hodgepodge leftovers collection Big Fun. It is also the final of eight boxes in the series of Columbia's studio sessions with Davis from the 1950s through 1975, when he retired from music before his return in the 1980s. Previously issued have been Davis' historic sessions with John Coltrane in the first quintet, the Gil Evans collaborations, the Seven Steps to Heaven recordings, the complete second quintet recordings, and the complete In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, and Jack Johnson sessions. There have been a number of live sets as well; the most closely related one to this is the live Cellar Door Sessions 1970, issued in 2005.
Many musicians lived and were musically active during multiple jazz periods, and some of them actually made significant contributions during all of the periods during which they recorded. But few can claim, as Miles Davis could, to have actually helped design the architecture in every case. Bebop, cool, and fusion all have Davis' handprints deep in the cement of their foundations, and this disc documents some of his best work during the second of those periods. In the mid-'50s he started what would be a tumultuous musical relationship with John Coltrane, and what would eventually become one of the greatest combos in jazz history began to coalesce: alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones in addition to Davis and Coltrane.