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.
What I Say is a two volume CD album of live recordings of Miles Davis. The album was released on JMY Records label in Italy. Vol. 1 Recorded in Vienna, 5 November 1971 at the Wiener Konzerthaus. Vol. 2 Recorded live at the Wiener Konzerthaus on November 5, 1971 (tracks 1-3), and at the Fillmore West, San Francisco, October 17, 1970 (tracks 4-6).
With the release of the spectral title tune, and the efforts of the Columbia marketing and publicity departments behind him, a thirty-year old Miles Davis entered into a period of extraordinary artistic maturity and growth. And Miles instinctively knew how to cultivate his star quality. Looming behind those shades, was the diffident, sensitive anti-hero–proud and defiant–who only spoke to his audience through his horn, and turned his back on them when the other soloists were blowing.
The combination of attitude and intellect was irresistible. Beginning with ROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT and proceeding through a remarkable succession of famous recordings over the next 30 years, Miles Davis became one of the greatest soloists, arrangers and talent scouts in the history of American music. People who didn't own a single jazz record came to know his name–Miles was a jazz icon.
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.
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.
I'm very fond of Miles' '70s "electric" period, especially the dark, deep live albums he recorded during this time (namely Dark Magus and Agharta). This disc, which gives MD the big-band treatment, offers many pleasures of its own, although, for my money, neither Cugny nor anyone else (save maybe Bill Laswell) has ever reached the same primal place that Miles did during this time. Excellent album! This album is something special. Great atmosphere, 60 minutes of pure enjoying.
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.