Original Album Classics Best of
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2007 five CD set, a great installment in Sony/BMG's Original Album Classics series that brings together rare and out of print titles with some best sellers from the Sony/BMG Jazz catalog. Many of these albums have been unavailable on CD for some time and are sought after by collectors. Each set is presented in a high quality, rigid cardboard slipcase containing five 'vinyl replica' mini LP sleeves. This collection from the trumpet-playin' Jazz legend includes Round About Midnight, Milestones, 1958 Sessions, Miles Ahead and Porgy & Bess.
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It is a 'period' collection, representing Miles' start with Columbia Records, ' 'Round About Midnight' being the first. The releases cover a period between 1956 and 1958, immediately before the landmark 'Kind of Blue'. ('Birth of the Cool' was also released within this time frame.) If you're looking to see something "building" towards 'K of B', listening to the smaller group efforts here (i.e. excluding 'Miles Ahead' and 'Porgy and Bess') certainly suggests 'K of B' didn't just jump out of nowhere.
I had a bit of trouble identifying the '1958 Miles' recording as part of his discography. Turns out it is the recording, ' '58 Miles - Featuring Stella by Starlight'. This particular gem is not only musically captivating for me, but has perhaps the coolest cover art on any Miles Davis sleeve.
So, FIVE great, interesting and varied recordings for about $25? (!!!!); major larceny, if you ask me. (There are examples of some of these recordings being sold for $50 to $75 individually.)
Putting aside the bargain shopping aspect, it's hard to imagine getting a better glimpse into the artistic output of a musical giant during an extraordinarily fertile time, more simply and directly. For some, who don't find themselves drawn to the 'electric' Miles, this might be the only recordings (except for 'K of B', of course) you'll ever need.
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I don't even need to comment on the quality of the music. If you have done any research on Miles, you should know that most of these albums are indispensable to any Miles collection. You are getting three albums of Miles' classic quintet/sextet and two collaborations with Gil Evans, who later worked with Miles on "Sketches of Spain."
Not only is this collection perfect for music fans who are new to jazz (such as myself), it is also extremely economical. These albums would normally run you about $8 to $12 each in a jewel case, but you can get all five of them here for about the same price! Highly recommended.
With some of the most significant Miles Davis albums EVER, this is a good place two start your exploration of this giant's opus. Two great albums orchestrated by Gil Evans ("Porgy and Bess" as well as "Miles Ahead") are equally rewarding as smaller group efforts with John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley ("Round about Midnight" and "Milestones") plus a rare compillation of the small group efforts ("58 sessinos"; featuring Cannonball, Coltrane, Bill Evans...).
BTW, on "Mile Ahead" you can hear Miles' artistry in flugelhorn; while the orchestral albums are an excellent exercise in cool-jazz, smaller groups develop hard-bop and occasionally hints of modal jazz as well.
In both cases Miles and company play beautiful standards (by Gershwin, Monk, Cole Porter etc.) and equally exciting originals.
The artwork is basically made or replicas of original LP sleeves (which makes original liner notes harder to read for those with poor eye-sight) and adittonal explanations (and pictures) included in reissues of single albums are not included... But just check out the price! A true value for money purchase.
It is virtually impossible to take any phase of the incredible career of Miles Davis and isolate several albums for a collection; but this is about as good as it can get. 'Round About Midnight (1955), Miles Ahead (1957), Milestones (1958), 1958 Sessions (1958) and Porgy and Bess (1958) provides the listener with a "look" into the Miles Davis Quintet and Sextet, along with the start of the legendary collaboration with Gil Evans.
These collections are no frills and at a (mostly) moderate price. This historical significance of the music in this set cannot be stressed enough.
and the ensemble of greats he played with. What a diverse collection.