In all the annals of modern jazz, there is no other phenomenon that compares to the 30-year association of Miles Davis and Columbia Records, from 1955 to 1985. Both in the scope of Miles’ prolific output during the entire history of the 12-inch LP era, more than 50 distinct album titles in the U.S., Europe and Japan, as well as the primal influence that Miles – and his evolving group lineups – had on the course of jazz, there is simply no precedent. Miles at Columbia stands alone.
For more than two decades now, Miles Davis fans and aficionados, musicians and critics, collectors and configurationalists have wondered if the time would ever come that Miles’ entire Columbia album output would be assembled in one total package. That time has finally arrived.
THE COMPLETE MILES DAVIS COLUMBIA ALBUM COLLECTION is an historic release event. The super-deluxe box set contains 52 CD and double-CD albums – which includes the previously unreleased full-length audio version of Isle Of Wight performance from 1970 – 70 CDs in all. (Rarities and other previously unreleased material still exist in the vast Miles Davis archive, and they are delineated below.)
The box set adds a bonus DVD, Miles Davis Quintet: Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams / Live In Europe ’67. Here are two separate European concert performances by the groundbreaking ‘second great quintet,’ filmed in Stockholm and Karlsruhe, Germany, October and November 1967, respectively. This DVD represents the only video of this Miles Davis Quintet lineup ever to be officially commercially released.
Along with the discs comes a generous 250-page book whose centerpiece is an 11,000-word biographical essay by Frédéric Goaty, the most in-depth liner notes ever included in any Miles Davis package. Goaty is the director of the French Jazz Magazine and the co-author of the 1995 book Miles Davis. The essay is complemented by brief annotations (about 200 words each) written by Franck Bergerot, covering every single one of the 52 albums and the DVD. Bergerot is the Chief Editor of Jazz Magazine and the author of Miles Davis: Introduction à l’écoute du jazz moderne. Rare photography, full discographic production notes, and a complete track index are also included.
THE COMPLETE MILES DAVIS COLUMBIA ALBUM COLLECTION will be available starting November 24th through Columbia/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT. The box set will be for sale exclusively from Amazon in the physical package only, priced at $364.98.
The release of the MILES DAVIS COLUMBIA box set coincides with a three-month exhibition at the Museé de la Musique in Paris (October 16, 2009, through January 17, 2010) entitled “We Want Miles.” The exhibition follows the evolution of the artist from his birth (May 26, 1926) and childhood in East Saint Louis to his final Paris concert in July, two months before his death on September 28, 1991.
The cornerstones of the MILES DAVIS COLUMBIA box set are the studio and live albums that were released during his tenure at the label, more than 40 titles that he recorded in the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. The vast majority of these were released around the time of their recording or soon after; others appeared as historic discoveries years later. Since the critically acclaimed and multiple Grammy Award-winning Miles Davis Series was launched in 1996, the majority of all these albums have been reissued by Columbia/Legacy as expanded editions with bonus material. The expanded editions will be the ones utilized on this new box set. Since the original LP jacket artwork will be replicated, the bonus tracks will only appear as indexed in the book’s discographical section.
They include: ‘Round About Midnight (1957), Miles Ahead (1957), Milestones (1958), Miles Davis At Newport (1958), Porgy and Bess (1958), Jazz At The Plaza (1958), Kind Of Blue (1959), Sketches Of Spain (1960), Someday My Prince Will Come (1961), In Person: Friday Night At the Blackhawk (1961), In Person: Saturday Night At the Blackhawk (1961), At Carnegie Hall (1961), Seven Steps To Heaven (1963), In Europe (1963), My Funny Valentine (1965), ‘Four’ & More (1966), Miles In Tokyo (1964), Miles In Berlin (1964), E.S.P. (1965), Miles Smiles (1966), Sorcerer (1967), Nefertiti (1967), Miles In the Sky (1968), Filles De Kilimanjaro (1969), In A Silent Way (1969), Bitches Brew (1970), A Tribute To Jack Johnson (1971), Live/Evil (1971), On the Corner (1972), Big Fun (1974), Get Up With It (1974), Water Babies (1976), and Aura (1985).
Many other albums spanning the decades remain unchanged from their original releases (except for digital remastering). These include: Circle In The Round (1955 through 1970), 1958 Miles (1958), Directions (1960 through 1970), Live At The Fillmore East (March 7, 1970): It’s About That Time (1970), Black Beauty: Miles Davis At Fillmore West (1970), At Fillmore (1970), In Concert (1972), Dark Magus (1974), Agharta (1975), Pangaea (1975), The Man With The Horn (1980-1981), Star People (1982-83), Decoy (1983), and You’re Under Arrest (1984-85).
A third grouping of albums receive special attention on the new box set and are summarized as follows:
In Paris Festival International De Jazz May, 1949 (1949): Miles’ first trip to Europe was a resounding critical and commercial success, but upon his return to the U.S., he went through a long purgatory before recovering that acclaim in the ’50s. In 1977 (in the midst of Miles’ 1975-80 hiatus from touring and recording), Henri Renaud, head of the CBS France Jazz Department, collaborated with Bruce Lundvall, then president of Columbia Records U.S., on the release of the 1949 concert at Salle Pleyel. It was actually billed on the LP as the Miles Davis-Tadd Dameron Quintet (with James Moody on tenor sax, drummer Kenny Clarke, and bassist Barney Spieler). This new CD adds two previously unreleased tracks: pianist-composer Dameron’s “The Squirrel” and the classic ballad “Lover Man.”
Quiet Nights (1962): In the summer 1962, at the dawn of the bossa nova craze, Miles experimented on some tracks with arranger Gil Evans, whose interest in South American music went back many years. In order to complete the Quiet Nights project, producer Teo Macero pulled a track from the West Coast sessions that yielded Seven Steps To Heaven. That same summer, Wayne Shorter made his first recordings with Miles and Evans, two years before Shorter joined Miles’ quintet. One track was a bleak Christmas song called “Blue Xmas / To Whom It May Concern” (introduced on 1962’s Jingle Bell Jazz). Another track was “Devil May Care” which features one of Miles’ greatest recorded solos. Both are true rarities which only appeared together before on 1996’s three-time Grammy Award-winning 6-CD box set, Miles Davis & Gil Evans: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings.
At Plugged Nickel (1965): Sony Music in Japan caused a sensation in 1976, when they released two LPs worth of highly-edited music from the December 22-23, 1965 appearance at this Chicago club by the Shorter-Hancock-Carter-Williams quintet. Columbia received similar raves when they eventually released the double-LP in the U.S. in 1982. Thirteen years later, the entire unedited program of performances from the Plugged Nickel was issued by Columbia/Legacy as an 8-CD box set (long out-of-print). This new double-CD version for MILES DAVIS COLUMBIA is the best of both worlds – retrieving the original track sequence of the classic LPs, but in their full unedited versions as heard in the 1995 box set.
Isle Of Wight (1970): The chaos of the third annual Isle Of Wight Festival is well-documented, as dissidents burned down and trampled as much of the place as they could on the final night, leading the powers-that-be to ban the gathering for more than three decades. Miles’ set on the fourth (and next-to-last) night was no less revolutionary on the bill he shared with Joni Mitchell, Ten Years After, Emerson Lake & Palmer, the Doors, the Who, and Sly and the Family Stone, among others. Here is the same general 1970 rhythm section (Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, and Airto Moreira) that Miles used on his 1970 double-LPs Black Beauty: Miles Davis At Fillmore West and At Fillmore. The Isle Of Wight additions are Keith Jarrett (who also played on At Fillmore) and Gary Bartz replacing Steve Grossman on sax. This box marks the first official release of the full-length Isle of Wight 1970 concert on any album (CD).
We Want Miles (1981): At the end of Miles’ five-year 1975-80 hiatus, he came back with a vengeance, releasing The Man With The Horn in ’81 and hitting the road with most of that album’s players: Bill Evans (saxophones), Mike Stern (guitar), Marcus Miller (bass), and Al Foster (drums), adding Mino Cinelu on percussion. Columbia recorded them live in Boston, New York and Tokyo, and numbers from all three cities comprised the original double-LP We Want Miles. CBS/Sony Japan followed up with additional performances from Tokyo on Miles!, Miles!, Miles!, whose impossibly rare LP and subsequent CD are both out-of-print. Three of those tracks, “Ursula”, “Aida” and “Fat Time,” transform We Want Miles into the newest expanded edition for the release of THE COMPLETE MILES DAVIS COLUMBIA ALBUM COLLECTION.
THE COMPLETE MILES DAVIS COLUMBIA ALBUM COLLECTION
(Columbia/Legacy 88697 55852 2)
# Title Rec. Rel. Catalog _
01. In Paris Festival Int’l De Jazz May, 1949 1949 1977 SRCS 9724
02. ’Round About Midnight 1955-1956 1957 CK 85201
03. * Circle In The Round 1955-1970 1979 C2K 46862
04. Miles Ahead 1957 1957 CK 65121
05. Milestones 1958 1958 CK 85203
06. 1958 Miles 1958 1974 C6K 65833
07. At Newport 1958 1958 1964 CK 85202
08. Porgy And Bess 1958 1959 CK 65141
09. Jazz At The Plaza 1958 1973 CK 85245
10. Kind Of Blue 1959 1959 CK 64935
11. Sketches Of Spain 1959-60 1960 CK 65142
12. * Directions 1960-70 1981 SRCS 9761/2
13. Someday My Prince Will Come 1961 1961 CK 65919
14. * In Person Friday Night At The Blackhawk, 1961 1961 C2K 87097
San Francisco – Complete
15. * In Person Saturday Night At The Blackhawk, 1961 1961 C2K 87100
San Francisco – Complete
16. * At Carnegie Hall 1961 1962 C2K 65027
17. Quiet Nights + “Blue Xmas (To Whom It 1962 1963 CK 65293
May Concern)” and “Devil May Care”
18. Seven Steps To Heaven 1963 1963 CK 93592
19. In Europe 1963 1964 CK 93583
20. My Funny Valentine 1964 1965 CK 93593
21. “Four” & More 1964 1966 CK 93595
22. Miles In Tokyo 1964 1969 CK 93596
23. Miles In Berlin 1964 1965 CK 93594
24. E.S.P. 1965 1965 CK 65683
25. * At Plugged Nickel V. 1 1965 1976 18AP 2067
V. 2 1965 1976 18AP 2068
26. Miles Smiles 1966 1967 CK 65682
27. Sorcerer 1967 1967 CK 65680
28. Nefertiti 1967 1968 CK 65681
29. Water Babies 1967-68 1976 CK 86577
30. Miles In The Sky 1968 1968 CK 65684
31. Filles De Kilimanjaro 1968 1969 CK 86555
32. In A Silent Way 1969 1969 CK 86556
33. * Bitches Brew 1969 1970 C2K 65774
34. * Big Fun 1969-72 1974 C2K 63973
35. A Tribute To Jack Johnson 1970 1971 CK 93599
36. * Live At The Fillmore East (March 7, 1970): 1970 2001 C2K 85191
It’s About That Time
37. * Black Beauty: Miles Davis At Fillmore West 1970 1973 C2K 65138
38. * At Fillmore 1970 1970 C2K 65139
39. # Isle Of Wight 1970 2009 –
40. * Live/Evil 1970 1971 C2K 65135
41. On The Corner 1972 1972 CK 63980
42. * In Concert 1972 1973 C2K 65140
43. * Dark Magus 1974 1977 C2K 65137
44. * Get Up With It 1972-74 1974 C2K 63970
45. * Agharta 1975 1976 C2K 46799
46. * Pangaea 1975 1975 C2K 46115
47. The Man With The Horn 1980-81 1981 CK 36790
48. * We Want Miles + 3 bonus tracks 1981 1982 SICP 1235/6
from Miles!, Miles!, Miles!
49. Star People 1982-83 1983 CK 38657
50. Decoy 1983 1984 CK 38991
51. You’re Under Arrest 1984-85 1985 CK 40023
52. Aura 1985 1989 CK 45332
* indicates double-CD.
DVD Miles Davis Quintet: Wayne Shorter, Herbie 10-11/67 2009 –
Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams /
Live In Europe ’67