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Miles Davis with John Coltrane - The Complete Columbia Recordings Box set, Original recording remastered


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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 April 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Format: Box set, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Columbia
  • ASIN: B00004SCH8
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 409,496 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Between 1955 and 1959, with occasional changes in personnel, trumpeter Miles Davis led a simply extraordinary small band that changed the course of jazz. This quintet/sextet primarily spotlighted tenor saxophonist John Coltrane but also included greats such as alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley; pianists Red Garland, Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly; bassist Paul Chambers; and drummers Philly Joe Jones and Jimmy Cobb.

The Complete Columbia Recordings of Miles Davis and John Coltrane comprises such fabled Davis albums as Round About Midnight, Milestones, Jazz at the Plaza, Volume 1, Someday My Prince Will Come and the legendary Kind of Blue; also included are the Davis-with-Coltrane selections that appeared on Miles and Monk at Newport, Jazz Track, Basic Miles and Circle in the Round. In all, the set boasts 60 tracks, of which 18 are previously unreleased--14 of them complete takes.

This sumptuous, vital music is alternately exhilarating and emotive, rhythmically dynamic and smoothly flowing, complex and easy on the ear. It's music that defies classification. It's neither bebop nor hard bop yet has elements of both and remains contemporary to this day, as evidenced by such timeless numbers as "All Blues" and "So What." From the opening "Two Bass Hit" on Disc One to the final "Straight, No Chaser" on Disc Six, we hear the dazzling contrast of two pre-eminent jazz stylists: Davis's singing, luminescent tone and lyrical, often laid-back yet surely swinging improvisations and Coltrane's zealous-toned, bursting-forth solos. Adding additional colour and interest are the bebop-based piano work of Garland, the harmonically advanced offerings of pianist Evans, the rich, serpentine lines of alto saxophonist Adderley, the crisp-then-thumping beats from drummers Jones and Cobb, and the globular, hearty tones of Chambers's bass.

The numbers represent a mini-history of modern jazz. There are bebop tunes such as "Budo," "Two Bass Hit," and "Au-Leu-Cha," all given updated and unique airings. There are classic standards such as "All of You", "Stella by Starlight", "Green Dolphin Street", "Sweet Sue" and "Bye Bye Blackbird", most of which were rediscovered after Davis recorded them.

There are ace tunes by such Davis contemporaries as Thelonious Monk ("'Round About Midnight" and "Straight, No Chaser") and Jackie McLean ("Little Melonae") that are heard afresh as arranged by the trumpeter. Finally, there are the Davis originals, pieces such as "Milestones" and "All Blues", which are now part of the jazz canon.

Each of these numbers is given the kind of insistent, spirited and deeply musical interpretation that warrants repeated listening. Rounding out the top-notch package are essays by original producer George Avakian and Kind of Blue drummer Cobb, an insightful track-by-track overview by noted critic Bob Blumenthal, and the original liner notes to Kind of Blue by pianist Evans. --Zan Stewart

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By ricadus on 18 May 2000
Format: Audio CD
Like many, I've got the original albums on vinyl, so my first reason for buying this package was the 90+ minutes of unreleased out-take material - the addition of occasional snippets of M.D.'s comments between takes gives the set something of a documentary feel. You'll read other reviews which lovingly enthuse about how great this set is - and it is - but also note this, my second reason for buying: the recordings from the sessions which produced the 'Milestones' album are in true STEREO for the first time - why did it take over 40 years to get them released? Likewise, the 'Round About Midnight' sessions are in true mono and not fake "Electronically Re-channeled" echo-chamber stereo, that 70s marketing gimmick which we've had to put up with for so long - until now!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 April 2000
Format: Audio CD
For some people, the quintet/sextet on this CD was THE Miles Davis band, not the one with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter & Tony Williams - and this boxset goes a long way to argue in favour of that. This box set features the very first albums Miles recorded for Columbia; it captures that vital period where Miles moves from bebop to modal improvisation, before he steps into the avant garde with his second great quintet. Many people must own these albums (Milestone, '58 Stella by Starlight, Kind of Blue, Round about Midnight)already, but I have to say that these extra tracks really make this box set worth buying. As usual, there's not a single bad song; every tune hits its groove and keeps the listener enticed. As it is always the case with any Miles album, every song has its appeal, and you can squeeze something out of any of the tunes. Despite the fact that I have all these albums already, I had no hesitation in buying them. Should you be new to this period's music, you should perhaps listen to Kind of Blue or Milestones as an intrduction; but, if you have any taste at all, and I mean even a teeny weeny bit, you'll end up worshipping these albums for the next three years...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jazz_Preacher on 17 Nov 2002
Format: Audio CD
Arguably the best modern jazz band of the 50's. Coltrane & Davis, two of THE major players and innovators together in the studio is good enough reason to buy this sumptous box set, complete with unreleased alternate tracks, and snippets of Miles talking in the studio give this box-set a kinda "You feel as if your really there" type of quality, and with Columbias re-mastering techniques and a fantastic booklet this package is a must-have! I don't give a damn how you finance your purchasing of this (rob a bank, re-mortgage the house if you have to!!!), just get it and dig some of the finest, greatest jazz music you will ever hear.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Adam Ventress VINE VOICE on 26 April 2007
Format: Audio CD
The 5 star rating is for the music contained on this box set, although I do have some reservations about the package itself. The music is sublime. For me, 1955-61 represents the Miles' greatest period of his remarkable career. In these years, not only did he record the small group classics Round About Midnight, Milestones, Jazz Track, Someday My Prince Will Come and the incomparable Kind of Blue, all represented here, but also the film score for Asenseur Pour L'echafaud and the classic large ensemble recordings with Gil Evans, Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess, and Sketches of Spain, documented on a separate equally comprehensive box set.
The only problem with this 6 cd collection of material from those 5 quintet and [...] albums is that the best music here is already available on the individual albums, especially in their recently remastered forms. For a newcomer or fan who wants to stick to Miles' best work, the individual albums are unquestionably a better bet. With the alternate takes and session by session structure, there is simply too much here for the newcomer or casual listener.
For a serious Miles fan or collector, the real interest here apart from the beautiful packaging and extensive liner notes, lies in the alternate takes of familiar tracks, and in the session by session chronological order. However, for all the documentary aspect this gives the box set, there is not enough genuinely new material to really make it worth the money if you have the albums already.
I bought it for the fact that it is my favourite Miles period and wanted to have absolutely everythng available form those times. What is missing (and would make it more essential) is more of the studio process of some of the released material, as there is on the Miles and Gil Evans box set.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 32 reviews
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Timeless Miles...on new, improved, and expanded display! 16 April 2000
By J. Lund - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It's a given that the music included here is remarkable and timeless (by Miles' or anybody's standards), covering such classic Davis albums as ROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT, MILESTONES, JAZZ AT THE PLAZA, AT NEWPORT, JAZZ TRACK, and KIND OF BLUE. How many other recordings from this era can one objectively say still offer surprises upon each successive listen? It's also a given that the sound quality is awesome--some tracks are in first-time REAL stereo, and Miles' piercing muted trumpet sounds more than ever like it is positioned right in your living room! Also, without exception Miles' chosen personnel have something above-the-ordinary to contribute to the quality of the music: from John Coltrane, Bill Evans, and Cannonball Adderley to drummers Philly Joe Jones and Jimmy Cobb...and everyone in between! And lastly, the packaging is very compact, attractive and informative (although they'd be easier to read if the booklets were removable).

Probably the question for a potential buyer is: do I need ninety minutes of alternate takes? Often successive takes are difficult to distinguish (such as on Billie Holiday's COMPLETE COMMODORE RECORDINGS), and thus a bit of a chore to sit through even if the music itself is outstanding. However, here the improvisations differ significantly from cut to cut, and the opportunity to hear such peerless musicians as Miles and Trane getting additional opportunities to put their musically-inquisitive minds and deeper-than-deep emotions on display overrides the fact that you're often hearing the "same song" two-plus times in a row. If ever you might opt to splurge for the extras, Miles Davis' music would be it. Actually, it's not much of a splurge, because to get the individual CDs if/when they are reissued--KIND OF BLUE is already available--will cost insignificantly less than to purchase this collection! And here you always have the option to skip over the extras and listen only to the original album tracks (which are noted in the liner notes).
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Music that is priceless 21 April 2000
By Ian Muldoon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It is true that Columbia are milking the cow for all it's worth in regard to recycling the music of Mr Davis - on the other hand when we're talking about some of the best music of the 20th century regardless of genre then I'm not one to complain. I presently have a Mastersound edition of both KIND OF BLUE and MILESTONES courtesy Japan which is the sixth edition of the former and the fourth edition of the latter I have owned. Of all the music I have, KIND OF BLUE and MILESTONES (BILLY BOY is a ring in I reckon) are the albums I have most frequently played over the past 40 years. Still they sound as fresh and wondrous as the day I first heard them. I've bought this present reincarnation of them because: a) the music is placed in context b) MILESTONES is in stereo for the first time; c)I have never heard AT THE PLAZA; d)I'm partial to the husky, minimalist,croakings of Mr Davis himself, his scratchy, gasping TEO at the end of one piece of music echoes in one's head; e) there are two versions of FLAMENCO SKETCHES one of the masterpieces of Modern Music. Mr Davis IS modern jazz. This is "can't live without" music. Genius.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The giants of jazz at a special peak. 14 Nov 2000
By Ed Brickell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
What I'm struck by most after listening to this incredible brick of classic jazz is how happy the music sounds: Davis and Coltrane may have gone on to even greater challenges, but I don't think either of them ever played with such unbridled joy again. As just one example, listen to the alternate take of "Tadd's Delight" at the end of CD #1: loose, swinging like mad, it's one of the most carefree-sounding four minutes and 18 seconds of music you could ever hope to hear. But the energy and enthusiasm are only part of the story: the solos are highly demanding, endlessly inventive, and seem to change every time you hear them.
The whole set documents two of the best musicians ever to walk the earth at a special time in their development -- when they were continuing to push the envelope but were still playing in a more traditional context than they would even just a few years later. While Coltrane eventually shot beyond the confines of earth into interstellar space and Miles The Sorcerer would churn up much darker brews, these CDs still stand among the best jazz ever recorded.
Buy it and be enriched.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Great music, flawed package 2 Feb 2001
By Hank Schwab - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As music goes, this is of course great stuff. Of particular interest is hearing how quickly Coltrane's style changed and grew during these short years. The Davis-Coltrane partnership deserves to be preserved, no doubt. As a box-set, it comes across as bloated and poorly organized. The multiple takes (five versions of "Two-Bass Hit" alone) start to grate on your nerves after the first listen, and the live set from the Persian Room is nothing outstanding. The documentation is also poor; you have to do a lot of searching and cross-referencing to see what tracks are on the CD's in the set, what albums they originally appeared on, and who played during the sessions.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Just a correction 28 Sep 2001
By GEORGIOS G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I do not have much to add about the value of the music included in this great box set, just one thing.Concerning the review of Mr Darryl Harris Jr, this is the complete Miles and Trane at Columbia.The reason those tracks are not included from "Someday My Prince will Come" is that on them Hank Mobley plays the tenor sax and not John Coltrane.They are fine tracks and a nice album to have but Coltrane made just a "guest" appearance on it, since he was recording mainly on his own by then, and that is why some tracks are missing.Besides those two tracks featuring Coltrane are probably the best of the album.That's all folks!
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