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on 2 July 2001
Someone once said that holding a book is like holding a garden in your hand, well holding this box set is a bit like that - a few days before Christmas 1965 - can you imagine what Chicago must have been like? Deep in the Plugged Nickel Miles' 2nd great quintet decide that they will produce as good a jazz as there has ever been over two nights, then go home for Christmas or whatever, i don't know... But in this box is music as rich varied and rewarding as you'll find anywhere on this great earth. The track list might look repetative but what they are playing is almost nominal, its like complainig if an explorer took two ships that were built the same and then pointed them in unknown, but different directions!
Sure this box is a commitment but its a garden in your hand to treasure until you get to meet miles for real. I can't wait to hear this music for the 100th, 200th time i love it in a i want to get old with it way - and it was more or less another gig for the 2nd great quintet!
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on 3 December 2003
This set must be the best live jazz ever recorded. Miles had just come out of hospital (hip replacement) & sounds really excited at playing again - especially with such supremely good musicians. Everything abt this music is fluid - pitch, harmony, time (especially) - tony williams is the driving creative force - but miles controls with such gentle mastery that the whole thing coheres - it could so readily have slipped into rambling self-indulgence. Each repeated track sounds so unlike the previous that you'd be forgiven for not realising what they're improvising on. Each musician is at his creative peak (except perhaps herbie) & the recording is excellent. This may seem like an expensive investment but I can guarantee you'll not be disappointed - it replays constant relistening - one of the few recordings you'll never tire of.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 3 January 2015
The Holy Grail of not just Miles Davis but jazz generally, with over 7.5 hours of The Second Great Quintet in the intimate setting of The Plugged Nickel, Chicago just before Christmas 1965. These performances have attained a legendary status, and it's easy to hear just why in a set that demands repeated listening. Seven sets (one split across two discs) over two nights recorded in beautiful quality sees (aside from "Agitation" which had just appeared on "E.S.P.") standards tackled as only this magnificent band could. Forget the heavy rotation of a few tracks, each version is played entirely differently. Listen back a couple of years and you'll hear the same songs played with improvisation but overall faithful to the originals. Here we have something entirely different. Tony Williams had challenged his band mates to play 'Anti-jazz', in other words to deliberately go off on tangents. And that's just what happened, except the band are so well able to follow each other with an almost telepathic fluidity something over and above what had gone before us created. This is creativity and anticipation of each other's moves as art form. To be in the audience for just one of these sets must have taken the breath away at the mastery of craft on show. You can sample it on a highlights disc but beware, anyone with half an ear for jazz will desire the full set as a result. Sublime.
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on 12 January 2014
I thought I'd add this review in just to give a more balanced view of the legendary Plugged Nickel sessions, and help those that don't have it worry a little less about owning this collection.

I also bought this the first day it came out. As a young pro jazz musician I was eager to hear what was inside this long hidden Aladdin's cave of musical jewels. I was a little disappointed to say the least. The music is brimming over with energy and the band is killing, that much is true. However, what a lot of fans seem to blatantly ignore is that one person is ruining the whole thing........Miles!

There are many stories about Miles at this period and especially how the Plugged Nickel session was a kind of 'end of an era' type of thing. Miles hadn't been playing much as was his style at the time, party hard and play jazz later - all this can be read in his various biographies. This shows up on the Plugged Nickel where quite frankly what you hear is a musician whose chops are not 'on form'. His phrases are short, not well developed and his tone thin and hesitant. Just listen to any of the other albums from that period - there are live bootlegs around also - E.S.P, Nefertiti etc. His playing is glorious on those records, beautiful tone, phrasing, lines, rhythm, it's all there. But not on these evenings recorded here!

Of course the others - young cats ready to burn - were happy to play, as young players always are. Wayne Shorter - if I remember correctly - was drunk on one of the evenings, which probably accounts for some great 'wild' playing. Herbie, Ron and Tony played with burning conviction.

So, my opinion is that if you don't own the box set DON'T spend mega-bucks on it. Wait until it comes out as a cheap version, or just borrow it from a friend and enjoy listening to it over a couple of weeks whilst reading the copious liner notes. Then give it back having enjoyed finally hearing this legendary session.

I should maybe add that the box set has some great liner notes, photos, and other interesting stuff.
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on 2 December 2010
I do not know if anybody has made the comparison but this set is like Bach's cantatas. You can lose yourself in it, hear it over and over again without tiring, and always find more.

One of Miles's greatest works. So why does Sony no longer have it available? Especially when some of the sets have been reissued at a cheaper price in long boxes?
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on 6 January 2016
Wayne Shorter said he couldn't believe they played like this when he heard his promo copy on release in the 1990's. I would have loved to have got the boxed set at full audio quality but the cheapest I could find online is £120 !

The MP3s are OK, they don't do Tony Williams's drums any favours and Ron Carter's bass is a bit low too but the music is superb.
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on 10 December 2010
This is truly great music. I had the box and it was stolen. It is now selling for £200 in the second hand market. I can't be the only one longing for Sony to re-release it. As other reviewers have said, many less important sessions are widely available.
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on 20 May 2015
Perfect packing and delivery.... well worth the price... a wonderful set.
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on 6 November 2009
I would advice to give more detailled information about The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965.
There seems to be edtions with 7 and 8 cd's.
This was a guess for me. Lucky for me it was with 8 cd's.

See for examples on the site from amazone.com.us with better information description.

Greetings,

Wybo Spoelstra
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