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Seven Steps to Heaven CD

4.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 April 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000026ECN
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,570 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Following the departure of Jimmy Cobb, Trane, Julian Adderley and others in the early 1960s after the KoB period, `Seven Steps to Heaven' was recorded in LA and in NYC in 1963 and is often described as a `transitional album' for Miles. Others point out that everything Miles ever recorded was in some way `transitional', as he never let the grass grow under his feet and was always on his way to somewhere new.

What is certain is that `Seven Steps to Heaven' is one beautiful album full of cool, stretched-out ballads. It usually fails to make Miles' defining discography of `milestones' only because no new ground was broken, no definitive new style established. However the music is absolutely first class, ambient and repeat-listenable in the way of KoB and `In a Silent Way'.

The musicians:

* On tracks 2, 4 & 6 Herbie Hancock plays piano and Tony Williams is on drums (both destined to become members of Miles' great quintet in the mid-sixties)

* All remaining tracks feature Victor Feldman on keyboards and Frank Butler on drums

* George Coleman plays some fine sax

* Ron Carter plays bass on all tracks

All in all a great album and a fine, mellow mood-piece from the period preceding Miles' move towards jazz-fusion resulting in the great defining masterworks `In a Silent Way' and the seminal `Bitches Brew'.

It's good. If you like Miles Davis, and particularly the more mellow ballads, you'll love it.
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Format: Audio CD
I find it hard to believe that there are no other reviews. This is definitely one of the best of his middle phase before he moved off to the fusion/rock. I bought this as a vinyl LP in the 60s when I was still at school. It did not have the bonus tracks that the current cd has. This is important because the very best track is "Summer night" I believe this was also issued on a later edition of "Quite Nights" It is gorgeous!.....up there with "Blue in Green" "My Funny Valentine". Miles himself knew he had produced a masterpiece. "Teo I'll do another one but I want to listen to that one!" says Miles at the end of that track.

St Louis Blues is played really slow and is exquisite. Miles was between groups it seems. We have the great Frank Butler/Tony Williams on drums and Herbie Hancock and Vic Feldman on piano. Vic wrote the title tune.

This is what jazz should be...an art form.
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Although I probably have more Miles Davis in my record collection than anything else, I'd always considered this as a transitional record and therefore in some ways inferior. Whilst it is difficult to shake the idea of this being a record with a West Coast band assembled for a studio session coupled with the 80% complete "Second quintet" that may have been recorded within a relatively short period of time, this sells this record considerably short. Given that the second quintet was so great, it might be assumed that this record is in someway inferior. I'd have to say that it is actually far better than the debut "ESP" disc and whilst the tracks like "Seven steps to heaven" might be seem as Miles' farewell to be-bop, this record's strength actually lies in those tracks where Miles is working as the sole horn soloist.

This is not to say that the up-tempo numbers are in anyway inferior. The title track, "Joshua" and the under-rated "So near, so far" are brilliant - even the West coast work out of the latter isn't bad despite the revelatory manner in which the same tune is re-cast by Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams on the most recent take. However, it has to be said that the ballad performances are nothing short of sensational.

Quite how come "Basin Street Blues" is not celebrated as a classic performance is beyond me. The rhythm section and British pianist Victor Feldman produce the kind of cushion that allowed what I would consider to be some of Mile's most perfect trumpet work to be performed. Every nuance and timbre of his playing is displayed on this track and the same goes for "Baby won't you please come home" - almost unrecognisable from the jazz standard first performed by McKinney's cotton-pickers in about 1929.
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This is without doubt one of Miles' most overlooked and under-appreciated albums.

Certainly it is his last truly straight-ahead 'jazz' (as most people know it) albums - and there really isn't any sign of what was to come - but it is, as the other reviewers have stated, an absolutely peerless, top quality collection of cool ballads and standards.

I find it hard to believe as I have read in other places that Miles was at a crossroads or transitional stage, my feeling this album is that he enjoyed himself, but knew where he was going next, so this was kind of the last cocktail party.

The players all work beautifully together, and Miles' muted horn is beyond compare.

If you were looking for a first step into Miles Davis, these 7 steps are a brilliant place to start. But be warned. If you LOVE this - if you go to his next album E.S.P., it is an altogether different beast totally. Better to go back to one of the other truly understated masterpieces like Someday My Prince Will Come or - of course - Kind Of Blue.
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