There are a confusing number of versions of the Black Hawk concert available from individual discs of the Friday and Saturday nights to a full four disc complete box set. I chose this version to hear the concerts as originally released on vinyl - after working my way through most of the man's 1950's studio output it was time to hear him in an intimate setting. Performed specifically with recording in mind this 1961 concert captures Miles on cracking form in a club atmosphere, indeed the Black Hawk was chosen specifically for that purpose. The performances crackle with energy - how could they have captured this clarity of sound with this antiquated technology? The point is they did, and we should be grateful for it. A fine set that makes me want to save up for the bigger box.
These sets, performed with recording in mind, were new ground for jazz musician Miles Davis, who had never previously been recorded live in a club with his combo. Material from the four sets was first released in 1961 by Columbia Records on two albums, titled In Person Friday Night at the Blackhawk and In Person Saturday Night at the Blackhawk (Vol.2). Although those albums were subsequently re-rereleased several times, the complete sets were not commercially available until Sony Records released a 4 CD collection using the original master tapes for both events. Not Now Music has the 2 original albums across 2 CDs. The personnel include bassist Paul Chambers who was the one constant in Miles' band from 1955 to 1960. The atmosphere captured at this small San Francisco jazz club brings to life one of the great exponents of many styles such as bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, and jazz fusion. The highly informative liner notes are by John Voysey and this attractively packaged set is a great addition to the existing Miles Davis CDs available on the Not Now Music label.