The recordings here once again come from radio/TV broadcasts, but they demonstrate the advance in recording techniques between 67 and 69. On the CDs the quality is near enough perfect, and the picture on the DVD is near pristine with sound to match! (I played mine through a blu-ray so there would have been some up-scaling, but the picture is very, very good).
So why are these recordings so important? The answer lies not in the fact that you have top musicians here (Davis, Shorter, Corea, Holland & DeJohnette), but in the fact that this particular quintet never recorded any studio sessions. Miles himself considered this a marvellous band and regretted that there were no available recordings. There is a quote from him on the enclosed written material which I am unable to reproduce here due to his colourful language! I am sure that he would be delighted that such brilliant recordings have been made available now.
So what of the music - well it is forceful, demanding, imaginative and stimulating in my opinion. Old favourites have new life injected into them (Milestones, Round Midnight) and the new material (Miles Runs The Voodoo Down, Bitches Brew) contain their urgent searching nature, but the versions here probably sound different to those better know ones. Unlike Vol 1, the drums & bass are well recorded here with Shorter playing as if his life depended upon it. In fact, I am almost tempted to say that Shorter is the star here, much as he is on The Complete Live At The Plugged Nickel 1965, although the big difference here is that Miles is on top form.
The packaging is similar to Vol 1 being a fold-out digipak, but it has the benefit of a slot to hold the folded poster with the written material on the reverse. A much better solution than the previous volume which simply has the booklet loose inside the digipak.
In summary, this collection of recordings is of historical importance for jazz lovers, and essential for fans of Miles - it is a bargain which should be snapped up at the first opportunity in my view!
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