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Miles Davis - Miles Davis Quintet: The Complete Studio Recordings, 1965-'68 CD (album) cover

MILES DAVIS QUINTET: THE COMPLETE STUDIO RECORDINGS, 1965-'68

Miles Davis

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.96 | 9 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
5 stars The best way to trace the astonishing evolution of Miles Davis from cool jazz artiste to avant-rock agitator is to travel back in time to before the epiphany of 'Bitches Brew', and explore his jazz roots. And the best method for jump-starting that epic journey is with this comprehensive boxed set, which collects every studio session of the trumpeter's legendary Second Great Quintet (Davis, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams) and arranges them in chronological order over six full compact discs.

The complete set includes five studio albums, from 'ESP' through 'Miles in the Sky', plus unreleased songs and alternate takes, as well as material from the same era first heard years later in the arbitrary anthologies of 'Water Babies' (1976) and 'Directions' (1981), here placed in proper context. Altogether it adds up to a whopping fifty-six total tracks and 440 minutes of peerless jazz performance: a vast amount of music to digest in a single sitting, but an essential slice of musical history in the making.

However it isn't until the midpoint of Disc Four that the first hints of true Fusion occur, in the gently epic 33-minute 'Circle in the Round' (a full seven minutes longer than the version released over a decade later on the compilation album of the same name). Joe Beck's electric guitar was only a tentative addition to the quintet, but its effect here, after more than three hours of straight acoustic jazz, is almost startling.

Traditional jazz purists will of course hear this as the Beginning of the End. And doctrinaire Prog Rock fans may find themselves well out of their comfort zone, always a good place for any true Proghead to be. Davis was still a long way from the revelation of 'Bitches Brew', and even further from the thermonuclear street funk of 'On the Corner'. By the end of this massive collection the music isn't discernibly different than it was at the start, and yet a threshold has been well and truly crossed.

Neu!mann | 5/5 |

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