Massive 43-CD Miles Davis Collection Announced
The consummate artistry of Miles Davis and the scope of his musical vision at Columbia Records is paid the ultimate tribute on The Genius of Miles Davis. For the first time, this new collection brings together the eight deluxe multi-CD box sets that were known as The Miles Davis Series. Each volume – seven of which have collectible "metal spines" – explored a major phase of the artist's development from 1955 (Miles Davis & John Coltrane: The Complete Columbia Recordings 1955-1961) through 1975 (The Complete On The Corner Sessions).
Each volume presented the music from various LPs, plus a wealth of previously unissued session material. The eight box sets, totaling 43 CDs of music, were originally released on Columbia/Legacy between 1996 and 2007, and won a total of eight Grammy Awards.
Several of the original box sets have sold out over the years, and have now been re-manufactured especially for this strictly limited-edition run of 2,000 copies of The Genius of Miles Davis. Presented in a replica of Miles' own trumpet case (21½" x 11" x 8"), a collectible objet d'art in and of itself, each package will include a number of extras: an exact replica of Miles' custom-made 'Gustat' Heim model 2 trumpet mouthpiece, a previously unseen and unavailable fine art lithograph by Miles, and a boutique quality t-shirt designed and manufactured exclusively by Trunk Ltd. for this package.
Weighing in at 21 pounds and individually numbered, The Genius of Miles Davis is destined to be a treasure in the hands of true Miles Davis aficionados. A D2C (Direct to Consumer) exclusive via GeniusOfMilesDavis.com, it is now available for pre-order at $1199.00 in advance of its September 14th release through Columbia/Legacy, a division of SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.
[Note: The Genius of Miles Davis includes the eight studio session box sets that encompass the bulk of his original studio albums from the '50s to the '70s. It does not include the various Columbia/Legacy live performance multi-CD box sets, for example The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965, released in 1995; or The Cellar Door Sessions 1970, released in 2005.]
The Genius of Miles Davis draws together more than a decade of studio archival research by jazz scholars, annotators, and reissue producers. Each of the box sets in The Miles Davis Series was anxiously greeted with raves by the critical establishment upon their release, and more than half of the box sets received at least one Grammy Award, some winning multiple Grammys. They are summarized as follows (in chronological order of the original music, not the Columbia/Legacy release dates):
Miles Davis & John Coltrane: The Complete Columbia Recordings 1955-1961: This 6-CD box set (released in 2000) won two Grammy Awards, Best Boxed Recording Package and Best Album Notes. Focus is on the evolution of Miles' so-called "first great quintet," comprising John Coltrane (tenor saxophone), Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums), with important contributions by Cannonball Adderley (alto saxophone), Bill Evans (piano), Wynton Kelly (piano), and Jimmy Cobb (drums) – these sessions encompass the music for the LPs 'Round About Midnight, Milestones, Jazz Track, Kind Of Blue, Someday My Prince Will Come, Miles & Monk At Newport, Jazz At the Plaza, and much more.
Miles Davis & Gil Evans: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings: The inaugural entry in The Miles Davis Series, this 6-CD box set (released in 1996) won three Grammy Awards, Best Historical Album, Best Album Notes, and Best Recording Package (Boxed), only the second time in Grammy history that was ever achieved. The partnership with Gil Evans spanned 1957 to 1968, and encompassed the music for the LPs Miles Ahead, Porgy And Bess, Sketches Of Spain, and Quiet Nights, but there is much more to be heard here.
Seven Steps: The Complete Columbia Recordings Of Miles Davis (1963-1964): This 7-CD box set (released in 2004) explores Miles' slow and careful development of his so-called "second great quintet," whose rhythm section comprised Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums). Saxophonist George Coleman is heard on most of the music for the LPs Seven Steps To Heaven, Quiet Nights, Miles Davis In Europe, My Funny Valentine, and Four & More; and Sam Rivers joined for Miles In Tokyo. But it is not until the final CD's Miles In Berlin that Wayne Shorter enters the picture and the classic quintet's lineup was finalized.
Miles Davis Quintet 1965-'68: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings: Actually the second entry in The Miles Davis Series, this 6-CD box set (released in 1998) won the Grammy Award for Best Album Notes. The "second great quintet" of Shorter, Hancock, Carter, and Williams remains an all-time jazz standard, as heard on the music for the LPs E.S.P., Miles Smiles, Sorcerer, Nefertiti, and Miles in the Sky, plus about half of Filles De Kilimanjaro and Water Babies.
The Complete In A Silent Way Sessions: This 3-CD box set (released in 2001) covers less than six months from September 1968 to February 1969. But it is one of the most critical periods in Miles' career, as he transitions away from the "second great quintet" of Shorter, Hancock, Carter, and Williams. They are all here, to be sure, on the rest of the music from Filles De Kilimanjaro and Water Babies recorded in September and November. But by the time the In A Silent Way LP came into being, the picture had changed to include Chick Corea (electric piano), Joe Zawinul (organ and electric piano), Dave Holland (bass), and most significantly, John McLaughlin (electric guitar).
The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions: The third entry in The Miles Davis Series, this 4-CD box set (released in 1998) won the Grammy Award for Best Boxed Recording Package, as it reprised the memorable cover art of the late Mati Klarwein. Again covering less than six months time – from August 1969 (the week after Woodstock) through February 1970 – this is when the influence of Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, James Brown, Santana, and Marvin Gaye, as well as the Beatles' post-production editing pyrotechnics all came together for Miles. To his new quintet lineup of Shorter, Corea, Holland and Jack DeJohnette (drums), Miles often augmented the sessions with a dozen other players, among them: McLaughlin, Zawinul, Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet), Harvey Brooks (electric bass), Lenny White (drums), Don Alias (congas), and so on. The result was one of the greatest albums of Miles' career, and one of the most influential records in post-modern jazz and rock.
The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions: This 5-CD box set (released in 2003) won the Grammy Award for Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package. The Bitches Brew dates ended on February 6, 1970; these dates continue 12 days later and span less than four months through June. The difference is the greater role of McLaughlin (joined by 'free jazz' guitarist Sonny Sharrock), and the fiercer edginess of the music. The back-story was the contention for Muhammad Ali's heavyweight boxing title, and actor James Earl Jones' portrayal of turn-of-the-century black boxing champ Jack Jefferson in The Great White Hope (on Broadway and on film). All this was on Miles' mind in 1970, a year before Shaft ushered in a new breed of African-American hero.
The Complete On The Corner Sessions: This 6-CD box set (released in 2007) is the final entry in The Miles Davis Series and is also the latest chronologically. It jumps ahead two years to 1972, by which time the quintet lineups were a thing of the past, and Miles had transitioned into the funk-rock-influenced large-group that would define his style for the next two decades. The sessions are chronicled through mid-1975, and encompass the music of the LPs On The Corner (1972), Big Fun (1974), and Get Up With It (1974), although more than half the music on the box set was previously unissued at the time of its release three years ago.
Printed on the t-shirt included inside THE GENIUS OF MILES DAVIS is this quotation: "I can't play like anyone else, I can't fight like anyone else, I can't do ANYTHING like anyone else. I'm just myself." – MILES DAVIS. Over the course of these eight box sets and 43 remarkable CDs, his music is, indeed, like nothing else – but its haunting, turbulent, fearless, visionary, multi-faceted self.
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