Yes I am aware that this is a site focusing on true school hip-hop at it's finest, but next to hip-hop my two favorite artists are without a doubt jazz legends Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Columbia Legacy has been milking the shit out of Miles' legacy, reissuing and remastering pretty much everything he recorded for the label and putting it out again and again. However, in 2007 they begun a genius series when they released the first installment in "The Bootleg Series", a series of beautiful box sets for the first time featuring previously unreleased Miles' concert sets spread out over 4 discs (two of the three sets so far have included a beautiful and clean DVD of a Davis Quintet performance). These are always a definite purchase for me and a great addition to the collection, even if I'm low on cash.
The first volume was a great document of 5 sets of Miles playing with his so called Second Great Quintet (Miles, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter) at George Wein's Newport Jazz Festival in 1967. Volume 2 was the first official Sony release of the so called "Lost Quintet" (Miles, Wayne Shorter, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Chick Corea) recorded in 1969 and spread over three CD:s and one DVD where the music was getting more and more free with only Miles reigning in the band for his very tight trumpet solos and themes. Volume 3 was a personal favorite of mine as it featured four CD:s of Miles after his transition into the "rock-jazz fusion" and was recorded at Bill Graham's rock club The Fillmore East over four nights in June 1969. A heavily edited verison of these four nights had been released as "Miles @ The Fillmore" in 1970 with about 20 minutes kept from each night - and Teo Macero editing out a lot of good stuff that for the first time was heard for full here. These four discs was filled to the damn limit with agressiveness and rawness that at the time probably left a lot of jazz listeners scratching thier heads at the time Miles now had two keyboards in his band, which added a lot of coloring to the music - Keith Jarret (Organ) and Chick Corea (Rhodes), plus Steve Grossman on Soprano Sax (to be honest I have no clue how he got to tour with Miles, I never cared the least for him),
Since each Volume has followed the chronological order I was expecting the 4th installment to be a collection of Miles concerts from his Japanese tour in 1975 with Miles, Mtume, Pete Cosey, Reggie Lucas, Sonny Fortune and Al Foster that produced the axcellent international live albums "Agharta"and "Pangaea" and countless bootleg recordings. This is my favorite Miles band, the sheer intensity and agressivity is just something most so called hard rock musicians couldn't handle. But now "The Bootleg Series Volume 4" has been anounced via Miles Davis official website at Legacy Recordings and instead of following the chronological order, this one takes it back right to the beginning for Miles and Columbia. "Miles Davis at Newport 1955-1975" is a four disc CD that follows Miles Davis and his various qunitets through the years 1955 to 1975 during 8 concert sets. I guess that since Volume One did include all five sets from 1967 from Newport that year will not be featured. Some cool trivia is that Miles Davis was kind of down and out of the jazz scene by the early '50s due to heavy heroin addiction, showing up late or not at all to gigs, etc. By 1955 he had kicked the habit at his father's cabin, cold turkey, and when he was invited up as part of an all star set that also featured Thelonious Monk (piano), Zoot Sims (tenor sax), Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax), Percy Heath (bass) and Connie Kay (drums) he performed the lead on the Monk composition "Round 'Bout Midnight" to standing ovations, definitely signing off that Miles was back with a venegance. Columbia producer George Avakian who was in the crowd that night immediatly rushed backstage and signed the trumpeter on the spot for a rather, for the time being, large sum, Miles first LP for Columbia would singal this performances importance as the album lead off with "Round About Midnight" and was even titled as such and immediatly became a bestseller. This box set will be another must buy for any serious Miles Davis collector like myself, as it follows the musical legends importance and transformation as an artist over a 20 year period. Rolling Stone got the honor to stream a preview of a 1966 performance of "Stella By Starlight" performed with the Second Great Quintet (mentioned above), which is an incredible take on the slow moving love ballad that Victor Young originally wrote. Two minutes in the band transforms it almost into unrecognizability, as Ashley Kahn tells Rolling Stone how the Quintet transforms the slow jam into a "high speed chase discarding any notion of mainting emotional consistency and reverence...". Take a listen below and pre-order the box at Amazon or iTunes which hits stores on July 17.