|Design||Art direction: Arnold Levine and Janet Boye|
|Notes||Do you ever compile lists in your head of your all time top 10s, desert island disc-style? If you’re a fan of this site, I’d say there’s a chance you do :-) Well, one of my perennial rhetorical questions is – if I could only take one Miles Davis box which would it be? It’s a real struggle between this one, the Coltrane/Miles one, the On The Corner or the Jack Johnson ones. The Bitches Brew box has even entered the fray lately as I’ve opened up to the incredible longform pieces it contains like Orange Lady, Great Expectations, Yaphet, Lonely Fire and the others. At the moment though, with a gun to my head (yes, these rhetorical questions are serious…) I’m leaning towards Miles’ Second Great Quintet. I won’t attempt to add to the superlatives heaped on this group… okay I can’t resist – the music here is utterly breathtaking in its angular modernity, incredible sense of space and interplay, sheer poetics, dark grace and deep, deep blues. This is the very top of the mountain.
I love how this box reveals the group’s incredible development from its debut, E.S.P., through to the first side of Filles De Kilimanjaro in a mere handful of years. I’m not often a fan of alternate and aborted takes, but every last moment of these five artists is essential.
Design-wise this takes its lead from its predecessor, Seven Steps though it doesn’t push the boat out quite as far. The linen cover, the metallic spine and the black and white composite image are lovely. I’m not quite so sure about the treatment of the CD sleeves, but I feel privileged to own and know this music. Thank you Miles.
6 CDs, 7 hours, 21 minutes and 17 seconds.
|Also||- Miles Davis – Seven Steps: The Complete Columbia Recordings of Miles Davis 1963-64
- Miles Davis and Gil Evans – The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings
- Miles Davis and John Coltrane – The Complete Columbia Recordings 1955-1961