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The Definitive Miles Davis On Prestige

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iTunes Review

Presented in chronological order, these brilliant tracks from Davis' five years with Prestige Records thrillingly document his growth as both soloist and bandleader. It's fascinating and delightful to hear how the master trumpeter progresses from the angular, speedy post-bop of "Morpheus" and the blithely hip "Four" to the bluesy strut of "Walkin'," arguably the birth of hard bop. And check his liquid tone on the aching "There Is No Greater Love" and his almost sinister, noir-ish first recording of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight."

Customer Reviews

Two-disc overview of Davis’ formative period as a leader

This 2-CD set looks at the catalog of trumpeter Miles Davis during his five year stay on Prestige. Davis had recorded numerous sides behind Charlie Parker and led a few one-off sessions, but it was at Prestige where he was first afforded the time to try out new groups, develop original material and evolve his sound across a series of albums. Disc one of this set cherry picks from his early albums, featuring a variety of lineups that variously include Sonny Rollins, Horace Silver, Charlie Parker, J.J. Johnson and Thelonious Monk. Also employed were a number of ace rhythm sections that included Max Roach, Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, Percy Heath and Paul Chambers. Disc two picks up in 1955, at a time when Davis was signed to both Prestige and Columbia, alternating releases between the two. By this point he’d organized a quintet lineup of Chambers, Jones, Red Garland and legend-in-the-making, John Coltrane.

The selections mix originals, standards and a few show tunes, such as Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” that provide launching pads for interesting explorations. Disc one shows off the variety of players with whom Davis made music, and often echoes the cooler West Coast sound he’d recorded a few years earlier for Capitol. Disc two is filled by the quintet that Davis put together for Columbia, and was then contractually obligated to share with Prestige. These tracks cover sessions from 1955-56 that were strategically released over the course of five years, starting with The New Miles Davis Quintet in ’56 and finishing up with Steamin’ in 1961. Given the high quality of many of Davis’ latter-day albums for Prestige, it’s difficult to say if these are all of the essential sides, but they do provide a good overview of the Davis’ growth as a leader, and a guide to the in-print original albums. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]


Born: May 26, 1926 in Alton, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Throughout a professional career lasting 50 years, Miles Davis played the trumpet in a lyrical, introspective, and melodic style, often employing a stemless Harmon mute to make his sound more personal and intimate. But if his approach to his instrument was constant, his approach to jazz was dazzlingly protean. To examine his career is to examine the history of jazz from the mid-'40s to the early '90s, since he was in the thick of almost every important innovation and stylistic development in the...
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