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Friday, July 17, 2015

CD Review: Miles Davis @ Newport 1955-1975 - THE BOOTLEG SERIES VOL. 4

(Press release)
Miles Davis’ 20-year association as an artist at impresario George Wein’s renowned Newport Jazz Festival is a thriving tradition that will be celebrated with the release of MILES DAVIS AT NEWPORT 1955-1975: THE BOOTLEG SERIES VOL. 4.  The four-CD box set, comprised of live performances by Miles’ stellar band line-ups in 1955, 1958, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1973, and 1975, in Newport, Rhode Island, New York City, Berlin, and Switzerland, will be the lynchpin for a 60th anniversary commemorative weekend of events at this summer’s annual Newport Jazz Festival (July 31, August 1 & 2).  Ahead of the festival, MILES DAVIS AT NEWPORT 1955-1975will be available everywhere on Friday, July 17 -- 60 years to the date since Davis’ breakthrough performance at Newport in 1955 -- through Columbia/Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. 
The newest entry in Columbia/Legacy Recordings’ critically-acclaimed Miles Davis Bootleg SeriesNEWPORT 1955-1975 clocks in at 296 minutes, nearly four hours of which is previously unreleased.  From Miles’ debut performance at NJF in 1955 (a hastily arranged jam session featuring Thelonious Monk and Gerry Mulligan, that immediately led to the trumpeter’s Columbia signing), to his final public perform­ance of the ’70s in 1975 (at Lincoln Center during NJF-NY, the singular “Mtume” named for Miles’ favoured percussion­ist of that decade), the box set traces the ascendance of Miles’ music as the ne plus ultra of jazz.  The full-length concert performances alone of Miles’ famed “Kind Of Blue” Sextet (with Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb), and ‘second great quintet in ’66 and ’67 (with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams) represent templates that reverberate in jazz and popular music to this day.
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(Editor’s note): With five hours of playing time I’ve yet to find an opportunity to listen to the full collection (received via download) but what I’ve heard so far – the jam sessions with Zoot, Gerry, Monk etc. - is great stuff and with the sessions by the Kind of Blue band and the later groups to look forward to this one of the classic collections worthy of inclusion in anyone’s collection.

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