Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Holiday Gift Guide: Miles Davis

Miles Davis (trumpet; b. 1926 - d. 1991)
The Complete Columbia Album Collection

So this is for the person who has allot of money, the collector, or the best gift you could give friend. The Complete Columbia Album Collection sums up a large majority of Miles' career. It captures him during in his peak and most influential period. All 52 albums he recorded for Columbia are included, from the seminal Kind Of Blue, Bitches Brew to Man With The Horn, are housed in a sturdy box with a DVD and lavish booklet.

Now I don't normally get excited about massive boxed sets like this but this is an opportunity for someone to get the most important albums by one artist in one quick swoop. Yes, it's expensive--really expensive, but I think its almost worth it. There are also two other reason to pick this up. First, it includes a rare album of recordings with the underrated pianist, Tad Dameron. While this album highlights Miles' trumpet it also educates those unfamiliar with this wonderfully talented but drug afflicted pianist. Secondly, the set features Live At The Isle Of Wright 1970, recorded during the year of the Jack Johnson album release, which saw the every expanding group go through a series of frenetic and phenomenal sets that also produced the albums Live Evil and Live At Filmore. While some of the 70s material can take allot of the listener it is important to remember that very few other musicians where exploring the mixture of rock and jazz to the degree that Miles was at this time.

Miles Davis retired for a short while after being taken ill in the late 70s and didn't return to action until 1981. This period produced some great material that still needs a little more time to be digested but it was also a time when Miles returned to prominence amongst the masses not just the jazz community. This period is when he recorded Man With The Horn and Your Under Arrest, the latter featuring the now famous renditions of Cyndi Laupers "Time After Time" and Michael Jackson's "Human Nature". Don't laugh, these are actually quite good recordings and became staples in Miles' live performances until his passing.

The Complete Columbia Album Collection is allot of money and might only be for the fanatic and would probably take someone at least a week to listen to the whole thing but its worth it. For those who can't spend the heavy price tag I would suggest a compilation I've recommended before which is The Essential Miles Davis (Columbia) which is a 2 disc set that covers tracks from every label he recorded for and is probably the most concise Miles Davis compilation available. Happy shopping everyone.

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