Sunday, May 25, 2014

Miles Davis - Take Off: The Complete Blue Note Albums (Blue Note, 2014)

Miles Davis recorded for Blue Note for only a very short tenure, from 1952-1954, but it was at a very important turning point in his personal and professional life. After an apprenticeship with Charlie Parker and a successful stint recording a little heard but ultimately very influential nonet, Davis, like so many of his peers, fell into the clutches of narcotics addiction. From this period, Davis kind of drifted before kicking his demons and returning triumphant. But that's not to say that he wasn't making good music in this period. This set consists of three 10" albums: Young Man With a Horn, Miles Davis Vol. 2 and Miles Davis Vol. 3. Also included are a number of bonus tracks and alternate takes. He is surrounded by some of the heaviest hitters of the time (or any time, for that matter) like J.J. Johnson, Jackie McLean, Horace Silver and Art Blakey. The music is solid middle of the road hard-bop, nothing earth shattering perhaps (that would come a few years later) and it shows the band covering pop songs and bebop standards like "Dear Old Stockholm" and "Woody 'n' You" with strength of purpose and tight arrangements. Some of the participant's songs are also included like J.J. Johnson's brooding "Enigma" and Jimmy Heath's "C.T.A." Solos and full band performances are excellent and whatever problems Davis may have been facing he was able to rise to this level of his peers and move toward what would become his signature sound. This is a well presented package, 2 CD's and a liner essay, discographical data and some really wonderful photographs by Francis Wolff. This definitely worth picking up if you are fan of Miles Davis or well played hard-bop. Take Off: The Complete Blue Note Albums - amazon.com

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