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Miles Davis: Miles Davis at Newport 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4

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Even the most special, consistent performers can have venues where they grab a kind of inspired toehold and secure that next level. For an athlete like Michael Jordan, that venue was Madison Square Garden; for an equally dynamic jazz artist like Miles Davis, we’re talking the Newport Jazz Festival.

The metrics of this box are enough to get you pacing in excitement: four discs spanning 20 years, four cities and two continents, and featuring nearly four hours of officially unreleased music. Newport, in later years, became something of a roadshow festival, hence a November 1973 electric-raga set in Berlin, with Davis’ horn rejoicing in post-blues detonations, and an October 1971 Switzerland appearance with Keith Jarrett acting almost as de facto co-leader. Davis’ final pre-hiatus live appearance of the 1970s is also here, in “Mtume,” recorded at Lincoln Center. But we all know what the real fuss is about: the 1955 jam on “‘Round Midnight” with the solo that saved Davis’ career, the 1958 set from the Kind of Blue sextet, the 1966 and ’67 sets from the Second Great Quintet, and a 1969 appearance in which Davis and his crew essentially live workshop Bitches Brew.

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