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Miles Davis/John Coltrane: The Complete Columbia Recordings

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With his quintet and sextets in the last half of the 1950s, Miles Davis charted the course of modern jazz. Davis, Bill Evans and John Coltrane-stunningly original minds-set agendas that jazz musicians have followed ever since. Modal and scalar improvisation had led a scattered existence in jazz. With “Milestones” and later the Kind of Blue session, it entered the mainstream. The sextet’s application of modal changes, with Evans as Davis’ theorist partner, served as fundamental inspiration for Coltrane’s use of fewer harmonic guideposts following the ultimate chord packing of his “Giant Steps” period. Virtually all players and writers who emerged after 1960 developed under the omnipresent influence of Davis, Coltrane and Evans. The thinking in Davis’ bands germinated approaches that have not changed significantly in four decades. Miles Davis With John Coltrane: The Complete Columbia Recordings documents the development of those approaches.

Even without its 14 previously unissued alternate takes, this six-CD package would be invaluable as a tool for musicians, teachers, historians and critics tracing the development of Davis’ music. Aside from its documentary worth, however, the package provides enormously satisfying, entertaining and instructive listening. From the first Columbia recordings of the quintet in 1955 through the final sextet sessions of 1961, the power and expressiveness of Davis, Coltrane, Evans, Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, Philly Joe Jones and Jimmy Cobb mesmerize the listener.

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