Miles Davis

In the 18 months captured in this seven-disc set, Miles Davis is between milestones. His astonishing early-'60s sextet (which gave us, among other things, the seminal Kind of Blue) is no more, and he is searching for what will eventually become his groundbreaking mid-'60s quintet. The collection encompasses an exhaustive (and exhausting) time period when Davis deconstructs his canon on a variety of stages (most of the music is live) with the help of a variety of sidemen. We've lost count of how many of these dazzling deluxe editions of Miles Davis' Columbia work Sony has produced, and it would be tempting to chide the multinational for its shameless efforts to repackage the dead star, if only it weren't so damned good at it. Davis is one of only a few 20th-century musical icons worthy of the lavish enshrinement.
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Jeff Hinkle