Despite the presence of classic tracks like Joe Zawinul's "Great Expectations," Big Fun feels like the compendium of sources it is. These tracks are all outtakes from other sessions, most notably Bitches Brew, On the Corner, and others. The other element is that many of these tracks appeared in different versions elsewhere. These were second takes, or the unedited takes before producer Teo Macero and Miles were able to edit them, cut and paste their parts into other things, or whatever. That is not to say the album should be dismissed.
In 1985, Miles Davis shocked the music world by moving from Columbia to Warner Bros.. He immediately started working on an album called Perfect Way after a tune by Scritti Politti, later renamed Tutu by producer Tommy LiPuma. When Tutu (a tribute to Desmond Tutu) was released in 1986, it re-ignited Miles Davis’ career, crossing over into the rock and pop markets and winning him two Grammy Awards. A definitive collection of the later part of Miles Davis’ work, lavishly packaged and remastered, from the Warner Bros studio albums Tutu, Amandla and Doo-Bop, the Dingo and Siesta soundtracks, live recordings with Quincy Jones, and the likes of Kenny Garrett, Foley and Adam Holzman.
Miles Away, a compilation of songs by Miles Davis. Released in 2008 on Not Now Music. On top of that, the sound is alright, the packaging is elegant (a fold-out digipak, with cool b&w photos of Miles beneath each disc), and we even get brief, informative liner notes. Not Now Music are getting dangerously good at this budget comp thing.
THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA STUDIO RECORDINGS compiles all of Miles Davis' collaborations with composer/arranger Gil Evans. Included are the original and alternate versions of the four albums that Davis and Evans made together–MILES AHEAD, PORGY AND BESS, SKETCHES OF SPAIN and QUIET NIGHTS–as well as various outtakes and unreleased tracks. More than half of the material is previously unreleased. THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA STUDIO RECORDINGS won 1997 Grammy Awards for Best Historical Album, Best Album Notes (by George Avakian, Bob Belden, Bill Kirchner and Phil Schaap), and Best Recording Package - Boxed.
For nearly half a century, Miles Davis (1926-1991) was arguably the preeminent innovator in jazz - rarely staying in the same place twice, experimenting with the most cutting-edge styles and ideas he could imagine. This year, some of Miles' most enduring works for Columbia Records are collected the way they were originally heard: MILES DAVIS: THE ORIGINAL MONO RECORDINGS. Each CD, newly remastered by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios, is housed in a mini-LP replica jacket, faithfully replicating the original LP sleeves. They are encased in a quality slipcase, alongside a 40-page booklet with rare photos and brand-new essay offering in-depth, first-hand accounts from George Avakian, who signed Miles to Columbia in 1955, AND play-by-play from mastering engineer Mark Wilder. This is the true genius of Miles Davis as most people first heard it, the way it was intended to be heard: in mono.
Produced with loving care by Claude Nobs, founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival, with no edits or overdubs, this document of Miles Davis's Montreux performances shows through never-before-released material how Miles and company transformed his music live, with their fire, invention, and interplay. The list of sidemen on these dates is a who's who of today's superstars, including saxophonist Dave Liebman, guitarists John Scofield and Robben Ford, keyboardists Adam Holzman and Kei Akagi, bassist Michael Henderson, and percussionist Mtume. Most of the music on these discs features versions of Davis's fusion "hits." The funky and R&B-ish ditty "Ife" and the bouncy "Calypso Frelimo" are rendered with more gusto than their studio versions, as are the in-the-pocket, mid-'80s tunes "Star People" and "New Blues." A package this big has more than a few surprises, however. Chaka Khan lends her powerful pipes to Davis's unique cover of the Michael Jackson sleeper, "Human Nature," and "Al Jarreau" is an upbeat (though too short) tribute to the great vocalise master.
This CD reissue features trumpeter Miles Davis with three different pickup recording groups that are full of fellow all-stars. "Tune-Up," "Miles Ahead," "When Lights Are Low" (which uses slightly different chord changes than its composer Benny Carter originally intended), and "Smooch" find Davis joined by pianist John Lewis (Charles Mingus plays piano on "Smooch"), bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Max Roach. With pianist Horace Silver, bassist Heath, and drummer Art Blakey offering solid accompaniment, Davis introduces "Four" and performs "Old Devil Moon" and "Blue Haze." Finally, with altoist Dave Schildkraut, Silver, Heath, and drummer Kenny Clarke, Miles jams through "I'll Remember April." Although not as essential as the trumpeter's classic Quintet records of 1955-1956, several of the performances (most notably "Tune-Up" and "Four") are quite memorable, and the straight-ahead playing is of consistently high quality.