Thursday, December 02, 2004

Miles Davis' The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel

I've been listening to Miles Davis' The Complete Live At The Plugged Nickel all week. Awesome. A tour-de-force. Recorded in Dec. 1965 during a two-night gig at Chicago's legendary Plugged Nickel, it features Davis' best quintet--Davis, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, and Ron Carter. As much as I love Davis' earlier quintets and sextets with Coltrane, this quintet is tighter and musician-for-musician more talented. At his peak, Coltrane had no peers, but Coltrane was still coming into is own when he was with Miles. And it is a toss up between Bill Evans and Hancock, but Evans really only played on Kind of Blue. But comparing these two great combos is like comparing King Lear to Hamlet.

The music on these 8 cds ranges from lyrical to avant-garde, from stark and singular to lush and multifaceted. But most of all the music is a collection of improvisational masterpieces.

I highly recommend it. Give it a listen. Put it on your Christmas list (it isn't cheap).

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