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The debut collection of Concord Music Group’s The Very Best of series will include the music of jazz legends like the Miles Davis Quintet, John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, Sonny Rollins, and Chet Baker. The new series is set for release this summer.
The Very Best of the Miles Davis Quintet captures the legendary trumpeter and his four luminary sidemen — saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones — during the mid 1950s, a pivotal period for Miles in particular and one of the most fertile periods in the evolution of jazz. Specifically, the tracks are culled from a series of sessions supervised by Prestige label head Bob Weinstock between November 1955 and October 1956.
“The performances on The Very Best of the Miles Davis Quintet are among the trumpeter’s first, most convincing steps — music with which he first established his reputation and most importantly, his identity,” says Ashley Kahn in his liner notes to the compilation. “At the midpoint of the 1950s, this was his first mature style — a composite of musical influences, balancing what could seem contradictory ideas: a bebopper who broke through to mainstream awareness as a romantic balladeer, a singer who sang not with words but a trumpet.”
The collection captures Miles’s quintet “at the top of their game,” says Kahn, “just before he ended a five-year run with the small independent Prestige label, and departed for the big leagues — namely Columbia Records. This is the music that first earned him national attention, and that continued to do so even after Miles shifted to Columbia; Prestige’s stockpiling strategy meant that many of these recordings only became publicly available well into the 1960s. In the end, these sides proved part of a solid foundation to a career that would reach higher and higher over the next thirty-five years.”