The three sets that grace this two-CD volume were recorded April 21, 1961 in San Francisco. Miles Davis was in his prime. His rhythm section was tight. And since this was a nightclub appearance, the quintet’s improvisation continues for extended periods. The tracks vary in length, but most run for ten minutes or more, giving the artists plenty of room to stretch out.
New technology continues to bring us better sound quality with every release, 24-bit Super Bit Mapping making a huge difference here. Not even that evening’s audience can say that they had a better listen. Balance, tone, and attention to detail keep things at a superior level.
Davis brought a spontaneity to his performances that must have left his audiences in awe. Who’d expect that Paul Chambers would be called upon for a second bass solo during “No Blues” that would lead to another round of fours with drummer Jimmy Cobb? That, of course, turned out to be a run-on into “Bye Bye.” Davis wasn’t about to stop the momentum and spoon-feed his audience with narrative comments.
Four of the tracks appearing here have never been issued before, and each of the three sets is presented in its performance order. Davis is at once familiar and brand new. Columbia’s new package honors the memory of the master in his prime through this well crafted reissue.