Monday, October 24, 2011


The Genius of Miles Davis is the most comprehensive and lavishly packaged collection ever dedicated to a single musical artist. Luxuriously packaged in a custom built, limited-edition Martin trumpet case, The Genius of Miles Davis presents the artist's complete body of work recorded for Columbia Records between 1955-1985 in 8 deluxe box sets, documenting every important phase of The Prince of Darkness's musical life.

Upon signing to Columbia Records in 1955, the restless genius embarked on a musical path that would find him spearheading every major musical movement of the second half of the 20th Century. No other musical artist would be as all-embracing, influential, and ever-changing, earning him the moniker, "The Picasso of Jazz." Whether attired in a Brooks Brothers suit elegantly embracing a heartbreaking ballad, or sporting bell bottoms and an Afro and playing pure fire, Miles Davis was the arbiter of all new sounds, new fashions, and the world of ineffable cool. All of this and so much more is captured in this ground-breaking collection. The Genius of Miles Davis is an unprecedented look into the life of an artist in constant flux, ever- breaking new stylistic ground, changing the social landscape, and in tireless pursuit of that mysterious and intangible quality we call "genius."

Miles Davis (1926-1991) was the only musician of the 20th Century to shape eight, clearly defined movements over the history of an art form. During a 30-year tenure for Columbia Records, he released over 50 extraordinary albums which were at the very vanguard of the music world. This incredibly fertile period on Columbia Records (1955-1985) would constitute the core of his life's work and come to embody The Genius of Miles Davis.

Between 1996-2007, Sony Music Entertainment released 8 deluxe Miles Davis box sets documenting in detail each of these very distinct musical movements. Each box came fitted with a custom-etched metal spine and a substantial book full of sweeping essays, testimonials from musicians, insightful analysis, discographical data, powerful, rarely-seen imagery, and endless amounts of previously unreleased music--all of which was meticulously remastered by Sony's leading engineers. This unparalleled series of box sets has been called the most ambitious reissue campaign in the history of the music industry, and received no less than 8 Grammy Awards.

The Genius of Miles Davis presents all of these collections, which are no longer available, each individually numbered to 1955, the year Miles singed to Columbia Records, the outer box is an exact replica of the trumpet case Miles used during his career. A special Miles Davis metal insignia adorns the outside cover. The interior is customized in lush blue velvet, and an iconic, noirish image of Miles adorns the inner wall. As the case is opened, there's Miles Davis in all his dark and mysterious beauty staring at you.

For the first time, this new collection brings together the eight deluxe multi-CD box sets that were known as The Miles Davis Series. Each volume—seven of which have collectible “metal spines"—explored a major phase of the artist's development from 1955 (Miles Davis & John Coltrane: The Complete Columbia Recordings 1955-1961) through 1975 (The Complete On The Corner Sessions). Each volume presented the music from various LPs, plus a wealth of previously unissued session material. The eight box sets, totaling 43 CDs of music, were originally released on Columbia/Legacy between 1996 and 2007, and won a total of eight Grammy Awards.

Several of the original box sets have sold out over the years, and have now been re-manufactured especially for this strictly limited-edition run of 2,000 copies of The Genius of Miles Davis. Presented in a replica of Miles' own trumpet case, a collectible objet d'art in and of itself, each package will include a number of extras: an exact replica of Miles' custom-made 'Gustat' Heim model 2 trumpet mouthpiece, a previously unseen and unavailable fine art lithograph by Miles, and a boutique quality t-shirt designed and manufactured exclusively by Trunk Ltd. for this package.

Weighing in at 21 pounds and individually numbered, The Genius of Miles Davis is destined to be a treasure in the hands of true Miles Davis aficionados. Note: The Genius of Milkes Davis includes the eight studio session box sets that encompass the bulk of his original studio albums from the '50s to the '70s. It does not include the various Columbia/Legacy live performance multi-CD box sets, for example The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965, released in 1995; or The Cellar Door Sessions 1970, released in 2005.

The signing of Miles Davis to Columbia Records made musical history in 1955. He continued to make musical history for decades to come, changing the course of jazz (and in the process, popular and avant-garde music) “four or five times," as he himself once quipped. There were important albums under his name in the late-1940s and '50s before his arrival at Columbia, and there were also notable albums after his years at Columbia, from 1986 until his death in 1991.

But Columbia Records became the repository of the overwhelming majority of the signature albums recorded by Miles in his lifetime, many of them with long-time producer and collaborator Teo Macero. These individual albums were gathered together in their entirety for the first time last year as The Complete Miles Davis Columbia Album Collection. A functional chest with removable lid housed the 52 single and double album titles (70 CDs of music in total), each packaged in a mini-LP CD cardboard replica of the original jacket, with original artwork and spine.

The Genius of Miles Davis is also the result of a unique collaborative partnership effort between the Miles Davis Estate and Sony Music, which includes the redesign of the website. It is now the first unified and regularly updated site highlighting all aspects of his life. The dynamic web environment is not specific to Columbia/Legacy and Sony Music, in that it will cover product releases by other companies as well. The website, featuring news and vital information, video content, merchandise, and exclusive photography, will also offer special daily and weekly deals.

The Genius of Miles Davis draws together more than a decade of studio archival research by jazz scholars, annotators, and reissue producers. Each of the box sets in The Miles Davis Series was anxiously greeted with raves by the critical establishment upon their release, and more than half of the box sets received at least one Grammy Award, some winning multiple Grammys. They are summarized as follows (in chronological order of the original music, not the Columbia/Legacy release dates):

Miles Davis & John Coltrane: The Complete Columbia Recordings 1955-1961: This 6-CD box set (released in 2000) won two Grammy Awards, Best Boxed Recording Package and Best Album Notes. Focus is on the evolution of Miles' so-called “first great quintet," comprising John Coltrane (tenor saxophone), Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums), with important contributions by Cannonball Adderley (alto saxophone), Bill Evans (piano), Wynton Kelly (piano), and Jimmy Cobb (drums)—these sessions encompass the music for the LPs 'Round About Midnight, Milestones, Jazz Track, Kind Of Blue, Someday My Prince Will Come, Miles & Monk At Newport, Jazz At the Plaza, and much more.

Miles Davis & Gil Evans: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings: The inaugural entry in The Miles Davis Series, this 6-CD box set (released in 1996) won three Grammy Awards, Best Historical Album, Best Album Notes, and Best Recording Package (Boxed), only the second time in Grammy history that was ever achieved. The partnership with Gil Evans spanned 1957 to 1968, and encompassed the music for the LPs Miles Ahead, Porgy And Bess, Sketches Of Spain, and Quiet Nights, but there is much more to be heard here.

Seven Steps: The Complete Columbia Recordings Of Miles Davis (1963-1964): This 7-CD box set (released in 2004) explores Miles' slow and careful development of his so-called “second great quintet," whose rhythm section comprised Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums). Saxophonist George Coleman is heard on most of the music for the LPs Seven Steps To Heaven, Quiet Nights, Miles Davis In Europe, My Funny Valentine, and Four & More; and Sam Rivers joined for Miles In Tokyo. But it is not until the final CD's Miles In Berlin that Wayne Shorter enters the picture and the classic quintet's lineup was finalized.

Miles Davis Quintet 1965-'68: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings: Actually the second entry in The Miles Davis Series, this 6-CD box set (released in 1998) won the Grammy Award for Best Album Notes. The “second great quintet" of Shorter, Hancock, Carter, and Williams remains an all-time jazz standard, as heard on the music for the LPs E.S.P., Miles Smiles, Sorcerer, Nefertiti, and Miles in the Sky, plus about half of Filles De Kilimanjaro and Water Babies.

The Complete In A Silent Way Sessions: This 3-CD box set (released in 2001) covers less than six months from September 1968 to February 1969. But it is one of the most critical periods in Miles' career, as he transitions away from the “second great quintet" of Shorter, Hancock, Carter, and Williams. They are all here, to be sure, on the rest of the music from Filles De Kilimanjaro and Water Babies recorded in September and November. But by the time the In A Silent Way LP came into being, the picture had changed to include Chick Corea (electric piano), Joe Zawinul (organ and electric piano), Dave Holland (bass), and most significantly, John McLaughlin (electric guitar).

The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions: The third entry in The Miles Davis Series, this 4-CD box set (released in 1998) won the Grammy Award for Best Boxed Recording Package, as it reprised the memorable cover art of the late Mati Klarwein. Again covering less than six months time—from August 1969 (the week after Woodstock) through February 1970—this is when the influence of Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, James Brown, Santana, and Marvin Gaye, as well as the Beatles' post-production editing pyrotechnics all came together for Miles. To his new quintet lineup of Shorter, Corea, Holland and Jack DeJohnette (drums), Miles often augmented the sessions with a dozen other players, among them: McLaughlin, Zawinul, Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet), Harvey Brooks (electric bass), Lenny White (drums), Don Alias (congas), and so on. The result was one of the greatest albums of Miles' career, and one of the most influential records in post-modern jazz and rock.

The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions: This 5-CD box set (released in 2003) won the Grammy Award for Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package. The Bitches Brew dates ended on February 6, 1970; these dates continue 12 days later and span less than four months through June. The difference is the greater role of McLaughlin (joined by 'free jazz' guitarist Sonny Sharrock), and the fiercer edginess of the music. The back-story was the contention for Muhammad Ali's heavyweight boxing title, and actor James Earl Jones' portrayal of turn-of-the-century black boxing champ Jack Jefferson in The Great White Hope (on Broadway and on film). All this was on Miles' mind in 1970, a year before Shaft ushered in a new breed of African-American hero.

The Complete On The Corner Sessions: This 6-CD box set (released in 2007) is the final entry in The Miles Davis Series and is also the latest chronologically. It jumps ahead two years to 1972, by which time the quintet lineups were a thing of the past, and Miles had transitioned into the funk-rock-influenced large-group that would define his style for the next two decades. The sessions are chronicled through mid-1975, and encompass the music of the LPs On The Corner (1972), Big Fun (1974), and Get Up With It (1974), although more than half the music on the box set was previously unissued at the time of its release three years ago.

Printed on the t-shirt included inside The Genius of Miles Davis is this quotation: “I can't play like anyone else, I can't fight like anyone else, I can't do ANYTHING like anyone else. I'm just myself."—MILES DAVIS. Over the course of these eight box sets and 43 remarkable CDs, his music is, indeed, like nothing else—but its haunting, turbulent, fearless, visionary, multi-faceted self.

Contents include:
  • 1x Trumpet / Carrying Case - an individually numbered, exact replica of Miles Davis Trumpet Case houses the collection.
  • 8x Box Sets - 43 CDs include 384 recordings documenting in detail each of Miles clearly defined movement over the history of his years at Columbia Records
  • 1x T-Shirt - custom designed Trunk Ltd. t-shirt.
  • 1x Lithograph - previously unpublished fine art lithograph of one of Miles's most striking paintings.
  • 1x Mouthpiece - exact replica of the "Gustat" Heim 2 mouthpiece used by Miles during his career.

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