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Circle in the Round [2 Disc Set]

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Audio CD, December 29, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Unavailable in the U.S.! Two CD collection of extended alternate takes and unreleased material spanning Miles' acoustic bands of the '50s through his electric bands of the early '70s. Features musical assistance from Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Herbie Hancock, Red Garland, Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Billy Cobham, Ron Carter, Jack De Johnette and many others. 10 tracks. Sony.

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Circle offers a sweeping anthology of MIles Davis recordings from 1955 to 1970 that show the restless genius of jazz undergoing swift changes as thoroughgoing as the era where they took place. "Two Bass Hit" was recorded at his first Columbia session. "Love for Sale" features the "Kind of Blue" lineup of John Coltrane on tenor, Cannonball Adderley on alto, Bill Evans on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums. The title track shows Miles stretching into new conceptual worlds with Wayne Shorter on tenor, Herbie Hancock on celeste, Ron Carter on bass, Tony Williams on drums, and Joe Beck on guitar. The set closes with Miles's fusion band playing an atmospheric version of David Crosby's "Guinnevere." --John Swenson
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3:42
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2
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11:48
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6:47
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4
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26:15
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Disc 2
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5:55
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2
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4:57
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3
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3:33
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4
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8:30
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5
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8:48
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 29, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000027ER
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,086 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dennis G. Voss Jr. on December 21, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Miles Davis had many strengths as a trumpet player and soloist, but he was not alone in that respect. What made him unique -- and I use the term literally, to mean no one rivalled him -- was his ability to bring together talented musicians and get the best from them. Often the work they did for him outmatched what they issued under their own names. And as band leader Miles managed to craft recordings that reflected the popular music of the times and yet always rose above it. If you'd like to get a sampling of how Miles pulled off this feat, "Circle in the Round" might be for you.

But be forewarned: This is an album of scraps, recordings initially rejected for one reason or another by Miles and his producers. My point is not that the music generally falls below standards; sometimes tunes fell by the wayside for reasons that had nothing to do with their quality. My point is only that, because it recycles previous sessions, this album covers a wide time period and a great variety of styles. I suspect that, in this age of the CD, "Circle" doesn't have much use anymore. Casually interested people should buy the stronger and more-unified albums, and completists can find the recordings in better packages.

For those interested, though, I'll give you the breakdown of songs:

1) Two Bass Hit (mid 50's): An outtake from the early post-bop sessions with his First Great Quintet, which produced the album "'Round About Midnight." It's included as a bonus track on that album's recent releases.

2) Love for Sale (late 50's): An outtake from the sextet period, sitting right on the border between the post-bop hit "Milestones" and the seminal cool-jazz "Kind of Blue." An album called "'58 sessions" now includes this performance.

3) Blues No.
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Format: Audio CD
I don't remember what led me to buy this CD, but I'm glad I did. Fans of Miles Davis should most certainly have it. It has this surreal, amorphous feel to it, if one can describe music like that... as if Miles is searching, probing for something. For those introspective moments we have, perhaps late at night, the collection of tracks here are wonderfully apt. And it really grows on you.

All the tracks are very good, but the last track, "Guinnevere," in particular, is alone worth the price of this double-CD set. It is a pretty long track (18 minutes and change), but not long enough...
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Format: Audio CD
I honestly don't know why this album is not more popular than it is, but as a primer for Miles' middle period of work, this is just about as good as it gets. What makes it superb is that although it covers styles from at least three of his classic albums ("Kind of Blue", "Sketches of Spain" and "In A Silent Way") it doesn't contain material from any one of them. But this isn't a duff collection of out takes and other things better left unsaid. On the contrary, I think this LP contains some of the best stuff he has ever done. Quite why "Love For Sale" hasn't become a major Miles track along with all of "Kind of Blue" I'll never know - I can't think of a performance in which he and Cannonball Adderley play so tightly together. There are some long numbers, sure ("Circle in The Round" is a hypnotic track in the style of his "Sketches of Spain" LP) but none that won't keep your attention throughout. Glorious stuff that will have you hungry for the original albums. If you don't have them already, of course.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It means the Quintet recording these sessions (Circle) leaves exhausts that fuels a new direction in music. That's because Miles never wanted this disc to be released. Didn't think it was up to measure. However, what we get upon a listen is a sonic, angular brilliance so fresh and new. It meets the rigor of the level of greatness his best work portends. Recommended listening for anyone not familiar with this direction in sound. Both tonality and nuance, the trajectory of this music is so innovative without the endeavor of 'making a hit record'. Circle is music for the soul of a people exhausted from the rat race, the disposable society, and the mediocrity. This music disarms and allows room for our suffocated souls to energize and re-set. Circle calibrates the senses to a tone which promotes renewal for any fan of diverse music genres. Don't take my word. Get it. Listen. Experience.
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Format: MP3 Music
Being a big seventies rock music fan, I have found Miles Davis Electric period absolutely fascinating, but have unfortunately exhausted his catalogue from this period. So I have now arrived at “Circle in the round”.
The first three tracks “Two Bass Hit”, “Love for Sale” & “Blue No.2” are tradition (as tradition as you can with Davis) acoustic jazz pieces, quite up tempo, but not really my cup of tea.
The highlight of the album is “Circle in the Round” a 28-minute opus, featuring a Spanish style riff played on electric guitar drone like (but in a good way) throughout the entire piece (reminding me a little of The Doors “Spanish Caravan”).
Because of the songs length, Davis lets the Drums, Sax & bass all take centre stage at different periods in the track, giving the piece different moods throughout.
“Circle in..” is got to be one of Davis strongest song, & so is absolutely baffling why the track was never placed on one of his studio albums (or played live), it may be it’s length, as this was the era of vinyl records.
The other stand out song on the record is Davis interpretation of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Guinnevere”, laid back & improvising around the songs melody, & would not have looked out of place on albums such as “Live Evil” or “Big Fun”. Davis was a bit of a creative sponge when it came to contemporary influences (legend has it that a friend of Davis took him to the Cinema to see the “Monterey Pop Festival, where upon seeing Hendrix’s performance, decide to put together his own rock band).
The rest of the tracks on the album have the feel of out-takes from the “Miles in the Sky”, “Water Babes” & “Kilimanjaro”, interesting to hear this transitional period of Davis career, but nothing outstanding.
So I would suggest you purchase the rest of Miles Davis Electric Period first, but the title track is worth the admittance fee alone.
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