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The Complete Live At The Plugged Nickel 1965 Box set, Live

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Audio CD, Box set, Live, July 18, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965 is a compact disc box set of the Miles Davis Quintet, recorded on December 22 and 23, 1965, and released on Legacy Records in July 1995, catalogue CK 66955. It comprises recordings of seven performance sets over the two nights by the second great Davis quintet at the now-defunct Plugged Nickel nightclub in Chicago Personnel Miles Davis - trumpet Wayne Shorter - tenor saxophone Herbie Hancock - piano Ron Carter - bass Tony Williams - drums

This eight-CD set captures Miles Davis's second great quintet at its fiercest, loose with both the blossoming of familiarity between the players and the broadness of its attacks on the mostly well known tunes the group called during two nights at Chicago's Plugged Nickel in 1965. And you can hear it all, from "The Theme" that closed the quintet's sets to multiple, radically different takes of several tunes. Davis formed this band with just its heated potential in mind, opting for youth in Wayne Shorter's tenor sax, Herbie Hancock's piano, Ron Carter's bass, and, especially, Tony Williams's unlocked rhythmic energy. It does the mind good when listening to these takes on "If I Were a Bell," "Stella by Starlight," and the polarizing "All Blues" and "No Blues" that Williams was under 20 when punching this group's forward motion. These live shows make clear that Davis was a savvy cat, sticking to the tried 'n' true when playing live and then indulging new tunes that eschewed formulaic jazz structures on the string of his new quintet's explosive studio recordings that began months earlier with E.S.P. (all of them found on the Grammy-winning Complete Columbia Studio Sessions, 1965-'68 box set). But the Plugged Nickel tunes show that familiar or not, these tunes are platforms for scrappy creative apexes when played live. Davis's trumpet is typically midrange, except when he deconstructs even his own range limitations with squawks and artful miscues. Shorter braves convolutions that tear into his tone, taking his solos far afield from the harmony and melodies at hand only to reshape the tunes. As live jazz, this collection is possibly some of the best in recorded history, adventurous without leaving the ears boxed and powerfully enlightening about where Miles Davis would go in the 1960s. --Andrew Bartlett

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 18, 1995)
  • Original Release Date: July 18, 1995
  • Number of Discs: 8
  • Format: Box set, Live
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000002B01
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,816 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

136 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Blehar on October 22, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I'm a rock and roll obsessed teenager - look at my reviews, and you'll see me gushing about Radiohead, Bob Dylan, The Clash, R.E.M., and Elvis Costello. Which means that I feel somewhat out of my depth trying to recommend The Complete Live At The Plugged Nickel 1965 to anyone - I know very little about jazz, and my (growing) collection would look psychotic to anyone who does: I must surely be one of the only people in the world who owns Plugged Nickel and has never heard a lick of Kind Of Blue. So this is more in the spirit of a testimonial than a straight review; I have little context to work with, and I apologize in advance. All I can write about is what I hear.
And what I hear is the sound of a GROUP of soloists, not five SOLOISTS in a group. I don't suppose that makes too much sense to anyone, but what I mean is that despite the long, harmonically amazing spotlights given to Wayne Shorter and Miles Davis, the focus (as I hear it) seems to be on the group dynamic - how they liquidly shift time, tempo, and tone around whoever is up front. I'm just amazed at the sixth-sense feeling of these performances, how drummer Tony Williams will toy with the beat while Ron Carter falls in naturally behind him without missing a single note, with Herbie Hancock keeping pace all the time with piano interjections that are more rhythmic than melodic. Speaking of Williams, I normally don't give two sticks about drummers and drumming,, he's something special, isn't he? Apparently a prodigy in his own day (how old was he when this was recorded, EIGHTEEN?), he cuts up the beat in all sorts of unpredictable ways sometimes, totally flying free, yet he never, ever, ONCE loses the underlying pulse of the song.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Richard Thurston on June 24, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Go without espresso for a month. Pack your own sandwich, make your own soup. have your kid pay his/her own tuition. Save your money anyway you wish but buy this set. This is such an extraordinary document of one of the very greatest groups in all of music one would be remiss in not including it in one's collection.
Recorded over two nights at the Plugged Nickle nightclub in Chicago during 1965 this includes all of the music (approx. 6 hours) played during six sets over a two evening engagement. Frankly, it doesn't get any better than this. Captured at a peak level this band was pushing the boundaries and creating a group approach to the music that current musicians still are using as a road map. Incredibly influential at the time, the availability of this recording demonstrates how fresh and absolutely contemporary the Miles Davis Quintet's music remains 30+ years later.
Interestingly, the 6 or so hours of music consists of only twenty tunes. Some are played a number of times and some appear only once. "The Theme" appears in versions ranging from 22 seconds to 10 minutes 29 seconds. And in no small part that is what makes this set so extraordinary. By adhering to a relatively limited list of tunes over the two nights of performance the group demonstrates an astonishing ability to make the commonplace absolutely of the moment. "Stella By Starlight", for example, appears in three rather different incarnations, each unique from the other and each taking a 'standard' and making something else entirely of it. The tunes become the structure for incredible harmonic invention and rhythmic originality. Avoiding repeated patterns while finding absolute encouragement and support within the group itself each tune is it's own adventure. And after all, that is the goal of improvised music. Few groups have ever achieved this level of accomplishment, fewer still have left such a worthy document of those efforts.
Very important music.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Fabio G. Rojas on August 27, 2001
Format: Audio CD
If I were to recommend one Miles album, I'd still stick to Kind of Blue, Miles Smiles or one his fusion albums. However, if you wanted an in depth exposure to Miles' music or jazz in general, you couldn't go wrong with the Complete Plugged Nickel set. 1) Music is ultimately about concepts, combined with skill. While Miles' technique was subpar on this recording - lots of cracked notes, for example, the concepts were all there. For example, Tony Williams is constantly juggling the rhythm and changing meters. Ron Carter re-energizes old jazz standards with funky, modern bass lines. The entire group took old tunes and completely re-worked them so they had an exciting new feel - and it works. If that isn't jazz, then what is? 2) The individual players: Each player went on further affect jazz and the music beyond jazz. If you want to see Wayne Shorter stretching out and applying his new ideas to old tunes, then listen to these recordings. Miles approach to the band was precursor to the heady, atmospheric sound of his fusion albums. Even with the squawked notes from Miles, every jazz instrumentalist can learn something by listening to the individuals on this album. Wayne and Hancock's harmonic ideas, Williams stunning cymbal work and even Miles' celebrated sense of space are all worth listening to. 3) The group sound: the feel of this group is nothing short of wonderful. There really isn't another group that pulled it off in quite the same way. For example, the Art Blakey group sound revolved around tight arrangements and driving rhythms. Coltrane quartet was built on repeating modal vamps - free based on simplicity. The Miles group was something else - complete felxibility organized around highly abstract harmonic sequences.Read more ›
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