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The Original Mono Recordings Box set

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Audio CD, Box set, November 11, 2013
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 11, 2013)
  • Original Release Date: 2013
  • Number of Discs: 9
  • Format: Box set
  • 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: Legacy
  • ASIN: B00ESEYE60
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,983 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

For nearly half a century, Miles Davis (1926-1991) was arguably the preeminent innovator in jazz - rarely staying in the same place twice, experimenting with the most cutting-edge styles and ideas he could imagine. This year, some of Miles' most enduring works for Columbia Records are collected the way they were originally heard: MILES DAVIS: THE ORIGINAL MONO RECORDINGS.

Here, Miles Davis' first nine 12-inch albums for Columbia will be collected in one package - all in impeccable mono mixes for the first time on CD. Seven of these albums - 'Round About Midnight, Miles Ahead (both 1957), Milestones (1958), Porgy And Bess, Kind Of Blue (both 1959), Sketches Of Spain (1960) and Someday My Prince Will Come (1961) - are familiar classics which saw Miles rise to prominence as an architect of the hard bop style of jazz before revolutionizing the genre with ventures into modal jazz. Of these, Milestones and Kind of Blue remain among the most universally recognized jazz recordings in the world.

MILES DAVIS: THE ORIGINAL MONO RECORDINGS also includes two exciting rare albums:

1958's Jazz Track features 10 compositions recorded for a French film, L'Ascenseuer Pour l'Echafaud, and three selections from an acclaimed session recorded shortly after the release of Milestones. (These sessions served as a prelude to Kind Of Blue, starring Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb. These are the only other studio sides by Davis sextet before recording what would become the best-selling jazz album of all time.)

Miles & Monk At Newport, released in 1964, features selections from two separate live performances at the Newport Jazz Festival: Davis' leading the same sextet from Jazz Track in 1958, and a 1963 set from pianist Thelonious Monk, just recently signed to Columbia Records from the Riverside label.

Each CD, newly remastered, will be housed in a mini-LP replica jacket, faithfully replicating the original LP sleeves. They will be packed in a casemade slipcase which will also hold a 40-page booklet with a brand-new essay. This is the true genius of Miles Davis as most people first heard it, the way it was intended to be heard: in mono.


'Round About Midnight
Miles Ahead
Jazz Track
Porgy And Bess
Kind Of Blue
Sketches Of Spain
Someday My Prince Will Come
Miles And Monk At Newport

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Columbia records did an excellent job in both mono and stereo.
The quality and color of tone is always evolving, subtly, with the kind of depth you find in the palette of a great painter.
Tin Tan
The best of these albums include some of the finest jazz of the Twentieth Century.
Stuart Jefferson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
No doubt for many fans, not around in the late 1950's/early 1960's, when stereo was marketed to a relatively small number of "Hi-Fi Buffs" or "stereo enthusiasts", having these albums in their mono versions, available once again, may not seem like much. But to those Davis fans who were around then, this is something special.

"In short, you can purchase this record with no fear of it's becoming obsolete in the future." The "small print" on the back of a 1959 Columbia Records mono edition of a Miles Davis album.

Chances are if you're reading this you're at least familiar with a few (if not all) of these albums--now in wonderful sounding monophonic sound. The best of these albums include some of the finest jazz of the Twentieth Century. And with fans now able to hear them in mono, we have a chance to better hear what the music originally sounded like back when it was recorded. And this box set does the job it was intended to do.

"Mono featured less audio trickery and fewer audio distractions, so you can actually hear the musical conversation between Miles and the other musicians as it occurred in the studio." George Avakian.

The music itself (obviously) hasn't really changed, just the way we hear it. And for fans of monophonic sound (like me) there's no real revelations across these albums (the majority featuring Coltrane alongside Davis), just a smooth, clean mono sound. I keep hearing that the master mono tapes for the album "Kind Of Blue" have been missing for many years or they have deteriorated beyond use, and if so, the engineers have done a fine job with that classic album. Do a comparison of the stereo editions with these mono editions and I think you'll hear the difference is notable.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By R. D. Wood on January 16, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is classic must-have music. If you don't have these albums, or only have a few of them, this is a compact package at a reasonable price (if obtained from a UK seller). Overall I am happy to have it and like having the first two quintet albums in regular running order as an alternative to swapping between discs to reconstruct those albums from the Davis-Coltrane Columbia box of 2000.

Bottom line, this Mono Box excels in its versions of "Round About Midnight" and "Milestones"; while "Miles and Monk at Newport" is a unique item; the other titles sound good enough, but in my opinion their sound is surpassed by various extant stereo versions.

The rest of this review is more specialized for those looking for specific recommendations regarding versions of each album.

Round About Midnight
This has always been in mono, and the Mono master tape was used for this issue with some EQ. The 2000 Coltrane-Davis box version is pretty good, but the version on this mono CD box is better sounding. The Mono box version has more pronounced, realistic sounding bass and a more pleasant reduced treble emphasis than on the 2000 box. The 2000 box tracks are also dynamically compressed (louder).

Miles Ahead
This was issued originally issued in mono. For the present issue the Mono master tape was used with for this issue with some EQ, and it sounds acceptable. However, my favorite version is the stereo version assembled from original elements for the 1996 Davis-Evans Columbia box. "Miles Ahead" was the great triumph of that box set and sounds wonderful.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By M. Bauer on November 22, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
These albums are iconic, no need for me to go on about material or performances.

As far as the sound... spectacular. Instruments are much more crisp, clear, and easier to discern than they were in the old stereo mixes. This is the case with both the small group albums and the Gil Evans larger ensemble arrangements. I thought these mono mixes would sound more primitive or dated, but it's actually the exact opposite. Old favorites sound brand new. Even if you have had these (or even several previous versions of these) recordings, this set is more than worth the investment.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ross A. Seymour on November 14, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My comments are only on the sound as the music stands as classic.

The mono should not be a reason to skip these recordings. The sound is excellent. I went back through my collections and listened side by side with the stereo versions of Porgy and Bess and Kind of Blue, as well as a MasterSound mono version of Milestones. I came away preferring the mono versions. Compared to the mono, the stereo seemed artificial in the instrument placement. For example, I had never noticed how far off Cannonball Adderley's saxophone was in the stereo version of So What but in the mono it is more front and center.

The MasterSound version was mono and very close to this version of Milestones. I found the MasterSound to be a bit clearer and somewhat preferable. However, I don't know if these are even available any longer.

These will replace my stereo versions for frequent listening.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ian Muldoon on December 24, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Received Miles Mono for Xmas and having lived with versions of the music for up to 50 years am very familiar with these 20th century classics. The packaging appeals to me with the replica original covers and the fact that the decision to include the whole of Miles and Monk at Newport was a wise one - so we have Monk with Pee Wee Russell at the 1963 Newport Jazz Festival to cap the Miles. Nice.
One popular reviewer below claims the sound is as he remembers it as being much the same but to my ear the improvement of the bass by Paul Chambers is no small improvement. I give this music its due and play it through an OPPO multi purpose unit, and $50,000 worth of Australiam made high fidelity equipment.
The acoustic bass is one of the glories of improvised music, especially modern improvised music, and given the recording standards and quality high fidelity available, a reliable fidelity to the original sound is possible. It may be that the previous mode of transport - the 33 1/3 RPM long playing 12"disc - had its limitations in relation to the acoustic bass. It may have been that the bass was placed low in the mix including the original mikeing, as the LP grooves could not take the width required for the bass without causing the pickup cartridge needle to jump. Thus the full acoustic effect of the bass was, at least to some extent, compromised. That's my guess and my experience, but I could be wrong.
If I close my eyes to the heartbeat of the music and listen to Paul Chambers - or in later Miles Ron Carter at the Plugged Nickel- the acoustic bass is a wonder of this most wonderful music of the 20th century. In this new mono package justice has really been done to this instrument.
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Topic From this Discussion
mono master of "Kind of Blue" can't be found.
Nov 18, 2013 by Bryan Ferreira |  See all 2 posts
price hike
Amazon UK has it for 41.19 GBP. That converts to 67.66 USC.
Dec 10, 2013 by E.I.E.I. Owen |  See all 3 posts
can't you just set your stereo to mono?
No. It doesn't work like that. If you just fold-down a stereo mix you will notice a slight increase in the stereo center (about 3db) and other phase anomalies. In other words, it wouldn't be a discreet mono mix
If I remember correctly, when Columbia recorded Jazz sessions they had 2 machines... Read More
Dec 10, 2013 by E.I.E.I. Owen |  See all 2 posts
anyone out there?
Look at old Columbia mono record labels, and you will find the 2 arrows on "360 sound" covers and labels. Here is a link to an example: http://londonjazzcollector.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/columbia-360-degree-mono-1000px-img_3853.jpg
Sep 21, 2013 by Martin Kasdan Jr. |  See all 11 posts
What I don't get is why isn't this whole mono box set available on vinyl? Be the first to reply
Jazz Track album cover Be the first to reply
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