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Take Off: The Complete Blue Note Albums [2 CD]

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 19, 2014
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Take Off: The Complete Blue Note Albums [2 CD]
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Editorial Reviews

A new, Miles Davis Estate-approved collection of Davis' three Blue Note 10'inch albums plus all alternate takes issued on subsequent 12'inch albums and CD reissues: a total of 26 tracks recorded for Blue Note Records on three dates in 1952, '53 and '54. This is the first time Davis' 10-inch albums - Young Man With A Horn, Miles Davis Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 - have been issued in their original sequence since the early 1950s. The book-style packaging includes a 32-page booklet with an essay by respected jazz writer Kirk Silsbee, and other elements as noted.
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Digital Booklet: Take Off: The Complete Blue Note Albums
Digital Booklet: Take Off: The Complete Blue Note Albums
Album Only
Disc 2
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 19, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B00IW4SBV6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,116 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Miles Davis recorded for Blue Note for only a very short tenure, from 1952-1954, but it was at a very important turning point in his personal and professional life. After an apprenticeship with Charlie Parker and a successful stint recording a little heard but ultimately very influential nonet, Davis, like so many of his peers, fell into the clutches of narcotics addiction. From this period, Davis kind of drifted before kicking his demons and returning triumphant. But that's not to say that he wasn't making good music in this period. This set consists of three 10" albums: Young Man With a Horn, Miles Davis Vol. 2 and Miles Davis Vol. 3. Also included are a number of bonus tracks and alternate takes. He is surrounded by some of the heaviest hitters of the time (or any time, for that matter) like J.J. Johnson, Jackie McLean, Horace Silver and Art Blakey. The music is solid middle of the road hard-bop, nothing earth shattering perhaps (that would come a few years later) and it shows the band covering pop songs and bebop standards like "Dear Old Stockholm" and "Woody 'n' You" with strength of purpose and tight arrangements. Some of the participant's songs are also included like J.J. Johnson's brooding "Enigma" and Jimmy Heath's "C.T.A." Solos and full band performances are excellent and whatever problems Davis may have been facing he was able to rise to this level of his peers and move toward what would become his signature sound. This is a well presented package, 2 CD's and a liner essay, discographical data and some really wonderful photographs by Francis Wolff. This definitely worth picking up if you are fan of Miles Davis or well played hard-bop.
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Format: Blu-ray Audio
This 2015 Blu-Ray Audio release is a case study in divergent sound interpretations.

From the Blu-Ray booklet liner notes: "Sourced from high-resolution masters created by Bernie Grundman."

Note: "created", not "transferred" – which suggests that the transfers from analog tape sources already existed at the time this project commenced. If so, were they the same 24-bit digital transfers remastered by Rudy Van Gelder in 2001 for the RVG Edition CDs? If Grundman was provided with those same masters, then the radical difference in sonic presentation between the CDs and the new Blu-Ray reflects a night-and-day contrast in remastering esthetics.

In an A/B comparison on my system:

The RVG CDs appear compressed, boosted in the bass and lower middle frequencies, and substantially rolled off at the high end. Drums are positioned well behind the piano, bass and horns.

The Grundman Blu-Ray reveals extended highs and flatter bass response. Gil Coggins' piano and J.J. Johnson's trombone sound natural, not exaggerated. Kenny Clarke's snare drum has snap and the cymbals are much more forward in the room. Miles Davis' open trumpet has clarity and sharp focus.

I doubt that Bernie Grundman, who has done such outstanding work as the recent remaster of Charlie Mingus: Tijuana Moods for Original Recordings Group SACD, and many LP titles for the Blue Note 75 series, overly manipulated the EQ of the 24-bit files. The Blu-Ray may represent what the transfers actually sounded like before Van Gelder warmed them up for the 2001 CD releases, but this is just speculation: Blue Note has not been forthcoming with detailed mastering information.
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Format: Blu-ray Audio Verified Purchase
This review is for the blu-ray version. A single disc offers three 10" LPs (Young Man With a Horn [issued later as the 12" LP Volume 1], Volume 2, and Volume 3) and a dozen associated bonus tracks for a total of 111 minutes of music. It is all presented in 24/96 stereo. There is also a download card for a single download of MP3s. (I was hoping for FLAC but oh well.) Considering the cost of downloading these albums individually, this set is a serious bargain even at the list price. Plus you get liner notes which are fairly detailed. There is the obligatory essay by Kirk Silsbee and a breakdown of the tracks, where they were recorded, and when they were released.

The music is by no means Miles's best. Not even close. However, it does have its charm. It is all very tasteful and perfectly listenable for anyone with any appreciation for 50s jazz. It isn't as ground-breaking or daring as what he produced even a few years later but sometimes this fits my mood better anyway. You can turn it on and just let it play. Don't be surprised if you feel like playing it again when it is over. If you can't get enough Miles and you want to know more about how he got from Birth of the Cool to the first great quintet, you can't go wrong buying this blu-ray.
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