Big box of Miles “for more thAn tWo deCAdes noW, Miles Davis fans and aficionados, musicians and critics, collectors and configurationalists have wondered if the time would ever come that Miles’ entire Columbia album output would be assembled in one total package. That time has finally arrived.” So reads the key paragraph in the press release from Columbia/Legacy announcing the imminent — and, for that matter, eminent — arrival of The Complete Miles Davis Columbia Album Collection, a truly massive boxed set that’ll be available exclusively on Amazon on November 24. Indeed, Davis’ entire Columbia output, and more, is included here; the final tally: 52 albums on 70 CDs, all of it (except for The Miles Davis/Tadd Dameron Quintet: In Paris Festival International de Jazz — May , 1949) recorded during Davis’ mostly prolific 30-year tenure at Columbia. Of course most Miles fans will already own a fair share of the music in the new big box. That is, they’ll already possess, either on original 12” LPs or reissued CDs, many of the 40-plus titles that Davis recorded for Columbia between 1955 and 1985. So it’s the box’s extras that will likely lure the diehards, if they’re to be lured at all. Certainly they’ll be tempted by what’s on offer, including a previously unreleased audio version of Davis’ entire performance at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 (with Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Airto Moreira, Keith Jarrett and Gary Bartz); a DVD titled Miles Davis Quintet: Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams — Live in Europe ’67, which represents the only video of Davis’ “second great quintet” to ever be officially released; and a 250-page book that includes an 11,000-word essay by Frédéric Goaty, rare photographs, complete discographic production notes and track index, and brief annotations covering all 52 albums as well as the DVD. For casual and diehard Davis fans alike, the box’s $364.98 price tag might seem a touch daunting, particularly in these trying economic times. But, really, that formidable sum breaks down to a mere $5.14 per disc. And did we mention that many of the discs are the expanded editions — with bonus material — released as part of the Miles Davis Series in the ’90s and ’00s, and that all of the discs are packaged in Japanese style mini-LP CD and double-CD jackets that replicate the original artwork? Basically, there’s some bang for your buck here. The release of The Complete Miles Davis Columbia Album Collection coincides with a three-month exhibition at the Museé de la Musique in Paris (October 16, 2009 through January 17, 2010) titled “We Want Miles.” The exhibition follows Davis from his 1926 birth in East St. Louis to his final concert in Paris, two months before his death on September 28, 1991. Photo by Bob Cato. s 12 november 2009 jazziz