MILES DAVIS — Circle in the Round

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MILES DAVIS - Circle in the Round cover
4.47 | 12 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1979

Filed under Post Bop


A1 Two Bass Hit 3:42
A2 Love For Sale 11:49
A3 Blues No. 2 6:48
B Circle In The Round 26:15
C1 Teo's Bag 4:58
C3 Side Car II 8:30
D1 Sanctuary 8:48
D2 Guinnevere 18:06


October 26, 1955
Miles Davis (tpt); John Coltrane (ts); William "Red" Garland (p); Paul Chambers (b); Philly Joe Jones (d)

May 26, 1958
Miles Davis (tpt); Julian "Cannonball" Adderley (as); John Coltrane (ts); Bill Evans (p); Paul Chambers (b); Jimmy Cobb (d)

March 21, 1961
Miles Davis (tpt); Hank Mobley (ts); John Coltrane (ts); Wynton Kelly (p); Paul Chambers (b); Jimmy Cobb (d); Philly Joe Jones (d)

December 4, 1967
Miles Davis (tpt, chimes, tubular bells); Wayne Shorter (ts); Herbie Hancock (celeste); Joe Beck (g); Ron Carter (b); Tony Williams (d)

January 16, 1968
Miles Davis (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ts); Herbie Hancock (p, el-p); George Benson (g); Ron Carter (b); Tony Williams (d)

February 15, 1968
Miles Davis (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ts); George Benson (g); Herbie Hancock (p); Ron Carter (b); Tony Williams (d)

November 12, 1968
Miles Davis (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ts); Herbie Hancock (el-p, el-harpsichord); Chick Corea (el-p, org); Dave Holland (b, el-b); Tony Williams (d)

January 27, 1970
Miles Davis (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ss); Bennie Maupin (bcl); Chick Corea (el-p); Josef Zawinul (el-p); John McLaughlin (g); Khalil Balakrishna (sitar); Dave Holland (el-b); Billy Cobham (d); Jack De Johnette (d); Airto Moreira (perc)

About this release

Columbia ‎– KC2 36278 (US)

Collects outtakes from a variety of sessions.Recorded at CBS Records Studios, New York

Thanks to snobb, js for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

This collection of tunes was met with some cynicism when it was released back in 1979. It seemed to many fans that Columbia was just digging through their vaults and trying to make a few more bucks off of Miles while he was still in his 1970s retirement. I didn’t pay much attention to this release when it first came out, but I’m glad I gave “Circle in the Round” a second chance because some of the best music in Miles’ career is on here, especially if you like his odd experimental numbers.

Fans of Miles’ 50s hard bop sound tend to have high regard for the first three cuts on CD one: “Two Bass Hit” has a lengthy solo from Coltrane, “Love for Sale” features Miles’ famous sextet blowing off some steam with great solos all round, especially Bill Evans with his bizarre rhythmic juxtapositions, and “Blues No 2”, which features a spontaneous rhythm battle between Miles and Philly Joe who was just sitting in. This first CD closes with the title cut, which is one of the odder cuts that Miles’ famous second quintet ever produced. Recorded during the time when Miles and his crew were making brilliant experimental albums such as “Sorcerer” and “Nefertiti”, “Circle” adds Joe Beck on guitar to the usual quintet. During this entire lengthy cut, Beck maintains a tambura like hypnotizing pulse on just two or three notes, while Tony Williams plays freely and Miles and Shorter play somber melodies and finally a few solos. If you like this sort of experimentation, this cut is invaluable.

The second CD continues with more from the second quintet, now playing in a more free and aggressive style. The second version of “Side Car” features George Benson on guitar. There are only a few recordings of Benson with Miles’ quintet, which makes those recordings all the more valuable because they always show an extra creative side to Benson’s always brilliant and under-stated guitar work. Things get more quiet and mysterious again, when the quintet plus Benson, take on all the subtle complicated changes and structures of Wayne Shorter’s “Sanctuary”. If you are only familiar with the more simple and expressionistic versions of this tune on “Bitches Brew” or “Live at Fillmore”, you are in for a very interesting surprise. This original studio version is full of unexpected harmonic changes and twists of logic that get lost on later more rockin versions. The final cut on this CD features one of Miles psychedelic bands from “Big Fun” playing a lengthy version of Crosby/Nash's séance like “Guinnevere”. If you enjoy similar proto-dub style cuts like “He Loved Him Madly”, then you know what to expect from this attempt to warp time and space.

Every song on here is excellent, but the totally one-of-a-kind tone to songs like “Circle in the Round”, “Sanctuary” and “Guinnevere” make this CD package a must have for fans of Miles’ mid 60s to early 70s experiments.

Members reviews

1979... and still no trace of Miles. At Columbia they were more than nervous. To remind the world that Miles was still alive, they packed this superb "Circle in the round", full of never heard tunes (not really all the numbers, but it was quite enough to stimulate the curious, the fan, the simpler buyer and so on): it was the unquestionabale proof that Davis had been here on this earth. James Isaac, compiler of the liner notes, showed his own philosophy: (Miles) "perhaps is readying a music that will again reaorder the notions of harmony and color and rythm and space. Or perhaps no more music will be forthcoming fron Miles Davis, who has given so much and ispired so many. For now we have this multi - hued program, which can only add luster to a most remarkable, prismatic body of work". That is a little bit to say: go and buy, it could be the last time. For the "last time", at Columbia they worked wery well: material from 1955 to 70. But, with the risk that really it could be the very last, compilers could suggest highlights from the really very last Miles. They did not. The closing "Guinnevere", recorded in January 1970, nothing say to us of the deep wound represented by "Bitches Brew". A bestseller, true, but also the beginning of a road full of danger and uncertain developements, full of risks of every colour. And what about "Sanctuary", here sounding, writes Isaacs, "more controlled" and "better focused"? (very different from the "Bitches" cut). Probably people, in producers plans, were asked to forget chaos and experiments: everybody, at Columbia, was hoping, was dreaming of a brand new Miles. A brand new one, better a brand old one, but not a jazz terrorist.

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