Contains 35 tracks on 4 CDs, many of which are unreleased or out of print. The discs are arranged by genre.
Personnel includes: Miles Davis (trumpet, flugelhorn); Gary Bartz (soprano & alto saxophones); Bill Evans (soprano & tenor saxophones); Dave Leibman (soprano saxophone); Julian "Cannonball" Adderly, Lee Konitz (alto saxophone); John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Hank Mobley, George Coleman (tenor saxophone); Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, Keith Jarrett (piano); John McLaughlin, John Scofield, Mike Stern (guitar); Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, Dave Holland (bass); Jimmy Cobb, Tony Williams, Kenny Clarke, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, Jack DeJohnette, Billy Cobham (drums); Airto Moreira, Don Alias (percussion).
Producers include: Miles Davis, Irving Townsend, George Avakian, Teo Macero, Carl Lampley.
Compilation producer: Jeff Rosen.
Recorded between 1955 and 1985. Includes liner notes by Nat Hentoff.
Digitally remastered by Mark Wilder (CBS Records Studio, New York, New York).
Well, really, what can you say? Miles Davis's prolific output for Columbia Records may be the single greatest set of recordings one artist made for one label. From his hard-bop-era label debut, 'ROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT, to his somewhat controversial 1985 recasting of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" into a meditative, moody gem, Davis constantly pushed the boundaries of jazz. Along the way, he created Gil Evans-arranged masterpieces like SKETCHES OF SPAIN and PORGY AND BESS, the career pinnacle KIND OF BLUE, and jazz-rock trailblazers like IN A SILENT WAY and BITCHES BREW.
Arranging the set by theme (standards, blues, originals, moods, and electric) instead of chronology makes it somewhat difficult to chart the progress of Miles' experiments, but it does make each CD a pleasurably coherent listen. While it's impossible for four CDs to feature much beyond the very best of Davis's Columbia years, this set is a handy introduction for newcomers.