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Seven Steps to Heaven

After the galvanic success of 1959’s Kind of Blue, Miles Davis Toured less rigorously, and by early 1963 the lean work led several of his longtime sidemen, including pianist Wynton Kelly, to quit. Davis scrambled to build a new band, anchored by seventeen-year-old firebrand drummer Tony Williams and pianist Herbie Hancock.

The seven discs of Seven Steps gather the few studio efforts and the many live performances from this transitional era, among them two sets from a Philharmonic Hall date that yielded the up-tempo collection Four and More and the ballad-heavy My Funny Valentine. Also here are two blazing concerts — from Tokyo and Berlin — that, criminally, never saw U.S. release. Steps isn’t the most important Miles ever, but it shows that, even in upheaval, he knew how to take things higher.


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