The season’s best new box sets

bpi jazz

Miles Davis Quintet, “Live in Europe 1967’’ It was a jazz lover’s dream team that featured Davis backed by Wayne Shorter on tenor sax, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and Tony Williams on drums. And now there’s a live document of what the quintet sounded like on its 1967 tour through Europe. This collection includes three CDs and one DVD of live performances.

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Sting’s box set is a four-disc, 25-year retrospective.

John Fahey, “Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You (The Fonotone Years, 1958-1965)’’ Edited by Glenn Jones, the Boston-based guitarist who was a friend and disciple of Fahey, this lavish set comes with an 88-page book and five CDs spanning 115 songs. It’s a treasure trove of the folk-blues pioneer’s early guitar recordings for the Fonotone label between 1958 and ’65.

Various Artists, “Opika Pende: Africa at 78 RPM’’ African music in its many splendors comes alive on this vibrant collection of recordings culled from old 78s and heard on CD for the first time. From secular to sacred, from the 1920s to the ’60s, the sheer breadth of material on four discs is astonishing.


Howlin’ Wolf, “Smokestack Lightning: The Complete Chess Masters 1951-1960’’ The legendary bluesman made his most primal recordings for the Chess label - “Moanin’ at Midnight,’’ “Spoonful’’ - and it’s incredible how fresh and vital the music sounds more than five decades on. With 97 songs, this four-CD box comes with a 45-page booklet full of photos and extensive liner notes.

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Various Artists, “This May Be My Last Time Singing: Raw African-American Gospel on 45 RPM 1957-1982’’ From the wild and woolly world of 45s comes this three-disc compilation of some of the most hair-raising, rafter-rattling gospel you’ll ever hear. It’s a stunning follow-up to 2009’s “Fire in My Bones,’’ also released on the Tompkins Square label.

“Tomas Luis de Victoria: Sacred Works’’ Marking the 400th anniversary of the death of Tomas Luis de Victoria, Ensemble Plus Ultra under Michael Noone’s direction has recorded a massive 10-disc box set that serves as a wondrous introduction to Spain’s greatest Renaissance composer.

Sting, “25 Years, the Definitive Box Set Collection’’ This four-disc set rounds up 45 remastered tracks on three CDs including all of the former Policeman’s solo hits, several rarities, and live tunes. A new DVD “Rough, Raw, & Unreleased: “Live at Irving Plaza’’ offers previously unreleased concert footage.

Pink Floyd, “Discovery,’’ “Wish You Were Here - Immersion Box Set,’’ “The Dark Side of the Moon - Immersion Box Set’’ It’s a bountiful year for Floyd fans as these mammoth boxes offer exhaustive coverage of the psychedelic Brit rockers. “Discovery’’ collects all 14 studio albums remastered and a 60-page booklet designed by longtime Floyd associate Storm Thorgerson.


The Smiths, “The Smiths Complete’’ The band may never get back together but this eight-disc box unites the long-form recorded output of the influential British college rockers’ four studio albums, three compilations, and a live effort, all with replica packaging of the original releases. The set is also available on vinyl.

Phil Spector, “Phil Spector Presents the Philles Album Collection’’ The legendary producer had a hand in creating a lot of music that has yet to see the light of day on disc. This limited edition seven-CD package begins to correct that with remastered, mono versions of albums by the Crystals and the Ronettes, among others; plus a bonus disc of instrumental b-sides.