Miles Davis the second great quintet [1964-68]
Miles Davis — trumpet
Wayne Shorter — tenor saxophone
Herbie Hancock — piano
Ron Carter — bass
Tony Williams — drums

The performance style of the Second Great Quintet was often referred to by Davis as “time, no changes”, incorporating elements of free jazz without completely surrendering to the approach, allowing the five men to contribute to the group as equals rather than as a leader and sidemen peeling off unrelated solos. 

This band recorded the albums E.S.P., Miles Smiles, Sorcerer, Nefertiti, Miles in the Sky, and Filles de Kilimanjaro, and the live set considered by The Penguin Guide to Jazz to be their crowning achievement, The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965.

Dat Dere
Art Blakey
Dat Dere

Art Blakey - Dat Dere (1960)
Album: The Big Beat

featuring an exquisite trumpet solo by Lee Morgan, amongst all the other top performances by the band.


Is music an escape from the world or the key to it? Over and over, when we began considering the best music of the first half of 2017, politics seemed to intrude, whether in moments that echoed headlines or ones that spoke individual truths too often drowned out by that other, noisier machine. Maybe that’s the case every time the calendar turns over. Probably not.

Rather than attempt to come to a consensus about the best albums or songs from the first six months of the year, we opted to select music that was meaningful to us as individuals, music that washed away all the background noise, songs and albums and performances that made sense to us, whether or not they made sense of the world. Moments like that are blessings, not to be taken for granted. Here are nearly four dozen blessings selected by NPR Music staff and our partners from around the public radio system. Let’s count them.

NPR Music’s Essential Songs, Albums, Performances And Videos Of 2017 (So Far)

Photo: Bob Boilen/NPR