Seven Steps to Heaven arrived at a crucial junction in Miles Davis' career. Recorded at two separate locations in spring 1963, it served as Davis' first release in more than a year - a layoff that was then unprecedented for the jazz visionary who had issued at least one LP a year since debuting in the early '50s. Equally notable, Seven Steps to Heaven marks the point at which the core of Davis' Second Great Quintet started to assemble. The twice Grammy-nominated effort is also Davis' final studio record to blend standards with originals. And it happens to be one of the most expressive, well-played albums in the jazz canon. There's nary a passage on this landmark that isn't great. That Davis manages to make it feel so cohesive and seamless is a testament to the inspired performances and engaging compositions.
Sourced from the original master tapes, Mobile Fidelity's 180g SuperVinyl LP and hybrid SACD of Seven Steps to Heaven add yet another step towards the bliss suggested by the album title. Playing with standout clarity, detail, tone, and balance, these audiophile reissues pull back the curtain on the instrumentalists. Afforded the tremendous advantages of SuperVinyl - including a nearly inaudible noise floor, dead-quiet surfaces, and superb groove definition - the numbered-edition LP version presents Davis and Co. amid a wide, deep soundstage whose dimensions and solidity help bring the record's historical importance and musical merit into focus. The painstakingly mastered SACD does the same. And why not: The aptly titled Seven Steps to Heaven deserves nothing less.
* The Vibrant Bridge Between Miles Davis' First and Second Great Quintets: Seven Steps to Heaven Teems with Originality, Expressivity, Cohesiveness, and Beauty