Like Miles Davis, Vol. 1, this set features arrangements in the order that they were recorded. (Vol. 2 contains the second Blue Note session, while Vol. 1 focused on the first and third.) This 1953 date was the most inspired, overtly beboppish of Davis' three Blue Note sessions -- an ambitious showcase for modern jazz's greatest composers (J.J. Johnson, Ray Brown, Bud Powell, Jimmy Heath, Walter Fuller, and Dizzy Gillespie), and a remarkable rhythm section (drummer Art Blakey, bassist Percy Heath, and the obscure pianist Gil Coggins).
A dynamic front line of Davis, trombonist J.J. Johnson, and the bassist's brother Jimmy Heath on tenor saxophone, gives each tune big-band weight and texture. The joy with which Davis and Blakey morph between swing and Afro-Cuban rhythms, blues, and bop phrasing, is what jazz is all about. – Rovi Staff