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Originally published December 16, 2014 at 6:16 AM | Page modified December 17, 2014 at 10:31 AM

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Boxed sets for the pop/jazz fan in your life

Stumped for gifts for lovers of jazz and pop this year? Here are some suggestions for boxed sets of music to suit many tastes.


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It’s been a banner year for boxed sets of jazz and pop music, which make great gifts. Here are a few suggestions:

“The Basement Tapes Complete, Deluxe Edition,” Bob Dylan (Columbia/Legacy, $59.98). The legendary 1967 sessions Bob Dylan recorded with the musicians who would later become The Band were previously only officially available on one 1975 album. Now the vaults have opened; this six-CD set features over six hours of music to revel in, with such gems as early versions of “I Shall Be Released” and “The Mighty Quinn.”

“Live at The Rainbow Deluxe Box Set,” Queen (Hollywood Records, $67.98). Queen fans will love the deluxe edition of this release, which not only chronicles the glam rock band’s pre-“Bohemian Rhapsody” era on CD and DVD, but also includes an impressive hardback book with liner notes and rare photos, and fun facsimile ephemera, such as tour programs and tickets.

“Complete Albums Collection,” Simon & Garfunkel (Columbia/Legacy, $59). This is a pretty bare-bones set — just the 12 albums, no bonus tracks, DVDs, or memorabilia — but if you want to pick up nearly all the recordings by the much-loved harmonizing duo in one fell swoop, this will do nicely (it’s only missing the reunion single “My Little Town”). Also includes four live albums.

Gillian G. Gaar, Special to The Seattle Times

“Miles at the Fillmore, Miles Davis 1970 — The Bootleg Series Vol. 3” (Columbia/Legacy, $28.99). These four discs are an unedited — and vastly better mixed — version of the original “Live at Fillmore” album, plus three previously unreleased tracks from Fillmore West the same year. It always seemed hilarious that people accused Davis of “selling out,” when the music he played at this juncture with Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Steve Grossman and Airto Moreira was so raucous, roiling, raw and abstract. Top 40 radio fare? Hardly. Enduring music? Hell, yes.

“Leonard Cohen Live in Dublin,” Leonard Cohen (Columbia/Legacy, $34.69). If you saw Leonard Cohen’s stellar, 2012 three-hour retrospective in Seattle, you know the material on this DVD and three CDs. But watching it on screen is possibly even more fun, considering the crisp, three-camera shoot, moody lighting, immaculate sound and close-ups of Cohen and his virtuoso soloists. Cohen’s conspiratorial, basso whisper and hypnotically talk-sung delivery were even more affecting at 78 than when he was younger. It’s all here, from “Suzanne” and “So Long Marianne” to “Hallelujah” and “In My Secret Life.” Three bonus video tracks from other tours are also included.

“This is Gary McFarland” written and directed by Kristian St. Clair (Century 67 Films, $22.99). Vibist, composer and arranger Gary McFarland was a brilliant, early ’60s golden boy whose jazz cred plummeted when he embraced bossa nova-lite. In 1971, before pop fame could catch up to him, he died under mysterious circumstances. This exceptional 2006 documentary is being redistributed by Light in the Attic with a bonus CD documenting a 1965 set by McFarland’s quintet at Seattle’s Penthouse. The doc stands out for its hot colors, scrolling pop typography and hip interviews, though the vintage, flannel-sounding Penthouse set is unexceptional musically.

Paul de Barros, Seattle Times music critic



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