Archive for the Miles DAVIS Category

Miles DAVIS and Horns 51-53

Posted in JAZZ, Miles DAVIS on December 10, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Miles DAVIS and Horns 51-53
1951 & 1953 / Miles Davis and the All Stars
1989 Issue.


t’s hard to understand all the talk about Miles’s drug habit causing his playing to be inferior during the early 1950s. This is, after all, the period during which Miles was cementing his status as a major star in jazz, and the aural evidence simply doesn’t support the conclusion that he was off his game somehow. On this lovely album, for instance, Miles is still developing his mature approach, and it’s great to hear him playing these long, lyric lines in the style of Kenny Dorham, all on an open horn with a brassy tonality. In a few short years, he wouldn’t be playing like this anymore, but you can still hear that melancholy, introspective quality to the playing that is purely Miles. The overall atmosphere on these sessions is a sort of relaxed, late-night version of hard bop, a hotter version of the cool, if you will. As for the supporting players here, pianist John Lewis is superb, and while I honestly can’t tell if its Al Cohn or Zoot Sims playing, the horn ensembles are nice. That’s really my only quibble with this record: the cuts tend to be far too short, with solos by Sonny Rollins, trombonist Bennie Green and Cohn/Sims kept to a single chorus. It puts the spotlight thoroughly on Miles’ longer solos, however, and he’s in fine fettle.
By Matthew Watters.
Piano- John Lewis (tracks: 01 to 04)
Alto Sax- Al Cohn (tracks: 01 to 04) , Sonny Rollins (tracks: 05 to 09) , Zoot Sims (tracks: A1 to 04)
Trombone- Bennie Green (tracks: 05 to 09) , Sonny Truit (tracks: 01 to 04)
Trumpet- Miles Davis
Bass- Leonard Gaskin (tracks: 01 to 04) , Percy Heath (tracks: 05 to 09)
Drums- Kenny Clarke (tracks: 01 to 04) , Roy Haynes (tracks: 02 to 09)
01. Tasty Pudding- Cohn, Davis 3:20
02. Floppy- Cohn, Davis 5:58
03. Willie the Wailer- Cohn, Davis 4:26
04. For Adults Only- Cohn, Davis 5:33
05. Morpheus- Lewis 2:21
06. Down- Davis 2:51
07. The Blue Room- Hart, Rodgers 3:00
08. The Blue Room(Alt Take)- Hart, Rodgers 2:47
09. Whispering- Coburn, Rose, Schoenberger 3:03

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Miles DAVIS – The Newport Jazz Festival In Belgrade 1971

Posted in JAZZ, Miles DAVIS on December 4, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Miles DAVIS – The Newport Jazz Festival In Belgrade 1971
Live at the Union Hall, Belgrade, Serbia. November 3th 1971.
Radio Broadcast.
Thx To *Noughty Dog*


The Newport Jazz Festival might have started in 1954 and held in Newport, Rhode Island before moving to New York City in 1972 and then becoming a two-site festival in 1981. Meanwhile across the Atlantic,  this fest was “brought” to Belgrade and the Newport Jazz Festival in Belgrade started in 1970, where, according to Europe Jazz Network, “this festival hosted almost everyone who’s important in jazz history.”

One could say that Miles Davis was still basking in the success of Bitches Brew, which was released in 1970. As Miles said: “Bitches Brew sold faster than any other album I had ever done, and sold more copies than an other jazz album in history. Everyone was excited because a lot of young rock fans were buying the album and talking about it.”

But it wasn’t entirely the Bitches Brew album that Miles played in Belgrade. It was an eclectic mix that included tracks that were found on the Live-Evil album. Fans normally turn to the two-CD Another Bitches Brew (Jazz Door) to listen to Miles Davis in Belgrade 1971. [The second CD features the show from November 7, 1973.] Taken from a radio broadcast, it is one long track with no track marks, with an incomplete Yesternow. For a long time, fans have also speculated about the existence of another track from the set, Funky Tonk.

Now fans can listen to Funky Tonk, albeit incomplete, thanks to joerg, who taped and shared the show when The Newport Jazz Festival In Belgrade was re-broadcast. The first seven tracks are taken from the Another Bitches Brew CD, and given track breaks.

According to, “The set is marked by tense, drawn-out transitions between themes. Directions floats in on a rocket before dropping into half-time at 3:27; the transition into Honky Tonk begins at 10:25 and stretches over two minutes, with Jarrett and Henderson musically arguing over where the music will go. Once it gets rolling, Jarrett builds some new modalities and nervous rhythm under the sax and trumpet solos, adding unexpected but just-right pokes and prods, then shouting out his own gospelly funk. For a wailing Bartz, he’s down home; under Miles, he goes off into exotic territory. One doesn’t usually think of Jarrett as having an accompanist’s nature, but here’s the evidence. In between the solos, Jarrett gets his groove on…

“This two-percussionist band with Mtume and Don Alias, with five or six congas onstage, is among the least-documented of Miles’ multitudinous incarnations. It’s gratifying to hear them take the spotlight in tandem so winningly. Sanctuary receives an atmospheric theme statement, before Miles screams a few times, turning up the juice.”
From the bigO audio archive.(Rojo)
Miles Davis – trumpet
Gary Bartz – alto and soprano saxophones
Keith Jarrett – electric piano, organ
Michael Henderson – electric bass
Ndugu Leon Chancler – drums
Charles Don Alias – conga, percussion
James Mtume Forman – conga, percussion
01. Band warming up (0:13)
02. Directions (10:33)
03. Honky Tonk (12:37)
04. What I Say (14:30)
05. Sanctuary (2:42)
06. It’s About That Time (14:43)
07. Yesternow (12:01)
08. Funky Tonk (incomplete) (10:33)

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Miles DAVIS – Miles in Tokyo, Live 1964

Posted in JAZZ, Miles DAVIS on November 22, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Miles DAVIS – Miles in Tokyo, Live 1964
Recorded at Kohseinenkin Hall,
Tokyo, Japan (07/14/1964)
2004 Issue.


Miles Davis’s most successful groups, his first great quintet with John Coltrane, for example, and his mid-1960s outfit with saxophonist Wayne Shorter are well known, but the ensembles in-between are also notable. On this 1964 concert, recorded …    Full Descriptionin Tokyo, Japan, Miles was already working with the rhythm section he would maintain until 1970, drummer Tony Williams, bassist Ron Carter, and pianist Herbie Hancock. The saxophonist, remarkably enough, is subsequent avant-garde legend Sam Rivers.

Rivers is a unique and under-appreciated player not bound by stylistic constraints; he plays with great verve, humor, and invention. Though Rivers seems a bit out of place on this set of mostly standards (which includes “My Funny Valentine” and “All of You”), it is interesting to hear how his sound changes the group, pushing it toward more flexible rhythmic and harmonic structures. “So What,” for example, grows to skittering near-cacophony, with a series of complex solos. Hancock’s blinding right hand and the propulsive rhythms of Carter and Williams also drive Davis to some of the edgiest playing of his career at that point. MILES IN TOKYO is a fascinating document of Davis in transition, but is also worth picking up for the chance to hear Rivers in such unique company.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Cd Universe.
Recorded in ’64, Miles in Tokyo finds the iconic Miles Davis performing with his almost-second great quintet. Tenor saxophonist Sam Rivers, a more accomplished and daring experimentalist than his predecessor, George Coleman, joined the group after a fellow Bostonian, drummer Tony Williams, recommended him to Davis. There are times on this recording when one might understand why Davis and Rivers never meshed, and times when the partnership is quite wonderful, though brief.

n “If I Were a Bell”, for example, after a lucid and melodic statement by Davis, Rivers purposely goes off- center on his solo. He does it with enough force that his motions are neither subtle nor nuanced; they’re noticeable. Yet on the more forlorn and dark “My Funny Valentine”, he shows greater care to stay within the song’s melody, a treatment that resonates well with the rest of the group.
“So What” is taken at a faster pace than the version on the seminal Kind of Blue with, again, Davis and Rivers varying in their melodic approaches. By “Walkin”, though, it is Davis who alters his style, accepting some restless elements into his approach. He flies fast and furiously through his solo, provoking Williams into some manic beats. Williams, for his part, always sounded best in contexts that were more “out” than “in”, and the inclusion of Rivers on this date certainly allowed him greater, rhythmic latitudes. Herbie Hancock, as well, finds some dissonant and interesting moments on “Walkin'”. The finale, “All of You”, finds Davis muted and lyrical, Rivers wild but compliant, and the rest of the group providing a wonderful groove.
Months after this concert in September of ’64, the definitive version of the second great quintet, with Wayne Shorter on tenor, finally took form. The almost-second great quintet heard on Miles in Tokyo is an aberration, a rare gem, and worth investigating.
When we talk about the music of Miles Davis, there were many epiphanies that his music had. One was expressed in the album Birth of the Cool, where he broke away form a sound similar to Dizzy Gillespie to start his own distinct tone. The second major epiphany came about with first great quintet. With Red Garland, Paul Chambers, Philly Joe Jones and John Coltrane, Miles was able to extend his themes and developments into longer solos and also stretch the inert abilities of each piece they played. The third epiphany is expressed here on this album, Miles In Tokyo.

Well, George Coleman’s time to leave the band came. So, with amounted to a promissory note for Wayne Shorter from Art Blakey, Miles need a tenorist yesterday. Sam Rivers, newcomer to the scene, was selected and to Tokyo the band. Here, available in an American pressing for the first time ever, is the concert date at Kohseinerkin Hall on July 14, 1964.

The sound was different here than any other date Miles did.

The sound is the question, right? Well, if you listen to My Funny Valentine, Live At Plugged Nickel, Seven Steps To Heaven, or Live in Berlin; you know the sound of the early quintet. They are developmental, experimental, polyrhythmic, fluid and (the difference in the early performances) conservative. Everyone, including Miles, is using the musicality of space to enhance his motifs and thematic material. Herbie is, as always, turning the melody into a song length harmonic experiment. Ron Carter is following behind the group with some early elements that would become know as `funky’. `Ant’ Williams (R.I.P.) makes the whole song his solo. Tony always had a way of developing his approach to the tempo through the entire piece.

One final note is the presence of Sam Rivers. Well, if you have any of his early works (Fuchsia, Fuchsia Swing; Countors, Inventions and Dimensions, Trio Live) then you already know what to expect. His playing is punchy, dynamic, employing much staccato and almost paying to attention no any time restrictions.

Any fans of the second quintet or Sam Rivers will love this album. Also, give a hard listen to the album Countors (Freddie Hubbard, Sam Rivers (lead), Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams).

Not for the novice, this is jazz as only Miles can do it.
By Marty Nickison II.
Ron Carter- Bass
Miles Davis- Trumpet
Herbie Hancock- Piano
Sam Rivers Sax- Tenor
Tony Williams- Drums
01. Introduction by Teruo Isono (1:10)
02. If I Were A Bell (10:17)
03. My Funny Valentine (12:50)
04. So What (8:05)
05. Walkin’ (9:15)
06. All Of You (11:18)
07. Go-Go (Theme and Announcement) (1:20)

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Miles DAVIS – Cool & Collected 2006

Posted in JAZZ, Miles DAVIS on November 19, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Miles DAVIS – Cool & Collected 2006
Recording Dates (06/05/1956-09/22/1984)


Regarding “Cool and Collected,” I must first say that it is very aptly named. It is indeed quite cool, and it also incredibly collected. I happen to love the music of Miles Davis, so it would be virtually impossible for me to speak negatively of a CD collection that compiles a handful of his best-known performances. For the same reason, it is almost impossible to blindly endorse a product that reduces such diversity to a single disk. Observing the changes of Davis’ career over the decades has been one of the most musically rewarding experiences I could expect from any musician. His diversity is immensely important to understanding his style – his `coolness’ – and the only way to really understand why Miles is so important as a trendsetter, a leader and performer of huge significance is to understand the various aspects of his career.
On an extraordinarily superficial level, this CD is quite cool. If you really want to understand the depths of its coolness, though, you have to dig a lot deeper. Each and every recording on “Cool and Collected” is excellent; naturally, though, some are more significant than others. “So What” is both accessible and challenging. It deserves a rating of 7 stars in a 5-star system, and “Stella By Starlight” represents the smallest taste of live Miles, with some of the best musicians in the world. His version of “Human Nature” can still spark a debate about its intrinsic value, but regardless of your take, it is still decidedly `cool’. But is it cooler to own this collection or to own both “Kind of Blue,” “Live at the Plugged Nickel” and “You’re Under Arrest” instead? Is it cool being unfamiliar with “In a Silent Way” or “Bitches Brew”?
My point is that there is no shortcut to being `cool.’ To qualify, you have to pay a few dues, and invest a part of your time to understand the nature of something that is universally accepted as `cool’. If you are a neophyte and need a starting place to discover the music of Miles Davis, then this is a cool place to start, but its value will diminish once you really understand the incredibly diverse nature of Miles Davis.
By Tom Ryan.
Did we really need this? For the first time in years, Legacy has opted not to issue a deluxe Miles Davis box with a ton of unreleased studio and live material and has instead issued this handy little sampler complete with a Carlos Santana remix tagged on at the end. It’s more that Legacy needed to issue it. Still, for those just coming to the mystery, magic, and some time-madness of Miles Davis, Cool & Collected is a great place to start. While many might argue that Kind of Blue is the best place (and they’d certainly have a point), the wider view presented here makes real sense. Kicking off with that album’s “So What,” with the Bill Evans/John Coltrane/Cannonball Adderley band, you can hear one of the most familiar themes in jazz. And if there were ever an intro to Kind of Blue, this cut is the one. There’s also the beautiful “Summertime” from the Gil Evans/Miles Davis collaboration of Porgy and Bess. But there are some surprises, too, such as the cross-licensed “Généerique” from the Fontana issued soundtrack to Louis Malle’s debut directorial effort, Ascenseur pour l’Échafaud. There is also the alternate take of “Fran-Dance” featured on the Davis/Coltrane box set with the Kind of Blue band. Other familiar themes are “Milestones,” “Bye Bye Blackbird,” “‘Round Midnight,” and Wayne Shorter’s “E.S.P.” The big complaint is that the fabulous last quintet with Shorter is so under-represented here, and that neither the Bitches Brew or Live-Evil bands are included, even as edits. The In a Silent Way album is touched on, however truncated, by Santana’s throwaway remix of “It’s About That Time.” The cover of “Time After Time” that became a surprise late hit single for Davis is far more preferable and is thankfully included. So this set is problematic, and of course it might have been preferable to cross-license the Prestige material instead of this just OK soundtrack, but these are minor quibbles. A decent, if not remarkable intro disc to a 20th century legend.
By Thom Jurek, All Music Guide.
One could sum this up with a single sentence: Miles is cool. This CD is subtitled “The Very Best Of,” which is somewhat of a stretch, but this one succeeds as a great single-disc selection of Davis’ cool jazz for a party.Miles Davis’ career covers 50 years and encompassed roles including bandleader, trumpeter and composer. Davis’ Kind of Blue is often cited as the ultimate jazz album, the one jazz CD a music fan should have in his collection if only one were an option. Given his influence on classic jazz, it’s hard to imagine condensing his best work into a skimpy 13 track CD. Only in its extreme ambition does this collection fail; it succeeds glowingly as a teaser, an overview of the great man’s work that is easy to listen to and includes enough well-known material to keep a casual fan interested. It adds other quality album tracks and lesser known material that both help respect the artist’s “cool” reputation while being strong enough to motivate a new listener to explore.The compilation starts with “So What” from Kind of Blue, that title’s only representative here, which starts the album off with an easy swinging tone. Other well known tunes represented here include “Summertime,” the Gershwin number from Porgy and Bess; and “Milestones,” the fantastic up-tempo masterpiece. The fantastic “Seven Steps to Midnight” features an up tempo bass line and great interaction between Miles’ horn and the piano, and shows his evolution after the disbandment of the Kind of Blue quintet. Mixed in with the other classic selections is a rarity for Davis single disc compilations, the relaxing track “Générique” from the 1957 French film Ascenseur pour L’Echafaud. Altogether, there’s plenty of great music to keep listeners entertained, relaxed and amazed.The material spans from 1956 to 1984, unfortunately skipping his earliest recordings for other labels. While most of the selections from the 1950s and 1960s are intriguing, the decision to skip Davis’ jazz/rock experimental work in the 1970s and to feature two pop music covers from the 1980s is slightly surprising. “Time After Time,” an interpretation of the Cyndi Lauper hit, and the Michael Jackson single “Human Nature,” while part of Davis’ exploration of pop music interpretation in his later career, add accessibility rather than coolness to the collection.The CD ends on a high note with a remix of a 1969 track called “It’s About that Time” featuring Carlos Santana on guitar; this is a nice touch that complements the fantastic sidemen featured in the rest of the album’s work — such as John Coltrane, ‘Cannonball’ Adderley, Herbie Hancock, and Chick Corea among others. Overall, the disc is a great — if slightly unpredictable collection of tracks from the most influential part of Davis’ career, and is strongly recommended.
By J.P.
Julian “Cannonball” Adderley- (Alto Sax),
Geri Allen- (Fender Rhodes),
Bob Berg- (Tenor Sax),
Ron Carter- (Bass),
Jimmy Cleveland- (Trombone),
Johnny Coles- (Trumpet),
Miles Davis- (Trumpet),
Bill Evans- (Piano),
Red Garland- (Piano),
Herbie Hancock- (Piano),
Dave Holland- (Bass),
Robert Irving III- (Keyboards),
Philly Joe Jones- (Drums),
John McLaughlin- (Guitar),
Pierre Michelot- (Bass),
Jerome Richardson- (Clarinet, Flute),
John Scofield- (Guitar),
Wayne Shorter- (Tenor Sax),
Julius Watkins- (French Horn),
Barney Wilen- (Tenor Sax),
Tony Williams- (Drums),
Frank Rehak- (Trombone),
Ernie Royal- (Trumpet),
Willie Ruff- (French Horn),
Joe Zawinul- (Piano, Keyboards),
Danny Bank- (Bass Clarinet),
Danny Bank (Alto Flute),
Billy Barber- (Tuba),
Paul Chambers- (Bass),
Kenny Clarke- (Drums),
John Coltrane- (Tenor Sax),
Chick Corea- (Piano, Keyboards),
Charley Drayton- (Bass),
Louis Mucci- (Trumpet),
Romeo Penque- (Clarinet,Flute, Alto Flute),
Gunther Schuller- (French Horn),
Steve Thornton- (Percussion),
Pat Thrall- (Guitar),
René Urtreger- (Piano),
Carlos Santana- (Guitar),
Joe Bennett & the Sparkletones- (Trombone),
Tony Ruption Williams- (Drums),
Azize Faye- (African Drums),
Ndongo Mbaye (Talking Drum),
01. So What 9:24
02. Summertime 3:19
03. Generique 2:49
04. Stella By Starlight 4:45
05. Fran-Dance (Alternate Take) 5:52
06. Milestone 5:44
07. ‘Round Midnight 5:57
08. Bye Bye Blackbird 7:55
09. Seven Step To Heaven 6:25
10. Time After Time 3:40
11. E.S.P. 5:29
12. Human Nature 4:31
13. It’s About That Time (Radio Edit) 3:41

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Miles DAVIS – The Cellar Door Sessions 1970

Posted in JAZZ, Miles DAVIS on November 19, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Miles DAVIS – The Cellar Door Sessions 1970
6CD Boxset.
2005 Issue.


Contains previously unreleased material. Some of the recordings on the CELLAR DOOR SESSIONS were originally released in edited form on the 1971 double-LP LIVE EVIL.

There is an entire universe contained in this box. Sumptuously packaged and scrupulously annotated, CELLAR DOOR SESSIONS 1970 is a six-disc set that documents Miles Davis’s extended residency at the Washington, D.C., club. Davis is backed by a group of genius musicians: keyboardist Keith Jarrett, drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Michael Henderson, saxophonist Gary Bartz, percussionist Airto Moreira and guitarist John McLaughlin (who appears only on the last two discs). Together they pioneered an ecstatic fusion of jazz, rock, funk, and abstract sound-painting that established the blueprint for the future of progressive music.

Each disc contains a different live set, and while songs are often repeated across the set lists, no two tracks sound the same. The players improvise at a fever-pitch, pushing themselves to endless invention, and the ensemble’s interplay–expressionistic, protean, and fierce–is near telepathic. The influence of rock artists like Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix can be heard in the layering of deep funk rhythms and psychedelic inflections (especially with Miles’s wah-filtered trumpet), but the overall sound seems to subsume and transcend the entire history of 20th century music. In a career full of musical innovation, this is some of Miles’s most visionary work, and this essential set (which also boasts splendid remastering) documents it for a near-religious listening experience.
If you own Live-Evil, you have something good. But if you like Live-Evil this is even better. And you should not hesitate if you’re on the fence. Do not make the mistake of thinking you will just hear extended takes of Live-Evil material  it’s more than that. For all the hype these sessions have generated over the years, I did not expect this to be as good as it was. And yet it exceeded my expectations by Disc One and just got better from there.

To my ears, this is perhaps the last truly great quintet that Miles would lead. There would be other great Miles music after this, but this band deserves the kudos that have been given what has been referred to as the “lost” quintet that preceded it (Shorter/Corea/Holland/DeJohnette). And it’s one of the best representations I can think of that successfully bridges jazz, rock and fusion. it’s also the band I’d recommend to anyone who mistakenly believes Miles was “done” and/or “sold out” when he turned electric.

I don’t know if it’s in the mix or in the take, but Michael Henderson sounds better here than he does on Live-Evil. There are solos by Gary Bartz that will blow you away. Keith Jarrett proves that he could have been a demon of fusion, had he chosen that path. Jack DeJohnette never errs. And Miles turns up the heat and keeps it there throughout.

I will probably never play Live-Evil again, now that I have this and the little Hermeto gems that were included with the Jack Johnson box set. Although I agree with the reviewer who appreciated the difficult task it must have been to construct Live-Evil from these wonderful sessions. I have to wonder, in retrospect, if they chose the sessions with McLaughlin on guitar for Live Evil partly as a marketing strategy — since McLaughlin was also a rising star at the time. And although the sessions with McLaughlin are excellent, they’re not my favorites  the band sounds tighter, more cohesive, with the quintet.

Listen to this band. You will not be bored. You will be amazed.
By  Dean Monti
There is an entire universe contained in this box. Sumptuously packaged and scrupulously annotated, CELLAR DOOR SESSIONS 1970 is a six-disc set that documents Miles Davis’s extended residency at the Washington, D.C., club. Davis is backed by a group of genius musicians: keyboardist Keith Jarrett, drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Michael Henderson, saxophonist Gary Bartz, percussionist Airto Moreira and guitarist John McLaughlin (who appears only on the last two discs). Together they pioneered an ecstatic fusion of jazz, rock, funk, and abstract sound-painting that established the blueprint for the future of progressive music. Each disc contains a different live set, and while songs are often repeated across the set lists, no two tracks sound the same. The players improvise at a fever-pitch, pushing themselves to endless invention, and the ensemble’s interplay–expressionistic, protean, and fierce–is near telepathic. The influence of rock artists like Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix can be heard in the layering of deep funk rhythms and psychedelic inflections (especially with Miles’s wah-filtered trumpet), but the overall sound seems to subsume and transcend the entire history of 20th century music. In a career full of musical innovation, this is some of Miles’s most visionary work, and this essential set (which also boasts splendid remastering) documents it for a near-religious listening experience.
At the end of 1970, Miles Davis was on fire. While his band was in a constant state of turnover, it worked out because his music was in a constant state of fierce evolution. Having incorporated electric instruments and rock rhythms into his bands for the past couple years, Davis was losing the understanding of critics and to some extent his audience. With ears of a couple generations later and the recent explosion of evidence of undocumented bands, it’s possible to really reevaluate this period in Davis’ evolution.

One of the bands that was woefully underdocumented was the sextet on this album– Gary Bartz (saxes), Keith Jarrett (keyboards), Michael Henderson (bass guitar), Jack DeJohnette (drums) and Airto Moreira (percussion). Recorded in December of 1970 during a week-long stretch at Washington D.C.’s Cellar Door club, only some highly edited music from the last night (when the band was joined by guitarist John McLaughlin) was previously released (as part of “Live-Evil”). With this set, we can finally hear what this band was all about.

Generally, each set was about an hour-long continuous performance, usually opening with “Directions” and running through a handful of themes during the course of the performance. The music is deeply rooted in groove and funk– this is no doubt the influence of Michael Henderson, who had a Motown pedigree, but also of Davis’ infatuation with the music of Jimi Hendrix. This placed the rhythm section in a fairly unusual position– Henderson would lay down a vamp (albeit a bit looser than he would a couple years later) that would form the core of the piece while DeJohnette and Moreira would set up a percussive stew using rock and funk grooves but firmly rooted in jazz and Brazillian music (I don’t really know how to describe it– it feels like, but doesn’t sound like, a rock groove when DeJohnette plays). But it’s Keith Jarrett’s performances that are the revelation. Notorious for his hatred of electric instruments (more on that below), Jarrett performs on two keyboards simultaneoulsy, eliciting an oddly associative performance. Henderson indicates in his liner notes that Davis instructed him to ignore what Jarrett is doing– it’s pretty clear this is the case, but somehow it all fits together. But perhaps most remarkable is that Jarrett’s performances don’t really change when a soloist is above him. As far as the soloing goes, Bartz is firmly rooted in a modal/proto-free jazz school, playing angular and excitable Coltrane-influenced solos, but Davis is stunning. Inspired no doubt by the energy and volume of the music, Davis explores his upper register and his technique, playing with a fire and fierceness that seems to shed his label as a delicate and romantic player.

On the last night, the presence of John McLaughlin makes all the difference– the music gets a looser quality and Davis seems even further inspired– indeed, it seems that much of Davis’ best playing was done with McLaughlin at his side. This goes from being a tight, frantic electric rock band to something even more.

Sonically, it sounds fantastic– its definitely a live recording, it’s got that late ’60s/early ’70s recorded-in-a-club sound to it, but it’s crisp, clear and well balanced, all the instruments are audible and presented in a good spot in the mix.

This set is packaged similar to the rest of the recent Miles Davis Columbia boxed set– a booklet-style folio contained in a slipcase, with each disc housed in its own envelope. The accompanying 96-page booklet contains essays by all of the performers and the reissue producers, Bob Belden and Adam Holzman. The producer essays are informative– Belden provides an introduction, Holzman an analysis of the music, but the musicians’ essays are of mixed quality. Some of them write rather nice, heartfelt things, but some of them seem overly concerned with agendas beyond discussing the music (although admittedly Henderson’s defense of himself and the music comes off a bit poor). Of particular note is Keith Jarrett’s rant about both electric keyboards and a rather bitter attack on Marcus Miller. find this sort of thing distracting. A final note– this set was delayed a substantial amount of time by Miles Davis’ nephew, Vince Wilburn, who has partial control over his estate. Evidentally, he took issue with Holzman and Belden being credited as reissue producers and demanded they be changed to reissue compilers. My set has a sticker over the production credits to this effect, I actually can’t believe the set was delayed for several months for something this trivial.

In the end, this is a fantastic set– it’s not quite the “Holy Grail of Lost Recordings” or the “Music That Will Change the Course of Everything” it’s being lauded as by overenthusiastic fans, but it’s awful good music and well worth the investment for any fan of Davis’ work. Highly recommended.
By Michael Stack.
Directed By [Miles Davis Series Direction]- Seth Rothstein , Steve Berkowitz
Drums- Jack DeJohnette
Electric Bass- Michael Henderson
Fender Rhodes Piano, Electric Organ- Keith Jarrett
Guitar- John McLaughlin (tracks: 5-1 to 6-5)
Percussion- Airto Moreira (tracks: 2-1 to 6-5)
Soprano & Alto Sax- Gary Bartz
Trumpet- Miles Davis
Disc 1:
01. Directions 8:57
02. Yesternow 17:05
03. What I Say 13:10
04. Improvisation #1) 4:31
05. Inamorata 13:59

Disc 2:
01. What I Say 13:35
02. Honky Tonk 19:59
03. It’s About That Time 14:41
04. Improvisation #2) 6:39
05. Inamorata 14:33
06. Sanctuary 0:30

Disc 3:
01. Directions 13:13
02. Honky Tonk 18:31
03. What I Say 15:09

Disc 4:
01. Directions 11:55
02. Honky Tonk 17:00
03. What I Say 14:12
04. Sanctuary 2:03
05. Improvisation #3 5:04
06. Inamorata 15:14

Disc 5:
01. Directions 15:11
02. Honky Tonk 20:49
03. What I Say 21:31

Disc 6:
01. Directions 19:06
02. Improvisation #4 5:03
03. Inamorata 18:27
04. Sanctuary 2:12
05. It’s About That Time 7:49

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Miles DAVIS – Fat Time 1981

Posted in JAZZ, Miles DAVIS on November 19, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Miles DAVIS – Fat Time 1981
2001 Issue.


Miles and company deliver a stellar performance. Al Foster’s drumbeat is almost MPC-like as he keeps up a steady, bright crack on his snare. Miller’s bassline provides Davis and Evans the perfect funk groove to solo over. In its simplicity, with only a 2-chord vamp, this song planted the seed for what would be heard later in hip hop.
By Jared Pauley.
“Fat Time” was Mike Stern’s nickname given to him by Miles when he was in the band in the early 80’s.
Recorded on 4 October 1981 in Tokyo, “Miles! Miles! Miles!” was a double-disc set not released until 1996 in Japan. It is a record of Miles’s comeback concerts and is notable for featuring the unedited version of “Jean-Pierre” which appears on ‘We Want Miles’. Miles was very sick on this tour and not at his best, but the rest of the band rally around.
Due to quirks in copyright laws, a number of official and semi-official live albums have been released in Europe. One of those releases is the single-disc “Fat Time”.
Like many of the greatest American musicians, Miles Davis has had a comeback—he’s had four or five of them, actually—but only one where he came back from not playing at all. It was also his least successful one in the short run. The 1975-1981 retirement was a period where Miles watched a lot of TV, and just not being very productive. The years of touring, recording, drug abuse and the whole music business thing finally wore him down by the end of the summer in 1975, and a couple of studio sessions over the next four years proved to be false starts. But by the end of 1980, he was committed to making music again.

These comeback sessions, stretched out over the first five months of 1981 plus a single studio date from May, 1980, weren’t Miles’ best moments in terms of both music and performance. His trumpet sounded feeble and unsure much of the time as he was finding his legs. The two tunes he recorded with nephew Vincent Wilburn’s band were disposable r&b that quickly dated itself. However, for the rest of the songs, Miles’ extraordinary gift for finding supporting talent mostly out of obscurity hadn’t left him.

In March of 1981, Miles went into the studio with Bill Evans on soprano sax (no, not THAT Bill Evans), Mike Stern on electric guitar, Marcus Miller on electric bass, Sammy Figueroa on percussion and the lone holdover from his pre-retirement 70s band, Al Foster on drums, to lay down just one of those tracks for what eventually became The Man With The Horn released later that year. This track became known as “Fat Time.”

Starting with a funky, almost plodding, strut, the song largely picks up where Miles left off in 1975: a circular, dense bass-heavy groove, a loosely defined song structure that’s more like variations on a riff than an actual melody, and a hard-edged guitar. Miles’ playing here is sharper and more focused than elsewhere on the album, and he leads the parades of soloists with a muted horn, while Evans follows. And then it becomes the Mike Stern Show.

Several guitarists (McLaughlin, Scofield, Ford) made their names primarily from their stints with Miles; Stern did so right from this very first track he recorded for the trumpeter. It’s here where Stern shows off his trademark solo style; starting slow and foreboding, unleashing the fury and then bringing it back down to a nice, tidy landing, showing swagger and syncopation the whole way through. He’s killin’ it so bad, you can hear Miller and Foster ratcheting up their own game to keep up, playing harder in sync with Stern. There might be better overall guitarists out there, but I don’t think anyone can modulate a rock guitar solo as perfectly as Mike does, and this one is the jewel on the crown as far as his studio showcases goes.

Miles comes back playing meeker than before, probably having gotten scared poopless by Stern’s guitar. But he soon regroups and takes off the mute in time to let out a song ending exclamatory blurt of the horn. And then in a barely-audible rasps he softly utters “try that.”
bY pICO.
Miles Davis- Trumpet
Bill Evans- Tenor and Soprano Saxophones
Mike Stern- Guitar
Marcus Miller- Bass
Mino Cinelu- Percussion
Al Foster- Drums
01. Back Seat Becky (M. Davis) 20:16
02. Ursula (M. Davis) 2:00
03. My Man’s Gone Now (D. Heyward-G. Gershwin) 15:44
04. Aida (M. Davis) 12:07
05. Fat Time (M. Davis) 12:50
06. Jean Pierre (M. Davis) 11:00

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Miles DAVIS – Get Up With It 1974

Posted in JAZZ, Miles DAVIS on November 16, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Miles DAVIS – Get Up With It 1974


Issued just before Miles Davis entered the dark years of his retirement in 1975, Get Up with It includes tracks recorded between 1970 and 1975, and offers a roster of stars from throughout that period: Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, John McLaughlin, Dave Liebman, Steve Grossman, Sonny Fortune, Pete Cosey, Billy Cobham, and Al Foster. Though something of a mixed bag, the disc does contain two of Davis’s most important compositions. “He Loved Him Madly,” dedicated to Duke Ellington, is a slow, almost novelistically developed meditation on Ellington’s life and work, more than 30 minutes of music. “Rated X” is a buzzing, rattling essay on studio minimalism, and one that prophetically links world music and hip-hop, even before there was a name for such repetitive, incremental musics. Among the other tracks here, “Calypso Frelimo” offers some splendid Davis trumpet, a corrective for those who thought he had lost it by that time. Now digitally remastered, with a brighter sound, Get Up with It seems something of a summing up of Davis’s great electrical period of 1970-1975. But it also hints at things to come when he made his comeback in the 1980s.
By John F. Szwed.
Few lps offer the complete feeling of doom and overt fear as Miles’ “Get Up With It” does. It’e easy to see why now- Duke Ellington’s death; Miles’ escallating drug abuse; his hip left him in constant pain; loss of then lady friend Betty Mabry to Jimi Hendrix, of all people; failed record sales…all these factors and more contributed to Miles’ very very dark demeanor during the mid 70’s, and his music wreaks of his pain.
The very dark, sad, minimalist “He Loved Him Madly” showcases Miles’ deep pain in terms of Ellington’s death. At points, the music sounds like it is going to stop, but Miles, mainly on the keyboards (an increasingly common Miles trait in this period), keeps this melancholic gem going to its completion- arguably one of the most touching tracks in the Miles Canon.

The bizarre “Rated X” is among one of Miles’ most out there efforts, combining what we now call hip hop, with funk, and Stockhausen. The mix makes for an almost danceable, completely eerie, experience.

The danceable (for part of the track, anyhow) “Calypso Frelimo” is an upbeat affair despite its being played in minor keys. Miles’ showcases his still intact trumpet playing chops- his notes biting, scathing, and drenched with wah wah. The deep african percussion by Mtume, funky bass playing by the underrated Mike Henderson, and the rock solid drumming by Al Foster keep this gem going through more minimalist and quiet middle passages, then back to its climatic finish.

And so it goes. Mere words can not do this, or any Miles lp, justice. The music needs to speak for itself, and this lp speaks to all the senses we have and probably beyond them. This lp is not easy listening, to be sure, but well worth the effort. the rewards are one thousand fold.
By  Sean M. Kelly.
When Get Up with It was released in 1974, critics — let alone fans — had a tough time with it. The package was a — by then customary — double LP, with sessions ranging from 1970-1974 and a large host of musicians who had indeed played on late-’60s and early-’70s recordings, including but not limited to Al Foster, Airto, John McLaughlin, Reggie Lucas, Pete Cosey, Mtume, David Liebman, Billy Cobham, Michael Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Sonny Fortune, Steve Grossman, and others. The music felt, as was customary then, woven together from other sources by Miles and producer Teo Macero. However, these eight selections point in the direction of Miles saying goodbye, as he did for six years after this disc. This was a summation of all that jazz had been to Davis in the ’70s and he was leaving it in yet another place altogether; check the opening track, “He Loved Him Madly,” with its gorgeous shimmering organ vamp (not even credited to Miles) and its elaborate, decidedly slow, ambient unfolding — yet with pronounced Ellingtonian lyricism — over 33 minutes. Given three guitar players, flute, trumpet, bass, drums, and percussion, its restraint is remarkable. When Miles engages the organ formally as he does on the funky groove that moves through “Maiysha,” with a shimmering grace that colors the proceedings impressionistically through Lucas, Cosey and guitarist Dominique Gaumont, it’s positively shattering. This is Miles as he hadn’t been heard since In a Silent Way, and definitely points the way to records like Tutu, The Man with the Horn, and even Decoy when he re-emerged.

That’s not to say the harder edges are absent: far from it. There’s the off-world Latin funk of “Calypso Frelimo” from 1973, with John Stubblefield, Liebman, Cosey, and Lucas turning the rhythm section inside out as Miles sticks sharp knives of angular riffs and bleats into the middle of the mix, almost like a guitarist. Davis also moves the groove here with an organ and an electric piano to cover all the textural shapes. There’s even a rather straight — for Miles — blues jam in “Red China Blues” from 1972, featuring Wally Chambers on harmonica and Cornell Dupree on guitar with a full brass arrangement. The set closes with another 1972 session, the endearing “Billy Preston,” another of Davis’ polyrhythmic funk exercises where the drummers and percussionists — Al Foster, Badal Roy, and Mtume — are up front with the trumpet, sax (Carlos Garrett), and keyboards (Cedric Lawson), while the strings — Lucas, Henderson, and electric sitarist Khalil Balakrishna — are shimmering, cooking, and painting the groove in the back. Billy Preston, the organist who the tune is named after, is nowhere present and neither is his instrument. It choogles along, shifting rhythms and meters while Miles tries like hell to slip another kind of groove through the band’s armor, but it doesn’t happen. The track fades, and then there is silence, a deafening silence that would not be filled until Miles’ return six years later. This may be the most “commercial” sounding of all of Miles’ electric records from the ’70s, but it still sounds out there, alien, and futuristic in all the best ways, and Get Up with It is perhaps just coming into its own here in the 21st century.
By Thom Jurek. AMG.
Brass Arranged By- Wade Marcus (tracks: Cd2 01)
Rhythm Arranged By- Billy Jackson (tracks: Cd2 01)
Electric Bass- Michael Henderson
Clavinet – Herbie Hancock (tracks: Cd1 03)
Drums- Al Foster (tracks: Cd1 01, Cd1 03, Cd2 04) , Bernard Purdie (tracks: Cd2 02) , Billy Cobham (tracks: Cd1 03)
Electric Piano Fender Rhodes- Cedric Lawson (tracks: Cd1 03, D3) , Keith Jarrett (tracks: B2)
Flute- Sonny Fortune (tracks: Cd1 03, Cd 04)
Flute, Alto Flute- David Liebman (tracks: A, C)
Guitar- Cornell Dupree (tracks: Cd2 02) , Dominique Gaumont (tracks: Cd1 01, Cd1 03) , Pete Cosey (tracks: Cd1 01, Cd1 03, Cd2 01, Cd2 03) , Reggie Lucas (tracks: Cd1 01, Cd1 03, Cd1 04, Cd2 01, Cd2 03, cd2 04)
Harmonica- Wally Chambers (tracks: Cd2 01)
Percussion- Airto Moreira (tracks: Cd2 02) , James Mtume (tracks: Cd1 01, Cd1 02, Cd2 04 Cd1 04)
Soprano Sax- Carlos Garnett (tracks: Cd2 04) , John Stubblefield (tracks: cd2 01) , Steve Grossman (tracks: Cd1 03)
Electric Sitar- Khalil Balakrishna (tracks: cd1 04, Cd2 04)
Tabla – Badal Roy (tracks: Cd1 04, Cd2 04)
Trumpet, Electric Piano, Organ – Miles Davis
(Cd 1)
He Loved Him Madly  32:13
Flute – David Liebman
Guitar – Dominique Gaumont
Maiysha  14:51
Flute – Sonny Fortune
Guitar – Dominique Gaumont
Honky Tonk  5:53
Drums – Billy Cobham
Guitar – John McLaughlin
Keyboards – Herbie Hancock , Keith Jarrett
Percussion – Airto Moreira
Saxophone – Steve Grossman
Rated X  6:51
Keyboards – Cedric Lawson
Percussion – Badal Roy
Sitar – Khalil Balakrishna

(Cd 2)
Calypso Frelimo  32:05
Flute – David Liebman
Saxophone – John Stubblefield
Red China Blues  4:07
Drums – Bernard Purdie
Guitar – Cornell Dupree
Harmonica – Wally Chambers
Mtume  15:09
Billy Preston  12:36
Keyboards – Cedric Lawson
Percussion – Badal Roy
Saxophone – Carlos Garnett

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