Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Black Beauty: Miles Davis at Fillmore West
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Limited edition picture LP. Vinyl Maniacs. 2005.
Listen to Samples
Limited edition picture LP. Vinyl Maniacs. 2005.
Better Sound Than It's About That Time, Weaker Performance
Talking Wall | Queen Creek, AZ | 10/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Any fan of Miles's electric work is going to want these sets recorded at the Fillmore West about a month after It's About That Time was recorded at the Fillmore East. Apart from Miles moving off mic once or twice early on, it does sound as though the engineers are getting a handle on how to record this band live.
Miles's playing is extraordinary. He really rips it up, though it does sound like he kind of loses interest in a couple of places on the second disc. De Johnette and Holland are absolutely, positively the best rhythm section in the history of rock period. Their performances are much clearer on these sets than on the earlier Fillmore East sets. While the overall performance at the Fillmore East (that included Wayne Shorter) is markedly stronger and far more intense, De Johnette's and Holland's playing is a bit muddy - it's much cleaner here on Black Beauty. Holland is sounds fabulous on the track called Willie Nelson.
Steve Grossman's playing isn't so bad as other's have made out though it does sound a little thin after hearing Wayne Shorter blow his tenor to pieces on the Fillmore East release. Grossman is only heard on Soprano on Black Beauty. It is interesting to hear Chick encourage him on Directions, the opening track. When Grossman seems to stall, you can hear Corea chime in and start some dialog with him and get his solo moving again.
Chick's playing seems to have a lot more form on these sessions than on the other two Fillmore releases, lots of interesting stuff going on and his noodling around with the ring modulator device is kind of fun and spaced-out.
Airto's playing is also a lot easier to hear in the mix on this release than his playing on the earlier concert.
If I could rate this 4.5 stars I would because the earlier Fillmore East sets are so much stronger... they were downright savage. Black Beauty is still very good, it just isn't as good as It's About That Time despite its superior sound. Buy only after you purchase It's About That Time - Live at the Fillmore East."
One thing's for sure: It ain't like NOTHING else.
finulanu | Here, there, and everywhere | 11/28/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Like most live Miles albums from the fusion period, this is about kicking butt, taking names, and kicking a bit more butt on the way. Steve Grossman even takes some Coltrane mannerisms during his solo on Zawinul's exciting "Directions" (though Zawinul himself had left to form Weather Report, taking Shorter with him). I think that's pretty cool myself, since not only am I a massive Coltrane fan, it also allows Miles and the band to expand their horizons even further than they had already been stretched, which is impressive. And Chick Corea gets intense on that one. I mean, it's hard to tell he's playing keyboard at all. After that is a mutated "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down", sped up in comparison to the original arrangement and with more emphasis on the "rock" element (though interestingly there's not an electric guitarist on this album - I assume McLaughlin was with the Mahavishnu Orchestra at the time, which means Dave Holland's fantastic bass playing is a central part of the song), and barely noticeable other than a couple trumpet motifs. Sadly, the groove has been taken away, but it's still really good. Steve Grossman plays a cool solo, too. After that comes "Willie Nelson", a Jack Johnson outtake. If you ask me, it has too much of Chick Corea's annoying, harsh keyboards to justify the cool bass playing. And, just to satisfy the "My Funny Valentine" crowd, there's a minute-long rendition of "I Fall in Love Too Easily". And, for reasons unbeknownst to me, they dragged "Sanctuary" off of Bitches Brew - it was a bad song then, and it doesn't get much better in this incarnation, which is at least shorter. Much better is "It's About That Time", with (once again) a nimble Holland bass line. In a Silent Way is a hell of an album, you know, and "It's About That Time", with the funky ascending motif (specifically the funky ascending motif), is my favorite part of that album. After that comes the biggest disappointment of the night: "B*tches Brew", dominated by Corea's aggravating guitar-imitating synthesizer. And without the echo effect on Miles' trumpet (understandably difficult to reproduce in a live setting), the piece loses the menacing aura it had on the studio original. He also trots out "Masqualero" from Sorcerer, but unfortunately the electric treatment does not suit it well. A big surprise (to me, at least) from this album is "Spanish Key". I only like pieces of the original, but Miles infuses it with a quadruple shot of energy; Dave Holland's bass adds interest; and even Corea's wacked-out keyboards sound good, or at least fit the song. This is interesting, and it sure stands out, but it's nowhere near in the first rank of Miles' electric albums. (To me, that would be In a Silent Way, Live-Evil, Big Fun and the live Dark Magus. And yes, I've heard B*tches Brew, but only about half of it impresses me)."
Space and beyond with Miles, Chick, Jack, Airto & Dave
Earsby | Norman, OK United States | 09/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What's not to like? Miles had a 20+ year history of choosing his band members and this time, just following the release of the earth-shattering Bitches Brew, Miles had put together a lineup of monster young players would would go on to dominate the music scene for years to come. But why do I call this space music?
Because, unlike later configurations of Miles' electric bands that featured Michael Henderson on bass because of his ability to stick to the pocket and play the funk/soul, Dave Holland is, like everyone else in this band, an accomplished jazz bassist playing electric utilizing wah pedal and roaming much freer. Then Chick Corea has the electric piano and he's experimenting with the ring modulator as well as simply playing way out there on electric piano. Jack Dejohnette's drumming is so conducive to this bordering-on-free-jazz mixture of tonalities, and Airto puts his mojo on the whole proceedings. From this point on Miles would make choices of his replacement musicians that were taking commerciality or accessibility into account. Arguably the most free-form whole electric band Miles would put on stage. Still, all of Miles' electric bands had elements of free jazz, certainly the Cellar Door or Live-Evil era band with Keith Jarrett at piano, but his bassist Michael Henderson grounded the proceedings with repetitive rhythmic vamps; whereas, Dave Holland is going on the journey with everyone else on Black Beauty. This is a truly Beautiful time for Miles."