Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A marketing man's nightmare
m_noland | Washington, DC United States | 04/06/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded live by at the Antibes Jazz Festival on 25 July 1969, three weeks before the start of the "Bitches Brew" sessions, with the kernel of that band - Miles, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette. The set list shows the transitional nature of the repertoire - it includes everything from "Round Midnight" and "Milestones" which Miles had first recorded in the 1950s; Shorter's classic "Footprints" from the mid-1960s, and radically different compositions such as Joe Zawinul's "Directions," Shorter's "Sanctuary," and Davis' self-credited "Its About That Time," which had yet appear on studio recordings. (Oddly enough, the original studio recording of "Directions," for years a Davis concert staple, would not be released until 1980.) The band seems to be in transition as well - they don't seem to have mastered the newer material, but they don't play the older material with particular grace or sensitivity either (that said, Dave Holland nails "Miles Chases the Voodoo Down" - he's got to be the funkiest British bass player ever). It would in fact take Davis years to get to the point where his band could reproduce the aural pastiche that he and Teo Macero were able to construct through judicious editing of studio tapes. From a marketing standpoint it would have been a no brainer not to release this material when it was first recorded, and indeed, this recording had only an extremely limited release on vinyl in the early 1970s. An interesting postcard from a period of transition, it probably is only of interest to committed fans of late 1960s Miles Davis."
The Lost Quintet
G B | Connecticut | 04/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I must emphatically disagree with the other reviewer -- this is a recording of one of Miles's best live groups, the so-called "Lost Quintet" with Davis, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette. There are hints of the rockish directions Davis was concurrently pursuing in the studio on tunes like "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down" and "It's About That Time", but notwithstanding Chick's electric piano this group picks up where Davis's 2nd Great Quintet (w/Herbie, Ron, and Tony) left off. The music frequently crosses the line between challenging post-bop and cerebral avant-garde explorations. "Footprints" in particular gets an exhiliratingly free ride, and even the two rock-influenced tracks wander outside as soon as Davis finishes soloing.
The trumpet playing on this CD is often explosive and aggressive, with Davis at the peak of his trumpet-playing chops. Wayne Shorter plays both soprano and tenor, and provides some of the most powerful, avant-garde playing of his career. And this rhythm section, fully engaged in the collective improvisation mentality of the 60s "New Thing" but also willing to swing hard or get funky, is arguably the best that Davis ever had.
This disc includes some of the final recordings of "Milestones" and "'Round Midnight" (the latter begins with a beautiful Davis-Corea duet but accelerates to a torrid pace for Wayne and Chick's solos). There's also an outstanding interpretation of Joe Zawinul's explosive "Directions", which was Davis's set-opener from 1969 to 1971 and essentially tracked the evolution of his music over that time span. (Given the nature of the music at this concert, this version is much freer than those on the better-known recordings from 1970.)
Unfortunately, this recording doesn't seem to be available domestically in the US, but it's worth looking hard for any of Davis's live European recordings from 1969 (most are "unofficial"). Hopefully Sony will issue them here soon. Until then, you might have to console yourself with the March 1970 recording from the Fillmore East (It's About That Time), which is more "rock" and less "free" than this one but still gives a taste of what this great band could do. Whether you view the Lost Quintet as the end of the progression that Davis began on Seven Steps to Heaven (the last quintet), or the beginning of the evolution that would lead Davis to Agharta and Pangaea (the first electric band), this concert from July 1969 is truly essential and groundbreaking music."