Saturday, March 29, 2014


Until now, the official recordings of Miles Davis' performances at the Fillmore East between June 17 and 20, 1970 have been limited to Miles at the Fillmore, released as a double-disc. That album's producer Teo Macero edited the recordings to create medleys of each night's music to four 20-minute selections. This four-disc set contains the full concerts. There are 100 minutes of previously unreleased music from Wednesday through Saturday, and an additional 35 minutes of unreleased music from a previous gig at the Fillmore West. These concerts featured the Davis band opening for songwriter Laura Nyro. Bill Graham regularly booked jazz acts to play on bills with rock and pop acts. The rock-pop context is significant because Davis was actively courting that audience -- aided not only by Graham but by FM DJs playing the just-released Bitches Brew. The band -- saxophonist Steve Grossman, Dave Holland on electric bass, drummer Jack DeJohnette, percussionist Airto Moreira, Chick Corea on electric piano, and Keith Jarrett on organ -- was loud and driving, and its sound was drenched in wah-wah pedals; distortion was employed when necessary. Both keyboardists played in the group for only three months. The program for each evening was basically the same: "Directions," "The Mask," "It's About That Time," "Bitches Brew," and "The Theme." But each disc offers a different bonus: an encore, an unexpected performance, or tracks from the Fillmore West. The charts are loose but focused, and the group's improvisational dynamic is breathtaking and entirely different each night. Davis is exceptionally strong. His playing is inventive, full of questions and muscular statements. Some notable solos occur on Wednesday's "It's About That Time," the Fillmore West's "Footprints" and "Paraphernalia," and the searing intensity displayed on "Directions," from Friday. Grossman's soprano playing is stunning on each version of "Bitches Brew"; his bluesy tenor playing is at its best on Thursday's "Spanish Key." Individually and collectively, DeJohnette and Holland add an extreme funkiness to the band's bottom. Their interplay is canny, full of unlikely yet nasty grooves -- check Thursday's "The Mask," or the throbbing pulse and roiling breaks on Friday's "Directions." Jarrett's colors, textures, and stabs add an entirely different dimension to the band's attack. Check the spooky, sinister vamping and soloing on "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down" from the Fillmore West. Corea is alternately knotty and atmospheric. He can push the horns hard -- listen to Thursday's "Directions" -- or paint through Jarrett's wah-wah organ with an expressionist brush -- as on Saturday's "Willie Nelson" -- and his solos are risky. Airto's vocal and percussion arsenal is wildly different, not only from tune to tune, but night to night! The sound here is fantastic: balanced and detailed. The box includes a 28-page booklet with an essay by Michael Cuscuna and producer's notes with Richard Seidel, along with rare photographs and a poster. Miles at the Fillmore - Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 3 is an essential addition to the Davis canon.



moremiles said...

Thanks very much this is a real gem for sure.

La Canoura said...

Gracias Warren!!!!