Music and Musings for the last week in June 2006


29 juin 2006, 15h32m

Miles Davis's quintet of the 1960s is one of the most elegant and eloquent in all of jazz, especially of the so-called "hard bop" era. Columbia documented quite a bit of the band's studio output and live sets, which were rare as hen's teeth back in the day, can now be had reasonably.

Still, gems like the Salle Pleyel date from November 6, 1967 tend to bubble up to the surface through sketchy outfits like Jazz Music Yesterday. Don't know how they got a hold of No Blues and I promise not to ask too many questions. I've had this one a few years and I put it on every once in a while to hear the 2nd "classic quintet" put their spin on 'Round Midnight, No Blues, or On Green Dolphin Street.

I have a few of these Miles cd's that have a hard time seeing the light of day through normal channels. They don't appear to be boots--that is, they carry a label and a jewel box and nominal credits.

Here's a sampling of what is out there, but may only be available in Europe or Asia. Trying to find these in the US is maddening:

Title: Live in Zürich
Label: Jazz Unlimited (D) JUCD 3021
Details: April 8, 1960

This was the next to last concert with Coltrane in the lineup. The next night they played in Amsterdam and when they next appeared in Europe it was September of 1960 and Sonny Stitt was in his brief run with Miles as he searched for his replacements for Cannonball and Coltrane.

If I Were a Bell (F. Loesser)16:42
Fran Dance (M. Davis)7:38
So What (M. Davis)15:22
All Blues (M. Davis)17:02
The Theme (M. Davis)0:51
Miles Davis (tpt); John Coltrane (ts); Wynton Kelly (p); Paul Chambers (b); Jimmy Cobb (d)

Another I have is the band as it stood in the summer of 1969 with Corea and DeJohnette at the Festiva Juan les Pins. This one was released at one point by Sony in Japan:

1969 Miles: Festiva de Juan Pins (Sony (J) SRCS 6843)
Details: July 25, 1969
Directions (J. Zawinul)6:00
Miles Runs the Voodoo Down (M. Davis)9:16
Milestones (M. Davis)13:46
Footprints (W. Shorter)11:42
'Round Midnight (B. Hanighen-C. Williams-T. Monk)8:50
It's About That Time (M. Davis)9:30
Sanctuary (W. Shorter-M. Davis)4:15
The Theme (M. Davis)0:35
Miles Davis (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ss, ts); Chick Corea (el-p); Dave Holland (b, el-b); Jack DeJohnette (d)

I admit it. I can listen to Miles for hours. Sue me. An album like Nefertiti bears hours and hours of repeating. At one particularly intense period of my post-grad studies when I could afford only a few hours of sleep a night, I would put Nefertiti on, or Filles De Kilimanjaro and set the volume to the lowest possible to still hear and drift off for a few hours of bliss.

The next one I have is from a concert in Berlin on November 7, 1969. It is the same band as above, but on this one, Bitches Brew is the nucleus and In a Silent Way and first classic quintet material is less prominent.

From 1971, I have a concert again from Switzerland, with Gary Bartz, Keith Jarrett, Michael Henderson, Ndugu Leon Chancler, Don Alias, and Mtume. Recorded live at Neue Stadhalle Switzerland, October 22, 1971. "Switzerland 71" is all that appears on the label, but the material is the second of two sets broadcast on German and Swiss radio. This is Live-Evil territory mostly. Jarrett plays electric piano, an instrument he leaves behind with the Davis Septet. There is an interesting but not compelling duet on ECM recorded around this time by Keith Jarrett and Jack Dejohnette. The album is Ruta and Daitya and
both artists seem to be just scewing around and having a little fun with e-pianos, organ, acoustic piano, flutes, drums and percussion.

The last three are all from the Live-Evil through Agharta/Pangaea era: More Live-Evil, From Pangaea to Agharta and Somewhere in Between, and finally, one that was commercially available when I was in France several years ago, a concert from July 11, 1973 broadcast by Europe1 from the Olympia in Paris. This is the On the Corner band with Reggie Lucas and Dave Liebman. It's on the Phantom label, and apparently they issued a number of licensed (from the radio broadcaster) live dates from the 50s through the 70s.

One of the reasons I like these live recordings, perverse at it may seem, is that I prefer to hear the music as it unfolded rather than as it was spliced and reassembled by Teo Macero. I do like the edited masterpieces as well; they are one reason I am interested in recombinant music. But I also like hearing the band's interplay, which is something that sometimes feels lost to me, especially on On the Corner.

A session listing/discography on Miles Davis which is essential for die-hard Davis fans can be found at:


  • beelzbubba

    I have but six of the live-and-not-Columbia Miles disks, and those are detailed above. I know some serious traders, but I've never had anything that they don't already have, I think.

    2 jui. 2006, 15h26m
  • qss

    Great journal entry Jaymo! Nice to track tour musings. But wait, Jarrett - one of my manias - did record some terrific records that year, 1971: - The mourning of a star (Atlantic) is one of my favorite KJ records, including a delicious cover of Joni Mitchell's 'All I Want'. - 'Expectations'. I think you know: Sam Brown, strings, from free to latin to gospel. I listen to it at least monthly. - Facing You, the - I think - the first ECM solo, unbelievable. All of them miles ahead of the duet...

    3 jui. 2006, 21h06m
  • beelzbubba

    Those are all favorites, and Expectations is an essential. I have put that on lists of 'desert island disks' and all-time-favorites. The Dejohnette/Jarrett duet disk is interesting as an anomaly--no way does it stack up to any of the three you've listed. Or Birth on Atlantic (roughly the same time again).

    3 jui. 2006, 21h13m
  • qss

    My english is almost as bad as my typewriting. I tried to mean It's nice to read your musings or something... :-\

    4 jui. 2006, 0h37m
  • beelzbubba

    Your english is fine and better than my spanish, I guarantee. What do you think of the Jarrett records on Impulse, such as Fort Yahwuh or Treasure Island? Death and the Flower?

    4 jui. 2006, 3h08m
  • qss

    I knew first the ECM records with Garbarek & Co, (I was 12 at that time) but nowadays I listen more to the American Quartet (+1 with Sam Brown). I'm right now listening to Treasure Island -- I have it in my PC @ work. They sound *happy*. I just love Sam Brown's guitar, both raw and delicate. Later on, Jarrett has never included electric instruments. Side recommendation from this period: Paul Motian's Conception Vessel, includes Jarrett in its title theme. Not to be missed...

    4 jui. 2006, 10h36m
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