In retrospect, Miles Live at Fillmore was an odd choice as the first Miles Davis album I ever bought. The reason I chose it was simple. I was curious about his music, and that was the only title my local record store had in their used bin.
So I plunked down my four bucks, took it home, and plugged in to the music of the legendary trumpeter at just about the midpoint of his long career. The original four sides of vinyl have been fleshed out to four CDs for the newly released Live at The Fillmore: Miles Davis 1970:
Summary : This historic 1970 stand is a must for any fan of electric Miles Davis.
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In retrospect, Miles Live at Fillmore was an odd choice as the first Miles Davis album I ever bought. The reason I chose it was simple.
I was curious about his music, and that was the only title my local record store had in their used bin. So I plunked down my four bucks, took it home, and plugged in to the music of the legendary trumpeter at just about the midpoint of his long career. The original four sides of vinyl have been fleshed out to four CDs for the newly released Live at The Fillmore: Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol.
3 from Columbia Legacy, and it is a very impressive package.
The double LP had not been well received by the critics, and now I understand why. They probably felt that the set was more about Teo Macero than Miles. The original concerts took place at The Fillmore East, in New York during Davis four-day stand of June 17-20, 1970.
Incredibly enough, he was opening for Laura Nyro. Producer Macero edited each night s set down to 20 minutes, and titled them Wednesday Miles, Thursday Miles, and so on for each of the four vinyl sides. The new edition presents the full set of each night per disc, plus material recorded at the Fillmore West from that year as bonus tracks.
Bitches Brew had been released in April 1970, and was immediately picked up by the hip rock crowd, including underground FM radio, and Rolling Stone magazine.
This period would eventually lead to Davis being the only jazz musician to ever be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And with good reason, for this music has much more in common with what groups such as The Grateful Dead or The Allman Brothers Band were doing than jazz.
The reason The Grateful Dead s concert tapes are so prized is that the group could be radically different from show to show. In some ways, the Davis band of this period shares this quality.
The setlists are similar from night to night, but with musicians of this caliber, the solo spots are never the same.
This may have been the most all-star band that Miles ever had. The group included Chick Corea (electric piano), Keith Jarrett (organ, tambourine), Dave Holland (bass), Jack DeJohnette (drums), Steve Grossman (tenor sax, soprano sax), and Airto Moreira (percussion, flute). Although I mentioned such jam band precursors as the Dead and Allmans previously, the Davis band is closer to the heavy metal music of the day than anything else.
Miles was a fan of Jimi Hendrix, and the thunderous roar this group makes is not unlike that of Led Zeppelin.
The first three songs are the same each night. They open with Joe Zawinul s Directions, then The Mask, followed by It s About That Time. Although the studio version of Directions would not be released until 1980, it hardly mattered to the crowd.
The track provides a high-energy introduction, with Davis horn bursting forth immediately, then stepping back to allow Grossman s sax to dominate with some Coltrane-inspired sheets of sound. It is fascinating to listen to the two keyboardists in action, as they are identified in the notes by channels, with Corea on the left, and Jarrett on the right.
Next up is The Mask, which wears its voodoo proudly right from the mysterious keyboard opening. Then Miles steps up and really punches in with his trumpet.
Davis is famous for the muted sound he used so effectively, but in this context he blows with abandon. On this tune, Grossman takes the sly approach, playing the lower register of his sax to the loud approval of the Fillmore hippies. The Mask is a spellbinding tune and gives the crowd a chance to catch their breath after Directions.
The segue into It s About That Time is nearly invisible, but once they get it going, it does not stop.
Besides Hendrix, the other artist of the era that turned Davis head was Sly Stone, which the funky groove of It s About That Time bears witness to.
Holland s bass is key, and listening to him between the dueling keyboards at around the nine-minute mark is a beautiful thing.