Monday, February 11, 2013

Miles Davis Quintet - Live In Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 (Legacy, 2013)

In-between trumpeter Miles Davis’ second great quintet and his full immersion fusion phase, he lead a fascinating group that came to be called the “lost quintet.” Consisting of Davis on trumpet, Wayne Shorter on tenor and soprano saxophones, Chick Corea on keyboards, Dave Holland on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums, the group toured widely in the summer and fall of 1969, never recording in the studio, but being recorded live for radio or television broadcast several times in Europe. The recordings are valuable, because they open a window and show how rapidly the their music was evolving during this period. Davis had cracked his music wide open playing with Tony Williams in the previous quintet, and the musical landscapes become even more vivid here, with Corea’s amplified keyboards, DeJohnette’s dynamic drumming and Shorter’s enigmatic snake-charmer saxophone. Their selections are a fascinating mix of older compositions that Davis had been playing for years, well known anthems like his own “Milestones” and Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” and the then unreleased compositions that would mark his early electronic albums. “Directions,” which is played on three of the four sets is explosive, with Davis leading the way in torrid bursts of sound, while the band roars like a rocket bound for liftoff. Despite having this power at their control, the group was very tight, weaving their songs together into a continuous whole and proceeding from melody to melody as Davis queued the themes. That they are able to shift gears so well between different compositions and widescreen improvisations is a testament to this band’s power and grace. This boxed set consists of three compact discs containing concerts from France and Sweden and then a DVD with a concert from Berlin. The sound quality may not be so hot (these were bootlegs after all) but the performance quality is out of sight. Not to be missed. Live In Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol 2 -

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