Sony Legacy continues to dig into the Miles Davis treasure chest and has come up with another wonderful cache, Miles Davis’ band with Steve Grossman/ts-ss, Chick Corea-Keith Jarrett/key, Dave Holland/b, Jack DeJohnette/dr and Airto Moreira/perc/fl. They are captured here at a series of gigs at the Fillmore East from June 17-20 and the Fillmore West at a single April 11 1970 concert, all done just two months after the release of Bitches Brew. The music, some of which was released in truncated, edited and essentially untitled form on a twin lp Miles Davis At The Fillmore, has all the music from his from the four day gig, complete with a surprise encore and some extra ditties, and is chock full of hours’ worth of material previously unissued, therefore being completely both revelatory and Illuminating.
The 4-cd set shows that the band essentially stuck to a program of “Directions/The Mask/I Fall In Love Too Easily/Sanctuary/Bitches Brew/Theme at the Fillmore East with the West gigs including “Paraphernalia,” “Footprints” and “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down,” with the latter omitting Jarrett’s keyboards, but having as more attitude than the original studio take. Sound-wise, the East gigs were recorded as crystal clear as you could dream for, with the West being just a tinge more muffled, but the moody and eerie take of Miles being spotlighted on “Footprints” with Corea’s mysterious musings more than justifies its release. A take of Davis running through the rarely performed “Willie Nelson” (from the Jack Johnson sessions) is filled with flying sparks.
The rhythm team of DeJohnette, Moreira and Holland is Sly and the Family Stone funky, with an irresistible backbeat on “Directions” and “It’s About That Time” that is crisp, modern and as tight as the Fabulous Flames. Davis himself sounds inspired throughout, with a rich and confident tone, mixing up long tones, licks and quick staccato notes like a middle weight boxer working an opponent into a corner. On ballads such as “I Fall In Love Too Easily” and the moody section of “Bitches Brew” he weaves in between the electronic keyboards like a slithering snake, showing his growing debt to the likes of Jimi Hendrix. Goodman sounds like a mix of John Coltrane and Gene Ammons on “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down” while Moreira’s flute adds intermittent atmosphere. DeJohnette gets feisty during his chance at center stage on “The Mask”, but it’s the rejuvenated leader that sounds like the cock of the walk here. This one, like the previous Bootlegs, is a keeper! How much more gold from these Klondike mines is there to be brought to light?!?