February 2, 2013

Playlist Week of 2013-02-02

Miles Davis - Bootleg Series Volume 2

* Purcell: Fantasias For The Viols 1680 (Hespèrion XX/Savall) (Alia Vox SACD)
* Marais: Sonnerie de Sainte-Geneviéve du Mont, etc. (Harnoncourt, et al.) (Harmonia Mundi CD)
* Rameau: Pièces de Clavecin en Concerts (Rousset, et al.) (Harmonia Mundi CD)
* Geminiani: Cello Sonatas, Op.5 (ter Linden/Mortensen) (Brilliant Classics CD)
* Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe (Boston Symphony/Munch) (RCA-Victor SACD)
* Charlie Parker: The Complete Savoy & Dial Studio Recordings (d.3-4) (selections) (Savoy/Atlantic 8CD)
* Miles Davis: The Bootleg Series Vol.2: Live In Europe 1969 (Columbia/Legacy 3CD/DVD)
* Miles Davis: The Cellar Door Sessions 1970 (d.3-4) (Columbia/Legacy 6CD)
* Sun Ra: WKCR-FM, Columbia University, New York, NY 1977-07-08 (FM CDR)
* Sun Ra: Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Saturn LP>CDR)
* Sun Ra: Some Blues But Not The Kind That’s Blue (Saturn/Atavistic CD)
* Sun Ra: Unity (Horo 2LP>CDR)
* Stan Getz: Focus (Verve CD)
* Stan Getz: Plays Music From “Mickey One” (Verve CD)
* Weather Report: Black Market (Columbia LP)
* Isaac Hayes: Black Moses (Enterprise/4MWB 2LP)
* D’Angelo: Brown Sugar (EMI CD)
* D’Angelo: Voodoo (Virgin CD)
* Rock Candy Funk Party: We Want Groove (J&R Enterprises CD/DVD)
* Jimi Hendrix Experience: Winterland (d.2) (Experience Hendrix/Legacy 4CD)
* The Who: My Generation (Decca/Universal SACD)
* Grateful Dead: Cincinnati Gardens, Cincinatti, OH 12/4/73x (GDP/Rhino HDCD)
* Grateful Dead: Dave’s Picks Vol.4: Williamsburg, VA 9/24/76 (selections) (GDP/Rhino 3HDCD)
* Fleetwood Mac: Rumours (Expanded Edition) (selections) (Warner Bros. MP3)†
* Black Sabbath: Black Sabbath (Warner Bros./Rhino LP)
* Black Sabbath: Paranoid (Warner Bros./Rhino LP)
* This Mortal Coil: Filigree & Shadow (4AD HDCD)
* Jah Wobble: Heaven & Hell (Island CD)
* Jah Wobble & Bill Laswell: Radioaxiom: A Dub Transmission (Axiom/Island CD)
* Tetragramaton: Submerge (Ion CD)
* Brokeback: Field Recordings From The Cook County Water Table (Thrill Jockey MP3)†
* Brokeback: Morse Code In The Modern Age: Across The Americas (Thrill Jockey MP3)†
* Brokeback: Looks At The Bird (Thrill Jockey MP3)†
* Brokeback: Brokeback And The Black Rock (Thrill Jockey MP3)†
* Opeth: The Roundhouse Tapes (Peaceville DVD)
* High On Fire: Blessed Black Wings (Relapse CD/DVD)
* The Mars Volta: Frances The Mute (Gold Standard Labs/Universal CD)
* The Mars Volta: “The Widow” (Gold Standard Labs/Universal CDEP)
* The Mars Volta: Scabdates (Gold Standard Labs/Universal CD)
* The Mars Volta: Amputecture (Gold Standard Labs/Universal CD)
* The Mars Volta: The Bedlam In Goliath (Gold Standard Labs/Universal CD/DVD)
* Coheed and Cambria: No World For Tomorrow (Columbia CD/DVD)
* Pelican: Pelican (Hydra Head CDEP)†
* Pelican: Australasia (Hydra Head CD)
* Pelican: City Of Echoes (Hydra Head CD)
* White Hills: Abstractions & Mutations (Immune LP)
* White Hills: Heads On Fire (Thrill Jockey LP)
* Ex Cops: True Hallucinations (Other Music/Fat Possum MP3)†



In what looks to be a not-quite-annual event, the second volume of the Miles Davis Bootleg Series finally arrived this week—but, like the last one, it’s worth the wait. Featuring the great “Lost Quintet” with Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette, the three-CD plus DVD set contains four concerts recorded for European radio and television broadcasts in 1969. This version of Miles’s working band never recorded in the studio, where he was experimenting with fluctuating ensembles on In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew; hence the "lost" appellation. The Bootleg Series Vol.2 provides a much-needed opportunity to examine this crucial, if transitional, period in Miles’s storied career.

The first two discs contain the quintet’s performances at the Antibes Jazz Festival on July 25 and 26. The first night’s concert was released by Sony-Japan in 1993, but I’ve never seen it (much less heard it). The second show circulates from the original radio broadcast but these CDs sound much better, presumably taken from the station master reels. That said, these are pretty rough-sounding tapes to begin with, with wonky balances and significant distortion in places—but their historical significance cannot be overstated. Although  Bitches Brew titles like “Miles Runs The Voodoo Down” and “Spanish Key” make appearances, much of the old quintet repertoire remains. It is fascinating to hear the electric piano and the Holland/DeJohnette rhythm section on such classics as “’Round Midnight,” “I Fall In Love Too Easily,” and “No Blues.” You also get the band’s takes on the Wayne Shorter compositions, “Footprints,” “Masqualero” and “Nefertiti.” With the move into ever-funkier territory, this material would, for the most part, fall by the wayside. Despite the dodgy sound, it’s worth it just to hear Miles’s music evolve right before your very ears.

The third CD was recorded a few months later at the Folkets Hut in Stockholm on November 5 and, again, the sound quality is decidedly better than the circulating bootleg. Unfortunately, we only get the first set (plus one track from the second, a rare performance of Chick Corea’s, “This”). Nevertheless, this is a very interesting concert, most notable for the malfunction of the Fender Rhodes, which necessitated Corea’s move to an acoustic piano for the remainder of the show. This inspired a slight shift in the setlist, with “Paraphernalia,” “Nefertiti” and “Masqualero” making a return. But electricity is generated by the material and musicians—not the instruments—and skeptical critics could have learned something from hearing these performances at the time, which are just as fiery as with the electric piano. It’s a unique concert and a shame the second set is not included; still, I can see why Sony intends to limit these things to four discs. Well, that just leaves plenty more from this tour to fill out future volumes of The Bootleg Series.

The DVD contains the November 7 performance at the Philharmonie in Berlin, an obvious choice since high-quality footage survives intact and has been re-broadcast on the state-run television several times since. So, while this transfer is a noticeable improvement over the most recent bootlegs, hardcore collectors will not gain much here. The rest of you, however, are in for a real treat! This is the “Lost Quintet” in full-flight, captured in vivid Technicolor. The electric piano has been fixed, everyone is dressed to kill—and they do. An unstable amalgam of rock, jazz, funk and avant-garde freedom, this is some of my very favorite Miles Davis music; it is certainly some of his most fiercely adventuresome. The telepathic interplay of the musicians is amazing to watch and Miles’s non-verbal command is almost terrifying in its intensity. Most of the time, these sorts of “bonus” DVDs are a waste of time—but this one is essential and worth the cost of admission all by itself.

Once again, Columbia/Legacy has done a superlative job presenting this material for the masses. Even though I have over a hundred Miles Davis bootlegs in my collection, I’m extremely happy to have this upgrade and am definitely looking forward to Volume 3.


George said...

I just ordered this a few days ago, and now I'm really excited to get it!
By the way, the live DVD at Isle of Wight in August 1970 is mind-blowing, IMHO, in case you haven't seen it.

Rodger Coleman said...

@ George - you'll love it. And, hey, thanks for reminding me of that Isle of Wight DVD. I never got it when it came out for some reason. It's on its way to me now!

Sam said...

Yeah, another one to add to the list! The hots just keep on comin'....

My lists for last week:

Playlist 2013-02-04:

*Bach: Goldberg Variations (Angela Hewitt, 2009-04-29 Royal Festival Hall) (CDR)
*Helmut Lachenmann: A Portrait (CDR) disc 2
*Muhal Richard Abrams Experimental Band: 2012-08-25 Saalfelden, Austria (CDR)
*Marshall Allen/Elliott Levin/Tim Harding/Sam Byrd: 2007-12-13 Richmond VA (CDR)
*Boris Bobby Jr.: 2012-04-22 Richmond, VA (wav)
*Boris Bobby Jr.: 2012-06-12 Ghost Print Gallery, Richmond VA (wav)
*Kris Davis/Ingrid Laubrock/Tom Rainey Trio: 2011-10-22 Cormons, Italy (CDR)
*Miles Davis: The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions (discs 1, 2)
*New Loft: 2012-12-03 “White Collar Burden” (wav)
*New Loft: 2013-01-07 “As Of When” (wav)
*Red Norvo Trio: The Savoy Sessions
*Terje Rypdal: Odyssey: In Studio & In Concert (disc 3)
*Pharoah Sanders: Pharoah’s First
*Sun Ra: Secrets of the Sun
*Various artists: Central Avenue Sounds (selections)
*Beach Boys: Smile (Odeon Records, 2nd ed.) (boot CDR)
*Chocolate USA: Smoke Machine
*Faust: 71 Minutes of Faust
*Faust: BBC Sessions +
*Grateful Dead: 1973-03-16 Uniondale, NY (CDR) “Dark Star”
*Grateful Dead: 1973-03-21 Utica NY (CDR) “Dark Star”
*Grateful Dead: 1973-03-24 Philadelphia (CDR) “Truckin’ > Jam > Dark Star”
*Grateful Dead: 1973-08-01 Roosevelt Stadium, NJ (CDR) “Dark Star”
*Grateful Dead: 1974-02-24 Winterland (CDR) “Dark Star”
*Grateful Dead: 1974-05-14 University of Montana (CDR) “Dark Star”
*King Crimson: Live in Guildford 1972
*Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks: Mirror Traffic
*Mastodon: Crack the Skye
*Opeth: Watershed
*Opeth: Heritage
*Sigur Ros: (Untitled)
*Soft Machine: 1975-01-10 Enschede, The Netherlands (CDR)
*Dusty Springfield: Complete A and B Sides 1963-1970 (disc 2)

Reading List 2013-02-04:

*Proust, Marcel. In Search of Lost Time, vol. VI: Time regained, transl. Mayor/Kilmartin, rev. Enright (reread/started)
*Saunders, George. The Braindead Megaphone (started)
*Proust, Marcel. In Search of Lost Time, vol. V: The Fugitive, transl. Scott-Moncrieff/Kilmartin, rev. Enright (reread/finished)
*Bellamy, Dodie. The Letters of Mina Harker (in progress)
*The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics. Annotated by David Dodd (in progress)