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This band never recorded in a studio, and devotees of the plugged-in Miles will take particular interest in the dynamic ebb and flow as the ensemble work out a point of view on Discs 1-4. The music on these 20 tracks is fresh and devoid of cliché; no rock band of the time -- or since -- could think on their feet like this, balancing raw energy, intelligence, and unfettered imagination. On successive performances of songs like “Inamorata,” “Directions,” “What'd I Say,” and “Honky Tonk,” the ideas are focused -- and different each night. No one plays to the house, and all members are on the same page. The music isn’t meditatively trippy, like Bitches Brew; rather, the feel is more like a psychedelic juke-joint, imbued with blues feeling, deep grooves, and heavy pockets. It’s a singular, short-lived moment on the jazz timeline.
It would be hard to overstate the impact of Jarrett’s playing on the first three nights. For one thing, he comps with uncanny intuition and sensitivity, often doubling lines instantaneously. He conjures lyric sequences, strikes the keys with drum-like force, and plays with sound like a mad scientist, at one moment evoking guitar skronk, at another paralleling the leader’s wah-wah-suffused trumpet tone. Davis sets the template with a series of lucid solos, also guitar-accented, on which he deploys a minimum of notes and a maximum of inflection. In contrast, Bartz unleashes a succession of notey, blues-fueled declamations with a Coltrane cry. Henderson constructs resonant vamps, synchronizing with DeJohnette: As Henderson constructs butt-shaking long form vamps, DeJohnette is on top of the flow, driving the pulse with a locked-in machine-gun shuffle, breaking the rhythms to leave space as the solos progress, and sound-painting with rubato nuance on free-improvised collective interludes. When McLaughlin hits the stand on night four, he susses out the situation, finds his space, and plays with virtuosic flair, logic, and ensemble orientation. It’s interesting to hear Jarrett tamp down the timbral fireworks and uncork melodic, rhythmically dazzling solos in response to the guitar giant.
As always with Sony-Legacy productions, audio values are first rate: The crisp 24-bit digital remix allows you to hear every instrument in relation to the others. The booklet offers essays from each participant and lots of photos that evoke the milieu of 1970, when everything seemed possible -- and, more often than not, was.
|Miles Davis||Primary Artist, Trumpet|
|Gary Bartz||Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone|
|Keith Jarrett||fender rhodes|
|John McLaughlin||Guitar, Electric Guitar|
|Michael Henderson||Bass Guitar|
|Michael J. Henderson||Electric Bass|
|Gary Bartz||Liner Notes|
|Jack DeJohnette||Liner Notes|
|Keith Jarrett||Composer, Liner Notes|
|John McLaughlin||Liner Notes|
|Airto Moreira||Liner Notes|
|Adam Holzman||Liner Notes|
|Seth Rothstein||Art Direction|
|Howard Fritzson||Art Direction|
|Michael J. Henderson||Liner Notes|
|Dan Ichimoto||Art Direction|
|Murray Lerner||Still Pictures|
|Jim Marshall||Cover Photo|
|Stanley Tonkel||Producer, Engineer|
Posted October 1, 2010
Amazing music....Most of it never before heard! Keith Jarrett should have pursued a career in fusion! If you only heard this band on Live/Evil I suggest you get this set....Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 16, 2008
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