Miles Davis - "Live And Electric!" series of albums.

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by DaveBeny, Oct 18, 2001.

  1. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    I saw a poster in Tower Records recently advertising a new(?) series of Miles Davis reissues in a series called "Live and Electric!".

    'Black Beauty: Miles Davis At Filmore West'
    'Miles Davis At Fillmore: Live At The Filmore East'
    'In Concert: Live At Philharmonic Hall'
    'Dark Magus'

    They all come in gatefold, cardboard cases with new liner notes, etc.

    As I love the recent release, 'It's About That Time', I thought I'd pick up some of these, but the reviews I've read at, don't paint a very good picture of these albums. Does anyone have opinions on them?

    I'd really like to get 'Agharta' but am going to wait to see if it gets remastered as part of this series - I hate buying something for it to be replaced by a new version soon after!

  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Live-Evil, Fillmore and In Concert were the only ones issued in the US on LP, the other two came out only in Japan.

    These CDs are the first US issues of the Japanese titles, they have all been out for about two years now I think ("Big Fun" was also reissued as part of this set). Agharta was released on CD for quite a while ago (as was Pangaea) but of course Sony seems to like to REremaster (how many times have they done Kind of Blue so far?) so maybe they'll do it again but I doubt it.

    Live-Evil is a great album and is about half studio sides. Fillmore is transitional, it is not quite as spacey as Bitches Brew but is not as funky as later releases with Michael Henderson on bass (Dave Holland plays on this and Black Beauty).

    In Concert has a similar lineup to On The Corner, the original LP had no credits or titles, just labeled sides 1-4!!! Rambling dark funk minus the spacey studio effects. Not as good IMHO as Pangaea or Agharta, your mileage may vary.

    Black Beauty and Dark Magus I have never heard so can't comment on them.
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Caveat: Most of these records have sub-standard sound quality(not even as 'good' as It's About That Time).

    That said-
    Black Beauty is "similiar" to the recent It's About That Time.
    I like Live-Evil alot...I really like both Panagea and Agartha(I picked both these 'companion' recordings up this past Summer...Cosey kicks some major ass & Sonny Fortune ain't so bad, either. The bottom end, as you're probably aware by now, is pretty dense & thick...although bassist Michael Henderson sounds more comfortable than on previous albums.
    The 'tunes' are basically extended free-form jams; there are snippets of familiar themes. Miles cues the band members with "coded phrases"...

    The store here has a copy of Live @The Philharmonic...I was gonna pick it up & then the review over at scared me away! ;)

    Really...pick up Paul Tingen's book, Miles Beyond(lotta info regarding the various 'electric' Miles' bands).

    Too, don't forget about some of the later stuff-
    Star People & We Want Miles...'80s 'electric' Miles with Marcus Miller, Mike Stern, John Scofield, etc. Tingen calls this 'stuff', "Chromatic Funk". Works for me.

    For my $$$-
    Agatha, Panagea, Live-Evil, &/or Star People/We Want Miles.
  4. Live-Evil is a fine album, I'll have to find it on CD- my vinyl is worn out.

    I also like "We Want Miles". I got to see him on that tour. The album doesn't do it justice- that show was great! The band was just amazing even if Miles was physically beaten. There was still some teriffic music happening.
  5. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    Just stumbled across this page. You might want to check it out - lots of streaming RealAudio of various '69-'75 Miles Davis concerts.

  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...well, I guess you're gonna keep us in suspense about WHERE that page can be found!

    On a tangent-
    The Complete In A Silent Way box just came out yesterday.
  7. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
  8. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    I thought I'd resurrect this thread to share some interesting information that I've found on a Miles Davis discussion list, ( Early last year, Paul Tingen (author of 'Miles Beyond', which I have at last by the way!) posted on the site that various members of Miles's '70-'75 bands were getting back together to play some gigs! Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find out whether this reunion actually took place.

    I've posted the information below:

    On 4th January 1001:
    "Hi all,

    To inject a fresh breeze into a temporary lull in what usually is a rather stormy list...

    I received an e-mail from Michael Henderson a couple of days ago asking me to call him urgently. When I called he had the rather amazing news that he was getting former members of Miles's electric bands back together. So far he had agreements with Gary Bartz, Pete Cosey, and Vince Wilburn, plus a trumpet player and keyboard player he didn't want to tell me about yet. He's also still talking with Mtume and Reggie Lucas, although it's unclear whether they will participate. Apparently there are some try-out gigs planned in SF in May.

    Michael was incredibly enthusiastic, and, well, eh, I have to admit that to my astonishment my book appears to have played an important part in all this. Over the last couple of months Michael has called me several times, flooding with enthusiasm about and gratitude for my book, and asking the phone numbers of Cosey, Mtume, Lucas, and others. Apparently many of the guys had lost touch with each other over the years. Somehow the discussions I had with them, and the contacts I could offer them, raised enough enthusiasm for them to get back in touch.

    The strength of Michael's feelings about my book has been mirrored by Cosey and Mtume, and it's clear to me that it's less to do with my book, and more to do with the depth of hurt they still feel about having been part of a band that made music that they are still deeply proud of. It was a band that stretched the boundaries of music as we know it, and yet it was assassinated by the jazz press and ignored by almost all other media. They claim that they usually played for packed houses and to very enthusiastic responses, yet the scathingly negative and sometimes abusive critical responses and documentation has been deeply painful to them. I mean, how DO you respond to virtually all documentaries about Miles (as well as the Miles Davis Radio Project) not interviewing anyone from the '71-'75 bands, other than Keith Jarrett, who doesn't have a positive word to say about the music or the musicians? Worse, in one documentary (I think it was the Miles Ahead one from 1986), Jarrett is quoted saying that Miles would rather have a bad band than repeat himself, after which there was a cut into about 10 seconds of footage from the 1973 band.

    Now excuse me for feeling revolted when I saw this. I mean, I don't mind at all if people don't like the '70s music. But I feel that as a documentary maker, or writer, or critic, you have to do better than dismiss and put down by prejudice and association. If the program had actually seriously engaged with the mid '70s music, perhaps talked to one or two of the members, and then come to a qualified evaluation that the maker didn't think the music was particularly good, fair enough. At least the maker would have dealt openly and honestly with the music, expressed an honest viewpoint, and also left some space for others to make up their own minds. But dismissing music and musicians in this cheap and facile manner does not show any respect, or intelligence for that matter.

    Since this treatment has been more or less continuous for the last 25 years, it's understandable that there's still a lot of hurt among the band members, and that they're grateful that someone comes along and takes them and their music serious, quite regardless of how successful one judges my coverage to be. So good luck to those musicians that actually make it back to the live stage together. Whether the music will be worthwhile in its own right we'll have to see, but after twenty-five years of derision, they are due attention and respect for what they did with Miles.

    End of rant.


    And on 25th April 2001:

    "Just spoke to Michael Henderson.. the latest news is that he and Pete Cosey, Gary Bartz, and Vince Wilburn are at the core of the band, and that Badal Roy, Reggie Lucas, and Mtume, plus two "young guys" will also perform with them, but not for every gig... Carlos Garnett will replace Bartz sometimes...

    They have a first try-out date planned, at Jazz at Drew in LA on October 3. Seven or eight other dates are already booked, including in Boston and SF. I'll keep you informed. Michael says the reactions are incredibly positive when he rings round. He's now negotiating with booking agents, and expects many more bookings to roll in soon.


    If anyone knows anything else about this, please let me know. Pete Cosey is THE MAN!
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Although you and I and JimK and a few others are keen on this sort of music, I have found that generally there seems to be little enthusiasm for electric Jazz in the UK amongst the Jazz community - that is, the audience and the Jazz pros themselves.

    Acoustic small groups do well and get great audience response whenever I have been to see them; but any electric groups haev received ngeative comments in my hearing range - too loud, don't like the sound etc. etc.

    A lot of the Jazz fans I talk to have this "model" of the ultimate group and sound they like - it seems to be either a Piano Trio or a Quintet, with Tenor, Trumpet, Piano, Double Bass and Drums. So like Miles last acoustic quintet or Joe Henderson with Kenny Dorham or other trumpet players.

    So while Billy Cobham's electric groups are great and I love them - I hear all sort fo negative comments and he has said that he will not release any new albums apart from via the internet - he perceives no "market" for this music. Wayne Shorter was playing with electric musicians with little notice, but recently he came to London with an Acoustic group and got rapturous reviews in all the broadsheets and Jazz press - whereas his previous work wasn't even reviewed!!

    Also, when I talk to Jazz pros at workshops or at the SummerSchool I attend which usually has about 20-30 Jazz pros on site over the two weeks; they talk about the "3-Dimensional" nature of acoustic instruments as opposed to something coming out of a speaker a few yards away. There is always a feeling that acoustic instruments are the most challenging and rewarding to play and that in ensembles they work better together - that acoustic players really listen and are sympathetic - they adjust volume and sound purely with their hands and technique rather than with electronic means.

    Anyway - maybe this is another debate; but I wonder if anybody apart from a very few, actually wants a return of Miles' electric period?
  10. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    "OK", so it's just us 3 boobs in here, huh?

    Here's my unabridged take on "who wants a reunion of Miles' electric stuff"-
    Screw the Jazz "fans" who have a model of the "ultimate group & sound they like".
    Key word? "they"
    I could give a rat's ass what "they" prefer as far as Jazz goes...I've grown weary hearing them dismiss today's Free players as merely 'rehashing the '60s New Thing movement'. What's ironic about that is this-
    ...the stuff "they" perceive & like is pretty much a rehash of what was done in either the Hard Bop or Post Bop eras. FWIW, I like it all...

    Also, I could care even less how this electric stuff of Miles' is categorized...
    Jazz, Jazz-Rock, Rock-Jazz, Jazz Fusion, Acid Jazz, Pyscho Funk Jazz, etc.

    I'm not really a fan of Cobham's recent electric stuff...Miles' band w/ Cosey was a groundbreaking outfit(IMO).
    Personally, I would love to hear more from the guys that made it happen(especially Cosey!).
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I do agree with you, to a certain extent and I'm happy to buy things from WebSites if they are unavailable any other way - I buy loads of stuff from JazzWise and other specialist mail order companies, that I didn't know existed pre-internet!

    But I suppose I am doubting that we will actually get to see (hear) anything like this live in the UK. I think that UK audiences like their Jazz to be "Easy Listening " to a certain extent - that is : quiet enough to block it out when it gets too difficult! ;)

    I will of course be very happy for you - if they get a tour of the US going :mad: - but I just can't see it ever getting to the UK. :(