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.
Performance CreditsMiles Davis Primary Artist,Trumpet
Gary Bartz Alto Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone
Jack DeJohnette Drums
Keith Jarrett fender rhodes
John McLaughlin Guitar,Electric Guitar
Airto Moreira Percussion
Michael Henderson Bass Guitar
Michael J. Henderson Electric Bass
Technical CreditsGary Bartz Liner Notes
Bob Belden Introduction
Miles Davis Composer
Jack DeJohnette Liner Notes
Keith Jarrett Composer,Liner Notes
John McLaughlin Liner Notes
Wayne Shorter Composer
Airto Moreira Liner Notes
Adam Holzman Liner Notes
Joe Zawinul Composer
Teo Macero Producer
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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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....