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An excellent review John.
Just one small point - Rick Margitza did record with Miles. He's on the album Amandla, on "Jo-Jo," albeit in the background!
D'ph! Of course you are right...how could I have forgotten! :)
Will fix momentarily.
Thanks for the kind words,
<red-faced in Canada>
John, you write: "wondering: who, exactly, was Davis selling out to?"
I wasn't there, but that period was right in your generation's wheelhouse--surely it was a terribly incongruent time, largely incomprehensible to those of us who came afterwards, noted principally for the maxim that one could be as fluid, as experimental, as progressive as one liked, without thought to conventions, boundaries, labels, and large numbers of people may actually...buy it and dig it. :)
I'm not sure I'lll be picking up this box, though--already owning the audio box.
Sadly, if it were a blu-ray box, I'd be all over it--better picture quality, uncompressed audio, etc.
One glaring omission from the review (my apologies if I somehow missed it): is it in surround sound? 2.0 channel stereo?
You're welcome John :-) I've always thought it a shame Miles never visited Montreux in 1982 with Marcus Miller, Mike Stern, Bill Evans, Al Foster and Mino Cinelu. And in 1987, when the band had the killer rhythm section of Darryl Jones and Ricky Wellman Found your comments about Foley's style of playing interesting - what guitarist do you reckon would have been a great successor to Scofield/Ford?
Hi Navdeep. If you own the audio box, you'll really enjoy this box! As John says, it's one thing to hear the music; another to see it being played. I've got a few of these shows on DVD, taped from TV broadcasts, and I'm telling you, they are great to watch. I think the audio is in PCM Stereo and 5.1 Dolby Digital, but I'm sure John can confirm this. As for a Blu-ray release, that would be great, but as (I think) only the 1991 concert was ever recorded in HD video, I suspect we won't see a Hi-Def video version. I wouldn't mind being proved wrong though!
Hey Navdeep, thanks for writing, as always. The audio is PCM Stereo, Dolby Surround 5.1, and DTS Digital Surround. I'll add that now.
Andrew: for me, I'd rather have not seen a guitarist than Foley, to be honest. Never been a big fan. Successor to Sco/Ford? Hmmm. Good question. Already established at the time, but Larry Carlton had/has the necessary combo of bluesy vibe and broader jazz vernacular, so he's certainly have worked well. Newer guys? Perhaps he'd not have been old enough yet, but Jimmy Herring would have worked great, for the same reasons...or how about someone like Wayne Krantz...or Jon Herrington...?
Yes, Larry Carlton would have been an interesting addition! I've always felt it was a shame that Hiram Bullock didn't stick around in Miles' band for a bit longer, as like Scofield, he had great rock, jazz and blues chops, as well as being a bit of a show man!
I think that Sco' comment about the way Miles was perceived by the creme-de-la-creme of rock royalty is very interesting. I remember Miles taking part in that "I Ain't Gonna Play Sun City" anti-apartheid record during the mid to late 80s, and all the rock stars did indeed hold him in the highest of reverence, like he was an esteemed deity or something.
In contrast, the famous jazz critic, Martin Williams, recalled the last time he saw Miles, which was in 1988 or so. Mr. Williams commented how sad was that sight, that Miles, looking like he was dressed in a Halloween fright suit or something, was almost unrecognizable. Thus, Mr. Williams, in stark contrast, had nothing but pity and sorrow for what Miles had become.
In contrast to Mr. Williams dismissal, Ian Carr, in his Miles bio book, was downright giddy in describing not just 70s fusion era Miles, but also 80s era Miles.
Hey Andrew, yeah, forgot about Hiram!
Navdeep, have you read George Cole's book The Last Miles, which is about '80s Miles?
Review here: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=17325
Thanks for keeping the conversation going, guys! :)
Navdeep - I guess Miles was always polarizing opinion!
John - do you have a favorite show from the set? I'm guessing the Sco-Berg band (which is my favorite band from this era)?
By the way, I'm also guessing Chaka Khan won't be sending you a Christmas card this year :-)
for me, two shows: Sco, 1985 evening. And Robben Ford, who kicks ass.
Chaka? Hey, I love her, man, but she was well and truly dreadful on this and if she's not embarrassed about her performance, then I am for her :) (folks who read my stuff know I rarely make this kind of comment, so you know it's gotta be pretty bad for me to make note of it....and it is!).
Have to agree that such observations are rare by you :-)
I love Sco's playing and agree that Ford is one heck of a player too. Ford appears on the 1986 Miles Amnesty concert, where Carlos Santana guests on "Burn" (and tries to hog most of the soloing between him and Ford!) I've also seen bits of the 1986 New Orleans Jazz Festival on a TV programme about Miles, where Ford is really burning up. Would be great if that whole concert was ever released on video.
Never saw the Amnesty, but should look it up. I have to say I'm a guy who never got Santana the way others do. I think he's managed to create a very successful career with a very limited language as a guitarist. He may have tried to hog the spotlight from Ford, but I'll bet Ford cleaned up the flow with him, no?
The thing about Sco and Ford is they "get" the visceral nature of the blues, but have the broader jazz language to expand on it in ways few other guitarists can, imo...exceptions being guys like Carlton, who may have made some specific musical choices in terms of direction, but remains a compelling player, again imo, regardless of the context and I can't think of too many others who fit that.
Well worth catching - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtIJ017JpIE
I like some of Santana's stuff, but I agree, he has a limited palette, although credit to the man for making a long career out of it.
You are so right about Sco and Ford.
Jane Ira Bloom
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