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How Do You Rate Miles Davis’ Music, On Record and Live, In The 1980s?


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You can't tell the story of Miles without the last decade of his life...
—Marcus J. Moore, music journalist
The release of The Bootleg Series Vol. 7: That's What Happened 1982-1985 invites renewed reflection on Miles Davis' music in the 1980s. A few tracks aside, these studio outtakes from the recording sessions that produced Star People (Columbia, 1983), Decoy (Columbia, 1984) and You're Under Arrest (Columbia, 1985) don't amount to a whole heap of beans, which is hardly surprising if they were not good enough to make the official album releases.

But the previously unreleased live album from July 1983, in Montreal, is something of a revelation. Davis is in terrific form, as are saxophonist Bill Evans and guitarist John Scofield, on music that ranges from bristling jazz-funk to slow-burning blues.

Was Davis on stage a radically different beast to Davis in the studio in the 1980s? Certainly, his bands featured many great musicians. Think Joey DeFrancesco, Mike Stern, Scofield, Robben Ford, Bob Berg, Bill Evans, Marcus Miller, Omar Hakim, Darryl Jones and Kenny Garrett.

While Davis's detractors decried his studio albums in his final decade as bland and uninspired, his concerts were huge draws all over the world. If you were there, what are your memories of Davis live in the 1980s? Do any of his 1980s albums still get a spin on your turntable? A decade of distinctive musical choices, or one to forget?



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