Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
573

Miles Davis: Live at Fillmore East (March 7, 1970): It's About That Time

By

Sign in to view read count
The crowd at the Fillmore East may have been puzzled after trumpeter Miles Davis finished his sets at the New York concert hall in March 1970. At the time, the audience was hearing something revolutionary and controversial pumping out of the loudspeakers.

Little did they know that Davis was about to unleash the electric jazz/rock album Bitches Brew onto the public a month later, causing a rift in the jazz community. Thirty-one years later, Columbia/Legacy Jazz has unearthed two of those sets from the quintet's performance to bring Live at Fillmore East (March 7, 1970): It's About That Time.

Davis' group for those sets — Wayne Shorter on soprano and tenor saxophones, Chick Corea on Fender Rhodes electric piano, Dave Holland on acoustic and electric bass, Jack DeJohnette on drums — had been dubbed "the lost quintet" because no studio recordings had been released with this lineup. (It's really a sextet with the addition of Airto Moreira on percussion, but liner notes writer James Issacs says it's "a mere technicality." Percussionists never get a fair deal.)

The best way to describe the sets are free-for-alls. DeJohnette and Holland are constantly rumbling under Corea's keyboard work, who's underplaying Davis' or Shorter's maddening squeals and trips up and down the scales on songs like "Directions" and "Spanish Key."

The band's improvisation skills are astonishing, considering that at times everyone's soloing on top of each other. A closer listen reveals that Davis, Shorter and Corea are playing the syncopated solos associated with jazz, while DeJohnette lays down a monster rock-laced groove behind them.

Live at Fillmore East is as it happened, with no tape edits, unlike the rest of the live albums during Davis' electric period. If you're not observant on the CD player display, you won't know when the next song begins, because the group doesn't pause between numbers, creating a glorified 45-minute medley.

But this live double album does have something in common with its studio counterparts: it isn't meant to be listened to in one sitting. Even with the small number of personnel, Davis and company have so many musical ideas bouncing around, one may not be able to soak it all in at once.

After a while, once the ears begin to isolate the parts, one discovers that Davis' group was pushing the limits of musical ideas and succeeding. This is an amazing, rare glimpse into Davis' electric journey, and like the title says, it's about that time.

Reprinted with permission from The Villages Daily Sun, Lady Lake, Fla.


Track Listing: Disc 1: Directions; Spanish Key; Masquelero; It's About That Time/The Theme; Disc 2: Directions; Miles Runs the Voodoo Down; Bitches Brew; Spanish Key; It's About That Time/Willie Nelson

Personnel: Miles Davis: trumpet; Wayne Shorter: soprano and tenor saxophones; Chick Corea: Fender Rhodes electric piano; Dave Holland: acoustic and electric bass; Jack DeJohnette: drums; Airto Moreira: percussion

| Record Label: Columbia Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

Book Reviews
Hi-Res Jazz
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
DVD/Film Reviews
Read more articles
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Deagostini
2016
buy
Miles Smiles
Miles Smiles
Music On Vinyl
2016
buy
Everything's Beautiful
Everything's Beautiful
RCA Legacy; Columbia/Legacy
2016
buy
Miles Davis at Newport 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4
Miles Davis at...
Sony-Legacy Music
2015
buy
Kind of Blue
Kind of Blue
Music On Vinyl
2015
buy
Olympia – Mar 20, 1960
Olympia – Mar 20,...
LaserLight
2015
buy
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
John Coltrane John Coltrane
saxophone
Chet Baker Chet Baker
trumpet
Chick Corea Chick Corea
piano
Weather Report Weather Report
band/orchestra
Kenny Dorham Kenny Dorham
trumpet

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus
Support our sponsor

Sponsor: Motéma Music | BUY IT  

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.