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Miles Davis: Miles Davis Live

Douglas Payne By

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This fairly well-recorded concert captures the very electric Miles Davis octet live in the South of France sometime during the summer of 1988. It's hard to say if this is a legitimate release. But the quality of the recording and the performance places it above any of Mile's post- Pangaea "live" releases (pending Warner Brothers' choice to release any of its tapes from concerts Miles did in France during July 1986).

This fifty-minute, five-song program, like most of Miles's post- The Man With The Horn (1981) work, is heavily keyboard and guitar driven. But, here, the unequal mix favors harsh prominence to synthesist Robert Irving III (and guitarist Foley on the Prince / Davis collaboration "The Senate – Me and You"), practically burying Miles himself (who's barely playing anyway). Alto sax / flute man Kenny Garrett doesn't get the solo space he deserves, but his brief, infrequent appearances ("One Phone Call – Street Scenes") are very satisfying.

Fans may also want to check out the first and second volumes of LaserLight's recent Birth of the Cool Funk for even better Miles live performances not included here (that should have been): "Wayne's Tune" and "Splatch." While there is little sustained improvisation here, this is surprisingly creative electric jazz superior to much of the fusion-y stuff coming out of the ‘80s and it truly captured Miles the way he presented himself in concert during this period. Best of all, it's on a budget label, so it's cheap, and is certainly worth a few listens.

Personnel: Miles Davis: trumpet; Kenny Garrett: alto sax, flute; Foley McCreary: guitar; Robert Irving III: keyboards; Adam Holzman: keyboards; Darryl Jones: bass; Ricky Wellman: drums; Rudy Bird: percussion.

Tracks:Intruders; New Blues; One Phone Call

Title: Miles Davis Live | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Delta

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