Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 


What a difference a couple of years makes.  The Miles Davis Quintet documented on the first volume of this series—recorded in 1967 in various European locales—was, by many accounts, the quintessential Miles Davis outfit, as well as one of the most incendiary and innovative jazz ensembles ever. With Wayne Shorter on saxophone, Herbie Hancock on keyboards, Ron Carter on bass and Tony Williams on drums, this was a collective that still causes swoons of reverence from acolytes. Critics hailed the first volume as the most important historical jazz release of 2011. But by mid-1969, the hard post-bop that marked Davis’ previous epoch had run its course. His ears had been taking in the new hard rock and psychedelic soul of the day, and Davis was not to be left behind. Bitches Brew, as era-defining a recording as any, was still months away when the trumpeter and his new band, often dubbed the “third great quintet”—Shorter, Chick Corea on keys, Dave Holland on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums—played the shows captured on these tracks, previously available only on bootlegs. Fiery, free and often quite freaky, the quintet—which never recorded in a studio together—is still bridging gaps, giving new voice to earlier material (“Milestones,” “I Fall in Love Too Easily”) and suggesting a future still unimaginable to most (“Miles Runs the Voodoo Down,” “Bitches Brew”). While the three CDs reveal the group’s ability to continually reboot itself, the DVD, filmed in Berlin in November of ’69, is nothing short of astounding. The profusely sweating Miles and his charges don’t simply speak a new language to one another—they create it on the spot. –Jeff Tamarkin

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