Miles Davis - Live in Munich
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For more than 50 years, trumpeter/bandleader Miles Davis was a major innovator of cool, modal, avant-garde, and fusion jazz styles. This program captures Davis's band: alto saxophonist/flutist Kenny Garrett, Keyboardists Robert Irving III and Adam Holzmann, lead bassist Joseph "Foley" McCreary, and bassist Benjamin Rietveld, percussionist Marilyn Mazur, and drummer Ricky Wellman, live in Munich, Germany on July 10th, 1988. With these musicians' sympathetic and syncopated support, Davis's trademarked Harmon-muted trumpet tones dance and trance over the combo's supple electric swing. Throughout the concert, Davis glides across the stage with the elegance and power of a dancer and a fighter, huddling with his sidemen to play and share a phrase. Interview snippets with Davis feature the trumpeter frankly discussing his other passion, artwork. All told, Miles in Munich shows that the man called "Prince of Darkness" was full of artistic light near the end of his creative life.
With over two hours of music, much of it brilliant, plus a lengthy conversation with one of music's more elusive characters, Miles Davis in Munich is a treasure. The music Miles Davis was making in 1988, three years before his death, was loose and funky, informed by James Brown as much or more than Charlie Parker, with covers of tunes by the likes of Cyndi Lauper ("Time After Time") and Michael Jackson ("Human Nature"). And if it wasn't the high point of Davis's glorious career, or if the musicians weren't giants on the level of Coltrane, Shorter, and Hancock (the best known player here is saxophonist Kenny Garrett), there is still some brilliant music being played, all under the guidance of a man who had arguably the richest recorded legacy of any jazz musician but who resolutely refused to look anywhere but forward. The 30-minute interview is interesting, but the music really does speak for itself. --Sam Graham
- Liner notes by Miles's keyboard player Adam Holzman
- Rare interview with Miles (30 min.)
- The Art of Miles Davis (a gallery of artwork created by Miles)
- Biographical timeline of his life and career
- Songs: Perfect Way, The Senate, Me & U, Human Nature, Wrinkle, Tutu, Time After Time, Movie Star, Splatch, Heavy Metal Prelude, Heavy Metal, Don't Stop Me Now, Carnival Time, Tomaas, New Balance, Portla
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For those who think Miles doesn't play enough in his latter work, dig it! his instrument IS the band. Nobody complains that Duke Ellington doesn't play enough piano on his recordings.
This DVD is an absolute must have for Miles fans: a generous serving of music from a period when up-tight criticism of his music resulted in a scarcity of recordings.
While I tend to regard the video of a music performance kind of an extra (music is an AURAL experience; MTV generation needs to shut their eyes and open their ears), the visuals here emphasize the ensemble interaction and Miles role in gently steering the sonic machine. Especially enjoyed watching percussionist Marilyn Mazur's joyful delight in the proceedings.