Saturday, May 28, 2011

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Miles Davis at Tanglewood - August 18, 1970

Since it's the week of Miles Davis' birthday, today we're going to pay tribute to the trumpeter with a replay of Davis' set on August 18, 1970 at the Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts.

The show featured one of the most stellar lineups of all Miles' electric bands, with Chick Corea (electric piano), Keith Jarrett (organ, electric piano), Airto Moriera (percussion), Gary Bartz (soprano and alto sax), Dave Holland (electric and acoustic bass) and Jack DeJohnette (drums). It's worth noting that every one of these musicians went on to become a successful bandleader and a recording artist of some importance, and all remain active to this day, extending Davis' influence to several more generations of musicians and listeners.

Miles' Tanglewood show was one of four booked at the facility in 1969 and 1970 by promoter Bill Graham, who gave Davis the opening spot for the then mega-popular Santana on that August night. The six videos here represent almost all of the show, missing only Graham's spoken intro and outro and about a minute of the closing vamp on "The Theme."

In the first clip up above, you can hear Davis and band perform "Directions." That's followed down below by "Bitches Brew," "The Mask," "It's About That Time," "Sanctuary/Spanish Key," and the encore, "Miles Runs The Voodoo Down." (Note that since the clips are from different sources, you may have to adjust your volume to get a consistent playback level from them all.)

The website Wolfgang's Vault, which offers for sale audio recordings from many Graham-related events including this one, calls the show "one of the most intriguing of Miles' lengthy career" and "one of those rare performances with boundless depth that continually rewards repeated listening." It's pretty much fun to watch, too.

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