Miles Davis Quintet – Live In Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 has been earning great reviews since its release last week and here are more of them! The 3CD/1DVD collection is in stores now.
The first volume of this bootleg series of Miles Davis sessions featured the 1967 quintet with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams. And it was, of course, good to have further examples of this band in action. But that set’s importance pales into insignificance beside volume 2 – a 3-CD (plus DVD) package of the 1969 quintet. Here, the rhythm section has completely changed to include Chick Corea, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette. …The most startling revelation is Miles himself. He plays with power, range and passion, goading the rhythm section into epic battles. He enjoys savage exchanges with DeJohnette’s drums, underpins harmonic excursions by Corea’s electric piano, and encourages the roaming basslines and free exploration of Holland. – BBC
Live In Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 is as vital a live release as we’ve ever heard from Davis, and lives up in every way to the gauntlet thrown down by the equally essential Bootleg Series Vol. 1. …The remastering is meticulous and even, on occasion, accidentally genius. There is some lingering distortion on some of these songs that the engineers cleaned up as they could, but the remaining rust on the interplay between Miles and Shorter is perfect. The horns sound simultaneously organic and treated, human and electric. And it’s in that middle space this band existed. …These sets were not in-between, not a hinge, but a contained moment, in which Davis saw music as a two-way mirror — he looked back and reimagined his past, and pushed at the new, but he did it to combine them into a powerful new moment. Rating: 10 – PopMatters
What distinguishes this collection of just under four hours of exhilarating performances from a group that was still getting its feet wet with the Bitches Brew repertoire — performing four of its six tunes here (in some cases, more than once and, in the case of the Antibes performances of July 25-26, 1969, prior to its recording in the studio) — is the breadth of repertoire. …Throughout, everyone is at the top of their game, with Davis at what may well be the absolute career height of his improvisational prowess and power. …It is, indeed, about that time for this quintet—until now considered largely lost—to be finally found and given the special attention it so richly deserves. – All About Jazz
Playing hard, pivoting between moods and meters with whiplash-inducing quickness, these guys are breathing a brand of fire that’s clearly time-stamped to 1969. Davis and his touring group — longtime saxophonist Wayne Shorter, keyboardist Chick Corea, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette — are clearly energized by what’s happening beyond the realm of jazz. …Live in Europe 1969 catches this moment of transition. It’s wild, fitful, ripping good stuff. And in a way, it’s prophetic: Inside these discussions, a profoundly new (nonjazz) musical landscape is coming into view. The territory hasn’t been mapped yet; there are no rules and very few structures or signposts. That can sometimes be terrifying, but it sounds like these five intense musicians like it that way. – NPR