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Live At Montreux - Highlights 1973-1991 [DVD]  [NTSC]
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Miles Davis is universally regarded as one of the most influential and innovative jazz musicians and composers of the 20th Century. He was at the forefront of the jazz world for decades and was involved in the evolution of bebop, cool jazz, modal jazz and jazz fusion amongst others. Miles Davis played many times at the Montreux Jazz Festival, especially after his return to performance in the early eighties. This DVD brings together some of the highlights of those Montreux shows stretching back to his first appearance in 1973 and up to his final concert there in July 1991, just a couple of months before his death in September of that year.
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Here we have a selection of his best known cuts on DVD, in absolutely pristine sound and video quality - this is a true delight to see the master working his craft live on stage communicating with his band. For me the highlight was the 27 minute cut from the 1973, post "On the Corner" band.
It begs the question - will the complete Montreux performances be released on DVD at some stage? I really hope so, it would be a major document for those not fortunate enough to see him live during his lifetime.
In the meantime this is a splendid sampler which bears repeated viewings.
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* "Speak: That's What Happened"--1984
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* "Pacific Express"--1985
* "Heavy Metal Prelude"--1988
* "Jo Jo"--1989
Two numbers are from Sketches of Spain:
* "The Pan Piper"--1991
The highlights DVD opens with a whimper that's really a bang. Davis and his band are on stage, doing nothing, just waiting to perform. Tuning instruments gives way to gentle music as you wait for Davis to start blowing on his trumpet. When he does, "Ife" is eerily mesmerizing. Plenty of closeups let viewers see Davis and his band members at work.
The audio excellently captures both the boldness of Davis' trumpet and the pindrop softness of other sounds, including gentle taps on the drums or an almost whispering softness with the same trumpet.
Full review at dvdverdict.com
2) God I get tired of camera people and editors on music videos. They all seem clueless. When Pete Cosey is playing they zoom in on Dave Liebman fooling with his amp. Too many closeups of the wrong thing. They never seem to get it right. When the entire band is playing as an ensemble they zoom in on Reggie Lucas' hat. One of the great things about live shows is seeing the band play like a single instrument. Once in awhile its nice to see a closeup of fingers and strings but MOST of it should be the whole band from front row center.
3) Good sound but really there are way better performances from this period, I can't help but thinking there is a better set from Montreux. Obviously Miles was in fine fettle.
I sure wish whoever is controlling the bulk of Miles output from this period would put the stuff out. Much of it is available on bootlegs, why can't the family or CBS release all this truly great stuff for fans? We long time fans know there is amazing stuff available. PUT IT OUT and put someone on it that knows how to edit and what to edit.