This highly recommended June 28, 1985 Montreal concert--previously issued in Japan--helps reopen the case for recognizing much of the music of Miles' final years as a reiteration of his trademark strengths, albeit perhaps without a stunning creative landmark on the order of KIND OF BLUE or BITCHES BREW. Maybe LIVE IN MONTREAL is that mid-80's signpost--if not, it's very close! The level of inspiration, commitment to excellence, and turning the future into the present is what you would expect of Miles at any point in his career!
Davis' acumen for picking talented, individualistic sidepersons is glaringly evident on this Montreal date. John Scofield is of course a premier electric guitarist who makes very distinctive contributions, while reedman Bob Berg is a similiarly inspired soloist. Synthman Robert Irving III is the playmaker who doesn't shoot the ball much (i.e., no solos) but dishes out assist after assist to the overall group sound, via subtle textures that sometimes achieve the spirit if not the letter of the orchestrated Gil Evans sound that Miles seemed to desire after 1983. Darryl Jones puts those ping-ponging, thumb-popping notes in just a little bit better place than most other bassists. Vincent Wilburn Jr. provides a full sound and solid beats, thankfully without forgetting that his is a supporting role, and percussionist Steve Thornton also plays what is needed, where it is needed.
Included are expansive versions of the two most notable ballads of this era (HUMAN NATURE, TIME AFTER TIME), while the funk/r&b/soul idiom is covered via D-Train's SOMETHING'S ON YOUR MIND. Don't be concerned if you're not a fan of the then-current YOU'RE UNDER ARREST or DECOY albums which provded the bulk of the material for this tour: they were merely blueprints for the passionate live renditions heard here.
By TIME AFTER TIME, CODE M.D., and a Spain-sketched reworking of JEAN PIERRE, Miles Davis' playing is in a ZONE, absolutely burning with a passion he rarely surpassed--before or after! Davis' solos are marked by extended length, great endurance, and confidence in all ranges of his horn. Unless you absolutely cannot stand electric instrumentation and contemporary pop-culture music influencing a jazz-rooted perspective, LIVE IN MONTREAL is a must-have!