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Miles Davis

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Miles Davis Bitches Brew Live album cover
3.75 | 16 ratings | 3 reviews | 31% 5 stars

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Live, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Miles Runs The Voodoo Down (10:26)
2. Sanctuary (3:58)
3. It's About That Time / The Theme (9:40)
4. Directions (7:30)
5. Bitches Brew (10:09)
6. It's About That Time (6:17)
7. Sanctuary (1:10)
8. Spanish key (8:15)
9. The Theme (2:10)

Total Time 59:28

Line-up / Musicians

On Tracks 1-3 :
- Miles Davis / trumpet
- Chick Corea / electric piano
- Dave Holland / bass
- Jack DeJohnette / drums
On tracks 4-9 :
- Miles Davis / trumpet
- Gary Bartz / alto sax, soprano sax
- Chick Corea / electric piano
- Keith Jarrett / organ
- Dave Holland / bass
- Jack DeJohnette / drums
- Airto Moreira / percussion

Thanks to mellotron storm for the addition
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MILES DAVIS Bitches Brew Live ratings distribution

(16 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MILES DAVIS Bitches Brew Live reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This live document covers two rare live performances from 1969 and 1970 respectively with two different lineups. It's called "Bitches Brew Live" because the bulk of the material is from that legendary album. The first show includes the first three tracks here and was recorded live at the Newport Jazz Festival in July of 1969. This would be the first and last time that the organizer brought in "Rock" bands. He did so because of declining ticket sales for the festival. It was successful because of the addition of LED ZEPPELIN, JETHRO TULL and others but he felt it wasn't worth the headache. He was really worried that there might be a riot and the whole weekend was very hectic for him.

The Miles Davis band played on the Saturday the same day as Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention and others. Wayne Shorter got stuck in traffic and missed this gig making this recording of a Miles Davis four piece a real rarity. Besides Davis we get DeJohnette on drums, Holland on bass and Corea on electric piano. The "Bitches Brew" sessions didn't take place until 6 weeks after this meaning that Miles was playing some of these songs before he recorded them, something he rarely did after 1963. "Miles Runs The Voodoo Down" is the first professionally recorded version of this track. "Sanctuary" is more laid back while "It's About That Time" from "In A Silent Way" is more intense with aggressive drumming and trumpet work. The crowd, much of whom had never heard electric Miles until then gives a huge ovation when the set is done.

The final six tracks are from the Isle Of Wight festival in the UK. Wayne Shorter had left by this time so we get the same foursome from the Newport Jazz Festival plus Keith Jarrett on organ, Gary Bartz on sax and Airto Moreira on percussion. It should be noted that they were the only Jazz band at this festival. It was a hot weekeknd in August of 1970 and they began to play as the sun was going down. This is a much heavier and more intense set than the one at Newport. Davis put Corea and Jarrett on opposite sides of the stage so they couldn't hear each other. Remember there was estimated to be 600,000 people here and in part Miles is here because of the success of "Bitches Brew" released some four months earlier. It was one of the best selling albums in Jazz history so gone were the days of Miles and his band playing in small clubs. This was as the liner notes state a "revolutionary moment" for Miles and the band to play in front of such a large audience.

For me the final six tracks surpass the recordings of the first three but it's cool to hear Miles as a four piece regardless. And i'll still take the "Bitches Brew" studio album over this recording but if your a "Bitches Brew" fan then you should really check this out.

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars This oddly bifurcated live album presents an intriguing before-and-after portrait of an artist on the brink of ascent, and in full flight shortly afterward. The initial three tracks are from the July 1969 Newport Jazz Festival, when Miles Davis was still playing (mostly) unplugged Fusion alongside the so-called Lost Quintet. The balance of the disc is reserved for his performance at the legendary 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, where the erstwhile Jazz icon shared the marquee with Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Jim Morrison, Jethro Tull, ELP, and Tiny Tim (Hawkwind, not invited, played free of charge outside the fence).

The earlier era has been documented more completely in the 2013 "Live in Europe 1969" boxed set. But the abbreviated Newport concert (24-minutes in all) is more exciting, and sounds better, than anything in the later compilation. The incomplete tape is a source of frustration; it opens in the middle of "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down", a much livelier, more dynamic reading than the version later recorded for the "Bitches Brew" album. But the novelty of hearing the quintet playing as an accidental foursome (Saxophonist Wayne Shorter missed the gig, stuck in Rhode Island traffic) makes it a worthwhile footnote to the unfolding narrative of electric Miles Davis.

Fast forward to late August, 1970: thirteen short months later but a world away in musical terms. The quintet has been expanded to a much louder septet, adding Airto Moreira on percussive allsorts and Keith Jarrett on the second keyboard (with Shorter replaced by Gary Bartz). The cross-fade on disc from the enthusiastic applause at Newport to the sound of over 600,000 festival-goers is a dramatic indication of changing times; the half-hour medley that follows is even more so.

The audio alone can't compare to the full visual experience of the same gig captured on the '05 "Miles Electric" DVD. But it's fascinating to hear the trumpet player leading his band with subtle music cues, setting up a tempo here, suggesting a new theme there, and daring the other players to keep up. The ferocious jam in "Spanish Key" is the obvious highlight, ebbing and flowing with relentless energy, more so than the equally thrilling studio version heard on the "Brew" album.

Like so many other posthumous Miles Davis live albums the CD imposes artificial order on the set list, with indexed track titles that didn't exist at the time. On stage in the 1970s Davis never paused for individual songs, and when asked after the gig about the name of the piece, he famously responded, "Call it anything".

Maybe that should have been the title of the album itself. "Bitches Brew Live" is a disingenuous name for this somewhat forced juxtaposition of two orphaned recordings not long enough by themselves to fill a compact disc (and besides, there's a lot of music here unrelated to the 1970 LP). Consider it an extended sampler of sorts, hastily organized and incorrectly annotated (Led Zeppelin did not play at the Isle of Wight), but rewarding as a candid snapshot of an innovative artist approaching his musical zenith.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Derived from two live sets about a year apart - one from 1969, one from 1970 - this album focuses on Miles' and his groups' performances of Bitches Brew material in the wake of completing that album. It forms an intriguing missing link between Bitches Brew itself and the more overtly funk-influenced fusion material which followed it, with the material gaining a swagger here which the more ethereal performances on the original studio album don't really convey. The two performances by themselves wouldn't necessarily add up to much, but sequencing them one after the other is a great way to tease out how the material evolved and mutated in the live context.

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