Miles Davis Quintets: Stockholm 1967 & 1969 RevisitedBy
Was there more than one Miles Davis? Could he be both the Prince of Darkness and the purveyor of cool? A drug addict and an athletic boxer? A hip bebopper and a proto-hippie? A flamboyant dresser and a shy vulnerable soul? A brutal misogynist and an insecure romantic? The answer is yes, and yes. Miles Davis was both a creator and a destroyer. His chameleon-like nature can be explained by the times in which he lived and created his art. These live recordings in Stockholm, Sweden, 1967 and 1969, illustrate how Miles' creative process was influenced by the moving parts of our world, social, cultural, and political.
First we must back up a bit. Miles' first great quintet had disbanded in 1959. John Coltrane recorded the sensational Giant Steps. That same year Ornette Coleman made The Shape Of Jazz To Come and followed it with Free Jazz. Jump forward to 1965, Malcolm X is murdered, Coltrane's A Love Supreme, and Albert Ayler's Spiritual Unity are released. The world was changing, so was the music. Miles put together his second great quintet with much younger men; Wayne Shorter was 30, Ron Carter 26, Herbie Hancock 23, and Tony Williams was just 18. Together the quintet recorded E.S.P, Miles Smiles, Sorcerer, and Nefertiti before the October 1967 Stockholm date heard here. Change was in the air fueled by escalation of the Vietnam war and the passing of the Civil Rights Act. Jazz had begun to lose its dominance, evidenced by the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival with performances from Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and Jefferson Airplane. The hit Broadway play Hair opened, signaling a mainstream acceptance of hippie counterculture. Miles was aware of the shifting tides as he witnessed his record label, Columbia, dropping Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck, and Duke Ellington from their roster.
The 1967 Newport Jazz Festival European tour might have been the adieu for the night club Miles Davis. Although he and his young ensemble were sporting tuxedos, the tone was one of audacity. Besides Shorter's "Footprints" and the new Davis composition "Agitation," the music was drawn from the familiar. Monk's "Round Midnight," Jimmy Heath's "Gingerbread Boy" and the standard closer "The Theme" are covered. The familiar, however, yielded to experimental, and the compositions were merely the foundation to build Miles' new house on. Miles allowed and encouraged. the band to push and pull the music in new directions. Miles treated Shorter, Hancock, Carter, and Williams as equals, instead of sidemen.
After the 1967 tour, the spinning world picked up greater speed. Martin Luther King was assassinated, as was Booby Kennedy. Riots occurred in Paris and Chicago. Tommy Smith raised a defiant Black Power fist at the Mexico Olympics. The Woodstock Festival featured artists such as Ravi Shankar, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, and Sly and the Family Stone, and man walked on the moon. Miles was tuned into it all.
In 1968 He recorded Miles In The Sky and Filles De Kilimanjaro and in 1969, In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew before setting off on this European tour. Electric guitars and pianos were ushered in as were the new musicians Chick Corea, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette. Just as he was for Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane, Miles was the catalyst that launched the careers of Hancock (Mwandishi to Future Shock), Williams (The Tony Williams Lifetime), Carter (the most recorded bassist in jazz), and Shorter (Weather Report and beyond).
Although we now know what was coming, the jazz/rock fusion and wah-wah pedal trumpet of Bitches Brew wouldn't be released until March of 1970. Miles returned to Stockholm in 1969 with a new quintet. Dubbed 'The Lost Quintet,' the Davis, Shorter, Corea, Holland, and DeJohnette ensemble, who can be heard on Bitches Brew, never recorded a proper studio album. Bootlegs and European radio and television broadcasts are the only evidence of this quintet.
In Stockholm 1969, gone are the tuxedos, replaced by colorful scarves, vests, and flared pants. Besides the introduction of Miles' composition "Bitches Brew," the quintet relies upon music by Shorter and Corea. Davis was phasing out his standard repertoire and ushering in a more free sound. Corea switched between acoustic and electric piano as DeJohnette incorporates rock and funk into his jazz drumming. The audacity of 1967 is replaced by the ferocity of '69. From the Stonewall riot to urban unrest, Miles' quintet captured the chaos and mayhem in these performances.
Stockholm Live 1967 & 1969 Revisited can be purchased here.
Hire Mark Corroto to write your album's liner notes.
Agitation; Footprints; Round Midnight; Gingerbread Boy; Bitches Brew; Paraphernalia; Nefertiti; Masqualero; This.
Miles Davis: trumpet; Wayne Shorter: saxophone; Herbie Hancock: piano; Chick Corea: piano; Ron Carter: bass; Dave Holland: bass; Tony Williams: drums; Jack DeJohnette: drums.
Title: Stockholm Live 1967 & 1969 Revisited | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Ezz-thetics
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