MILES DAVIS — Black Beauty: Miles Davis at Filmore West

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MILES DAVIS - Black Beauty: Miles Davis at Filmore West cover
3.52 | 15 ratings | 2 reviews
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Live album · 1973

Filed under Fusion
By MILES DAVIS

Tracklist

A Black Beauty Part I 23:46
B Black Beauty Part II 18:22
C Black Beauty Part III 17:15
D Black Beauty Part IV 21:28

Line-up/Musicians

- Miles Davis / Trumpet
- Steve Grossman / Soprano Sax
- Chick Corea / Electric Piano
- Dave Holland / Electric Bass
- Jack Dejohonette / Drums
- Airto Moreira / Percussion

About this release

CBS/Sony ‎– SOPJ 39-40 (Japan)

Recorded in April 10, 1970 at Filmore West, San Francisco

Thanks to snobb, JS for the updates

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MILES DAVIS BLACK BEAUTY: MILES DAVIS AT FILMORE WEST reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

js
It's hard to talk about this album without comparing it to 'Miles Live at Fillmore (Fillmore East)', an album that was recorded a few months later after Keith Jarret joined the band. Both albums are based on material taken from 'Bitches Brew', 'Jack Johnson' and a few other sources, but I think 'Live at Fillmore' is the far better album. On this album, 'Black Beauty Live at the Fillmore West', the band still sounds like they are trying to get their individual voices to merge into a cohesive unit. Saxophonist Steve Grossman is still playing in an all-out expressionistic avant-garde jazz style, by the time they record 'Live at Fillmore' he will be into the more forceful and riff driven psychedelic jazz-rock that Miles was looking for. The band as a whole is so much more in tune with each other and intuitively cohesive when they record the latter album. This album also sounds spare without Keith Jarret, who will bring so much when he joins the band later. Chick Corea is an incredible electric pianist, but something about him and Jarret together is even more incredible. The sound of two furious highly skilled dissonant electronic keyboardists battling it out is one of 'Live at Fillmore's' strongest points. Also, by the time they record the latter album, Corea is experimenting a lot more with his echoplex and ring modulator, which brings a lot more intensity and sonic variety to the music.

The other thing that is missing from 'Black Beauty' is Airto, He's there, but you can't hear him. On 'Live at Fillmore' he leads the band like a shaman/clown with various noise makers and percussion instruments and adds so much to the sound. I think on 'Black Beauty' someone forgot to turn his microphone on.

This isn't a bad album at all. Miles, Dejohnette, Corea and company crank out that hard driving dissonant avant-garde jazz rock that Miles is so well known for during this period. Since Corea is by himself on keyboards, you can clearly hear all his inventive lines and chord voicings , which are hard to hear on some of Miles' more cluttered albums. But if really want to hear Miles and his cohorts really expand on the spare material provided by Bitches Brew, get the much better 'Live at Fillmore', also called 'Live at Fillmore East'.

Members reviews

Sean Trane
I believe this album was first and foremost a Japan-only release in 77, as still today the booklet of the international remastered version has some Japanese-only text. Originally only called Black Beauty, the early version only claimed two tracks over the two discs, but the remastered version has corrected that flaw as the engineers dissected the music and installed track implementation to separate movements. In this line-up, we get Corea and Moreira (both heading soon to Return To Forever), and future permanent fixture Steve Grossman on sax, while Holland and Dejohnette hold the rhythm section, probably waiting for Jarrett to arrive in June of that year. Recorded soon after the BB release, Miles' group already had more or less turned that page and was moving to more dissonant improvs than the studio album had let us on, but we are still far away from the lengthy improvs of the other Fillmore release in June of that year. The renditions of the BB studio tracks are definitely harder -edged, especially in "MD Runs The Voodoo Down", where the improvs are coming close to Sanders level. Returning to more faithfully-rendered, Willie Nelson and a splendid rendition of It's About That Time (from Silent Way), while Sanctuary is a welcome rest from the madness.

A bit weird, but for once Shorter is not around (replaced by Steve Grossman, the only non-BB session player of this line-up), they play two of his tunes, the first being a short version of BB's Sanctuary track and on the second disc, Masqualero with its Latin feel, which lead right into Spanish Key. Of BB (the album) four of the six tracks are played, and one of the more dramatic sounding is BB (the track), but overall the double live album is rather pleasant and not too hard on the eardrums.

The main negative point I have with this release is that all of the tracks would've fit easily on a single disc, which makes it a real scam to sell it as a double. For the rest, I find the Fillmore West performance much better and more easily accessible than its Fillmore East equivalent two months later.

Ratings only

  • CounterClockWorld
  • Brown Clown
  • Deafmoon
  • karolcia
  • KK58
  • Lynx33
  • mad
  • Moahaha
  • darkshade
  • Drummer
  • darkprinceofjazz
  • richby
  • TALIESYN

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