Review

MILES DAVIS Live At The Fillmore East

Live album · 1970 · Classic Fusion
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5/5 ·
js
Fans of Miles' 'Bithches Brew' might want to check out this album that sounds like Brew's angrier more aggressive amphetimine fueled half-brother. This album presents four nights of Miles' band playing more or less the same medly made up of Davis's loose themes from Brew and earlier scources, but each night is entirely different. When Davis decided to hit the road with his Brew material, he had to reduce his huge sprawling band down to only seven members. It was the choice of band members that ended up determining the future sound and approach of these live jams. Drummer DeJohnette, bassist Holland, and keyboardist Corea had a repore with each other that would continue for many albums after they split from Davis. To his credit, organist Jarrett had also worked a lot with DeJohnette and does a great job of blending with Corea. It is often hard to tell where one's playing ends and the other's begins. In the hands of these four core musicians the loose meandering Grateful Dead inspired jams of Brew are replaced with a much more aggressive Cream/Hendrix approach to rock improv that often builds into avant-garde chaos ala Coltrane, Sun Ra and Archie Shepp. Inbetween these highly charged rhythmic assaults Miles places his usual quiet tense Stochhausen inspired moments before all hell breaks loose again.

In the 70s I listened to this album constantly, but how does it hold up to today's standards. Like a lot of brilliant music from the 70s this album is a bit indulgent and overdone. Miles' trumpet screams that used to carry so much emotion back then now seem a little too obvious and lacking in subltlety. On later albums like 'Agharta' and 'Get up with it', Miles would find a more effective subtle approach in his attempt to play 'rock' trumpet. Still, when the rhythm section is rocking and Corea and Jarrett are laying down furious diminished scales and harsh electronically distorted chords, it is hard to think of another jazz-rock jam with this much rock aggression and avant-garde jazz creativity.

Each of these four performances ends with Miles coming out of the chaos to play a classic corny blues ending, his way of sarcasticly telling the world he was not going to be classified as a 'jazz musician' any longer.
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