MILES DAVIS — Live-Evil (review)

MILES DAVIS — Live-Evil album cover Live album · 1971 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Sean Trane
In some ways, this could be seen as BB's live pendant, and not just so because of its beautiful Klarwein artwork either. Recorded live after BB's release, when the jazz critics was getting vile and ignorant reviews on Miles' case, even attacking his private life, Miles was touring endlessly and quite a few of his shows were taped, although only a fraction saw the light of day, even if every night was fairly different due to the improvisational nature of the music. And to this writer, Live-Evil is probably the best of these performance, probably my faves, because they were the only ones that had a "non-posthumous quality" as it was released in 71, but the tracks are recorded from as early as Febr 6 to Dec 19 and as you'll easily guess there will be some lengths in almost of these jams, but surprisingly, there are also shorter numbers on this selection. One of the interesting thing is that most (all?) of the tracks selected have DeJohnette and Jarrett on the roster. Savid (Davis in reverse) starts this double set on a rather BB nice note but quickly derails its course into improvs that remains accessible and not that dissonant. Little Church has the same feel but McL's guitar gets a major share of the front stage, and a bit further down (on its vinyl flipside), so will What I Say. Just to show how eclectic Miles' group was, the Gemini track has an Indian sitar player in the line-up in the name of Balakrishna.

The second disc starts unsurprisingly on the short Selim track (that's Miles in reverse) and before heading on two long improvs, the first is the 23-mins+ Funky Tonk, which again shows excellent McL guitars, and some baby wails made by either Grossman Miles or the newcoming Bartz, but there bass/drums duo is overstaying its welcome and it's with great relief that we hear Miles finally calling recess over. The second 27-mins Inamorata observes a bit the same patterns, making the album generally easier than both Fillmore releases.

You could eventually see a sort of filmed version of this album by watching Miles' appearance at the Isle of Wight of that year, a stunning set where they tear down the musical rules for the benefit of a new generation. But as said previously, every night was a new one and Live-Evil chooses to from a selection of tracks throughout 1970, and it is definitely the best Miles live album of that era
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