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john albin

The link at the beginning of the article seems to be broken, though maybe 404 means something else in Danish. Is there a working link to the video in question? I'd like to hear it, especially to check out with Chick Corea's solos are really that bad.

Michael Azerrad

I think I fixed the link — try it now. But it's just the interior of the Tivoli, not footage from the concert. I'd be curious to hear what others think about Corea's performance. He just seems to be making a very juvenile attempt at sounding "weird" and "out." Even if you don't agree, his solos are all definitely very similar. By contrast, check Herbie Hancock's visionary soloing on the 1967 European tour — there are plenty of links to that DVD on Youtube.

Dave Wilson

Hey Michael, have you seen Miles at the Isle of Wight 1970? It's pretty intense. It's only about a 30-minute preformance, but the band is really on IMO. There are all sorts of Bitches Brew and In a Silent Way segments, and even after multiple viewings it's hard for me to comprehend how they're all on the same page through what sounds like cacophony. It's pretty wild. Same band (there's an added aux percussionist) but Dave Holland plays electric bass.

Michael Azerrad

Yes, Dave, I have seen that concert footage and it is indeed intense. (And 38 minutes long, to be exact. Also, it's not quite the same band — Keith Jarrett joins on keyboards and Gary Bartz replaces Wayne Shorter on sax; that's Airto on percussion.) The Isle of Wight show was nearly a year after the Copenhagen show. It's interesting, there seems to have been no middle ground between the neo-time-no-changes approach of the Copenhagen concert and the dense electric cacophony of the Isle of Wight; Davis may never have played live in the sparse mode of Bitches Brew.

Guitar Reviews

A little off topic, but I really love the outfits of that era. :)

Looks fun.

Michael Azerrad

Not off topic at all — the outfits are very indicative of the musical approach. As stated in the post, the previous band performed in matching tuxes (except for Davis, naturally). That symbolizes a degree of unity and discipline that this quintet did not have.

john albin

I'm not sure I agree completely with you assessment of Chick Corea here. On "It's about time" more than anything, it sounds to me like he's trying to echo Miles' phrasing, especially early in the tune. During Miles' solo, it sounds to me like he and Jack are having a bit of a volume fight. I hate to say this, but on his own solo, Chick sounds less like a kitten than a drummer. To me, that solo has the phrasing and shape of an fusion drum solo. RE: your comment about Miles never playing like Bitches Brew live -- I actually think his early '80s band captured a lot of this feel. Of course, they also went very much in the opposite direction as well at times, with Stern, Cinelu, and Evans take turns in the bombast chair. But Marcus and Al had a killer groove, and Stern's comping was brilliant. Check out "We Want Miles" and see if you think I'm way off.

Michael Azerrad

That may be true on "It's About That Time," John, but you really have to hear the whole concert to see how Corea takes the same approach almost every single time he takes a solo. It really gets annoying. (Also, that headband... seriously.) I did, though, compare his playing not to a kitten but to a skittish cat — there is a difference. The volume fight between Davis and DeJohnette is typical of the night — precious little subtlety, mostly constant bashing. Like I say, the Paris and Rotterdam shows, which you can download for free using the links provided, are definitely superior. As far as never playing in the Bitches Brew mode, I meant playing in that mode around the time of the album's release, as opposed to over ten years later.

john albin

I find it hard to get a read on what Miles was up to in that whole Jack Johnson-In a Silent Way - Bitches Brew era. There was so much change in concept, change in people, Miles trying to get people to figure out electric instruments, etc. I hadn't given any thought to this before, but I guess in retrospect it makes sense that there isn't really a live representation of the Bitches Brew concept. Also, IIRC from Miles' autobiography, he was unhappy with the lion's share of gigs from that era; he (ahem) bitches endlessly about having to open for the likes of Steve Miller

Michael Azerrad

Good thoughts all, John. Perhaps there's no contemporaneous live representation of the Bitches Brew concept because the album was such a creature of the studio. I wish I were more of an expert on this; all I can do is describe the phenomenon and then banter about it with smart old friends.

john albin

Well until you find some smart old friends, looks you'll just have to put up with the likes of me.

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