Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3" to be released March 25, 2014. Miles Davis' historic four-night stand at promoter Bill Graham's legendary Fillmore East in New York City, June 17-20, 1970, is presented in its entire full-length unedited form for the first time as MILES AT THE FILLMORE – Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3. The four-CD box set will be available everywhere on March 25th through Columbia/Legacy.
At one of the most crucial moments in jazz and rock history, two months after the release of Miles' groundbreaking double-LP Bitches Brew in April 1970, he was beginning to discover – and be discovered by – the burgeoning rock audience that came of age in the late 1960s. Miles, inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2006, the only jazz artist and only solely instrumental artist ever inducted, had started listening to the funk of James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone, the Chambers Brothers, and Jimi Hendrix, not to mention the Beatles. Bitches Brew was a turning point for jazz and rock. Bill Graham had a long history of presenting jazz artists at the Fillmores (Charles Lloyd, John Handy, and Roland Kirk among them) but it was Miles who carried rock audiences to a new plateau.
In October 1970, Columbia Records released the 2-LP set Miles Davis At Fillmore, which consisted of performances culled from the four nights of shows at the Fillmore East (where Miles opened for fellow Columbia artist Laura Nyro). At that time the shows were edited to fit the LP format. The full unedited shows are now presented for the first time yielding 100-plus minutes of previously unreleased music.
The three additional bonus tracks add another 35 minutes of music, released here for the first time, recorded in April 1970, at the Fillmore West in San Francisco (where Graham put Miles and band on a bill with the Grateful Dead and Stone The Crows). MILES AT THE FILLMORE – Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3 now contains 135 minutes of previously unreleased music.
The extensively researched 36-page booklet that accompanies the box set contains a number of specially written pieces. These provide a context for Miles' musical transformations in the turbulence of the Fillmore rock epoch, as the psychedelic era of the late-1960s segued into the politically-charged intersection of the anti-war movement, Black Power, and the rise of funk:
•An eloquent and authoritative 2,200-word first-hand account by Carlos Santana (as told to author Ashley Kahn), examining Miles' complex place in the pantheon of jazz, funk and rock, and his intriguing relationship with Bill Graham during the near two-year span that Miles played shows at the Fillmores;
•An introductory Producers' Note written by reissue producers Richard Seidel and Michael Cuscuna, providing a concise overview of Miles' Fillmore period and the project itself, its correlation with the original Columbia double-LP, especially the additional 100 minutes of unreleased music from the shows, and 35 minutes of unreleased music on the bonus tracks;
•An illuminating 2,500-word chronologic essay by Cuscuna, who was also a first-hand witness (as a disc jockey on New York's influential WPLJ-FM) to Miles' development at the time, further underscoring progressive underground FM radio and the late-'60s rock generation's discovery of Miles at this crucial turn of his career.
With the release of his groundbreaking double-LP Bitches Brew on Columbia just two months earlier in April 1970, Miles was front-page news around the world. He was leading a quintet lineup that included Chick Corea on electric piano, bassist Dave Holland, and drummer Jack DeJohnette (all of whom had been at the core of the Bitches Brew sessions recorded in August 1969), plus two members who had played on studio sessions since November, 1969 and then joined the touring band in February and April of 1970 respectively – tenor and soprano saxophonist Steve Grossman, and percussionist, flutist and vocalist Airto Moreira.
At the Fillmore East, they were joined by none other than Keith Jarrett on organ and tambourine, during the historic three month period when both Jarrett and Corea manned the keyboards for Miles. Jarrett had just played on some key Miles studio sessions in the weeks before the Fillmore East shows, and would continue to be a member of the band until late 1971, also performing on Miles' remaining two Fillmore stints – at Fillmore West in October 1970, and May 1971.
The four-CD box set devotes one disc to each of the four nights that Miles and his group performed at the Fillmore East. As issued on the original Columbia double-LP in 1970 (Miles Davis At Fillmore, currently available on double-CD as C2K 65139) the music, whose original set lengths ranged from 46 minutes to nearly one hour, was edited by producer Teo Macero to accommodate a seamless sampling of music from each night on each of the four LP sides. Furthermore, no song titles were listed, and the LP sides were simply labeled "Wednesday Miles," "Thursday Miles," "Friday Miles," and "Saturday Miles." To paraphrase a review of the double-LP in Variety at the time, "the only label that can be placed on this program is that it's Miles Davis music."
In a rare, in-depth 1970 interview for rock magazine Zygote, it was reported that Miles, while listening to the concert playback, was "so excited about the music that he wanted every set, every note made available to the public..." Back in April, Rolling Stone critic Vince Aletti praised Miles' [March] debut at the Fillmore East: "He came out looking and sounding tight and steely-hard, knees bent and horn raised, like a heavy spring under tension."
For 2014's MILES AT THE FILLMORE – Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3, the producers returned to the original remote live recording tapes, produced by Macero and engineered by Stan Tonkel. On each of the four nights, Miles and his group shook the rafters with high-volume performances of four staples (and the half-minute closer, "The Theme"):
•"Directions" (which he first recorded in the studio in November 1968, and played every night from 1969 to '71, but was not issued on record until 1980);
•"The Mask" (described by Santana, "[it] made you feel like you were in an Alfred Hitchcock movie and something's about to happen and you can't get out of the way," it was a new tune that Miles recorded two weeks before these Fillmore East shows, at the tail end of the four-month long Jack Johnson sessions);
•"It's About That Time" (from the In A Silent Way album of early 1969); and
•"Bitches Brew" (lean and muscular versions in the 10 to 14-minute range, that did not sacrifice any of the
funk power of the original 27-minute album version, probably the first Miles record purchased by most of the Fillmore rock fans).
As Miles and the Fillmore East audiences warmed up to each other, and the sets grew to nearly an hour in length, additional tunes were heard. On the second night, Miles played an encore (an extremely rare occurrence), "Spanish Key" from Bitches Brew. On both the third and fourth nights, Miles followed up "It's
About That Time" with the same two songs: the World War II evergreen "I Fall In Love Too Easily" (associated with Frank Sinatra, recorded by Miles on 1963's Seven Steps To Heaven) and the Wayne Shorter composition "Sanctuary" (from Bitches Brew). On the fourth night, Miles added "Willie Nelson," which he had recorded in February at the start of the Jack Johnson sessions.
For the bonus tracks, the producers judiciously chose three songs from the April 1970 Fillmore West shows that were in the band's repertoire, but were not performed at the Fillmore East in June. On disc one, "Wayne Shorter's 'Paraphernalia' and 'Footprints'," the producers note, "are from the earlier acoustic repertoire and Miles was to soon stop performing them." (In fact, "Paraphernalia" dates from 1968's Miles In the Sky, and "Footprints" dates from 1966's Miles Smiles.) On disc three, a 13-minute live version of the Jimi Hendrix-influenced "Miles Runs The Voodoo Down" rivals the 14-minute original on Bitches Brew.
MILES AT THE FILLMORE – Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3 is the third entry in the Miles Davis Bootleg Series of previously unreleased (or only bootlegged) live performances. Each volume is produced for release by multiple Grammy Award® winners Richard Seidel and Michael Cuscuna, and co-produced by multiple Grammy Award® winner Steve Berkowitz. MILES AT THE FILLMORE was mixed by Grammy Award® winner Dave Darlington. Executive Producers for the Miles Davis Estate are Erin Davis, Cheryl Davis and Vince Wilburn, Jr. Restorations are mastered by multiple Grammy Award® winner Mark Wilder at Battery Studios in New York City with Maria Triana. The first two titles in the series comprised:
•Miles Davis Quintet - Live In Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series Vol. 1 (released September 2011), a 3-CD + DVD package spanning five northern European festival performances over nine days in October-November 1967, by Miles' "second great Quintet" that included Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums), the most acclaimed historic jazz box set of 2011, recipient of a "5-star" review from Down Beat magazine, voted Historical Album of the Year in the Down Beat Readers and Critics Poll, #1 reissue in both the Critics and Readers polls of JazzTimes magazine, and voted Best Historical or Boxed Set by the Jazz Journalists Association; and
•Miles Davis Quintet – Live In Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 (released January 2013), a 3-CD + DVD package capturing Miles' short-lived "third great quintet" with Wayne Shorter (tenor and soprano saxophone), Chick Corea (piano and electric piano), Dave Holland (acoustic bass and electric bass), and Jack DeJohnette (drums), in performances at the Antibes Jazz Festival in France, then Stockholm and Berlin, also voted Historical Album of the Year in the Down Beat Readers and Critics Poll, and #1 reissue in both the Critics and Readers polls of JazzTimes magazine.
"The sound of Miles at the Fillmore," Carlos Santana told Ashley Kahn of those seriously tripped-out times, "was the sound of the Black Panthers. It was the sound of Vietnam. It was the sound of the protesting and the beatings and the shootings. It was the sound of the hippies and fighting in the streets and consciousness revolution… You can hear that anger and darkness and the craziness of everything that was still in the air from the '60s when this music was made. The '60s were over and they also weren't, you know?
"If ever there was a time when a rock audience was willing to open their ears and hear some great modern jazz like the kind Miles was creating, it was at the Fillmore… [Bill Graham] created that environment consciously and honestly and brutally, and got a new generation to hear the beauty in this music. That was the deal: if you want to hear Steve Miller or Neil Young or Santana, you've got to hear Miles Davis."
MILES AT THE FILLMORE – Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3
Disc One (Fillmore East, Wednesday, June 17, 1970) – Selections: 1. Introduction by Bill Graham * 2. Directions * 3. The Mask * 4. It's About That Time * 5. Bitches Brew * 6. The Theme * Bonus tracks (Fillmore West, April 11, 1970): 7. Paraphernalia * 8. Footprints.
Disc Two (Fillmore East, Thursday, June 18, 1970) – Selections: 1. Directions * 2. The Mask * 3. It's About That Time * 4. Bitches Brew * 5. The Theme * 6. Spanish Key (Encore) * 7. The Theme.
Disc Three (Fillmore East, Friday, June 19, 1970) – Selections: 1. Directions * 2. The Mask * 3. It's About That Time * 4. I Fall In Love Too Easily * 5. Sanctuary * 6. Bitches Brew * 7. The Theme * Bonus track (Fillmore West, April 11, 1970): 8. Miles Runs The Voodoo Down.
Disc Four (Fillmore East, Saturday, June 20, 1970) – Selections: 1. Directions * 2. The Mask * 3. It's About That Time * 4. I Fall In Love Too Easily * 5. Sanctuary * 6. Bitches Brew * 7. Willie Nelson * 8. The Theme.
All selections are previously unissued.
Note: All Fillmore East selections originally issued in edited form on the double-LP, Miles Davis: At Fillmore (Columbia 30038, released October 28, 1970).