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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove



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MILES DAVIS

That's What Happened

Eagle Vision EREDV 731

 

 

  1. Medley: One Phone Call / Street Scenes / That's What Happened
  2. New Blues
  3. Human Nature
  4. Tutu
  5. Time After Time
  6. Portia

Miles Davis - Trumpet
Kenny Garrett - Alto sax, flute
Joseph "Foley" McCreary - Guitar
Adam Holzman, Bobby Irving - Keyboards
Darryl Jones - Bass
Mino Cinelu - Percussion
Ricky Wellman - Drums

Filmed in Munich in 1987, four years before his death, this concert by Miles Davis includes several tunes from the albums he had released in the preceding two years: You're Under Arrest and Tutu. The sleeve-note claims that "One of the things that really stands out in this show is how much Miles is playing" but the opening medley has him performing fragmentary phrases against a busily funky backing. In fact most of his work on this DVD is sketchy: dislocated segments which don't necessarily seem to be connected with what everyone else is doing. Kenny Garrett's alto-sax solo is less bitty but still depends a lot on repeated phrases.

The tempo is more laid-back for New Blues, although the relaxed atmosphere is punctuated by sudden outbursts from the two keyboardists. Miles swaps ideas with Joseph McCreary, who is billed as a guitarist but actually seems to use a bass guitar which nevertheless produces a wide range of notes.

Then come two of Miles's late-period hits: the beautiful tune Human Nature (from Michael Jackson's album Thriller) and Marcus Miller's Tutu. The former adds Kenny Garrett's flute to the palette of sounds. Garrett reverts to saxophone for his solo, which degenerates into repetitive screeches. Kenny's flute is featured again in Tutu, where Miles once more trades phrases with McCreary before the latter goes into some guitar heroics. The focus shifts to Mino Cinelu, who goes on an impressive tour of his numerous percussion devices.

Miles Davis returns to the spotlight for Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time, with pauses aplenty between phrases. The concert ends with Portia, where Miles's playing is still minimal and he walks off stage, leaving the rest of the band to close the evening.

The DVD includes two "bonus features". There is a long (sometimes barely coherent) interview with Miles - including him insulting "white people" and noting "I make a lot of money over here" while he doodles on a piece of paper. Similar doodles are the subject of "Miles and his Art", a short piece of film about Miles's visual art, which seems as random as much of his playing.

One good aspect of the music on this DVD is that it maintains two jazz essentials: freedom for the musicians alongside the need for them to listen closely to one another. The drawback is that this freedom can turn into formlessness which, in a way, is one of the worst aspects of some of Miles's playing in his later years. As the concert footage only lasts for about one hour, this is basically a DVD for the Davis completist.


Tony Augarde



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