Miles Davis – What I Say? Vol.1 (1971) with Gary Bartz, Keith Jarrett

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Released on Jazz Music Yesterday (JMY-10152) Italy

1. Directions
2. Honky Tonk
3. What I Say
4. Sanctuary
5. It’s About That Time

Miles Davis: Trumpet
Gary Bartz: Alto sax, Soprano sax
Keith Jarret: Electric piano, organ
Mike Henderson: Electric bass
Leon Chancler: drums
Don Alias: Congas
James “Mtume” Foreman: Percussion

Recorded in Vienna, November 5, 1971 at the Wiener Konzerthaus

Ah the golden days of halcyon confusion when the Berne Convention still dominated European copyright laws… In the early 1990s, there were hundreds of CD’s released of semi-legitimate but largely-unauthorized material by labels taking strategic advantage of the vagaries of judicious globalization: for example in Italy, where live music of any kind was not subject to copyright but considered by its very nature to be “public domain”, thereby rendering any live music as fair game for release. This partially explains the proliferation of ‘bootlegs’ of Italian origin from that period that could manage to produce halfway-decent packaging and audio mastering.

This unofficial two-disc set, released in two installments on JMY Records, is one of those gray-area releases. It is a scintillating document of Miles’ “electric period” that expands on what was shown to us via the official live release “Live Evil.” The producers quite cleverly manage to say nothing at all about the source of the tapes or how they were made. A very clear stereo mix that starts out with some of the instruments driven too hard into the red of the VU meters, but settling down quite nicely. My guess is they came from a 1/2-inch reel made for reference for the band, or perhaps recorded for a radio broadcast, with stereo panning being very prominent at times. Whatever the case it is good that the tapes were rolling because this is some amazing music. The liner notes (by an Enrico Merlin) go to great lengths to explain their attempts to delineate the “compositions” of the loosely-structure freeform improvisations, explaining Miles system of “coded messages” by which he signaled changes to the band. It’s pretty fascinating reading if you are interested in this type of thing, but not exactly essential to the enjoyment of what you are hearing. Miles had a way of bringing out the best in the musicians who were blessed enough to find themselves part of his ensembles, and even though most of them had notable careers before meeting up with him, their subsequent trajectories would always be marked somehow by being an alumnus of The Miles Davis University. In the case of the present lecture’s round-table panelists, the work of Gary Bartz really stands out here. His own NTU Troop would release Harlem Bush Music this same year, and he was truly at the top of his thang playing with this ensemble. Percussionists Don Alias and Mtume manage to work their magic so that I don`t even miss Airto Moreira.

The end of this performance is on the second installment, which if you are nice, I just might share with you. For now, enjoy the sweetly exhilarating moodiness of Electric Miles

Miles Davis – What I Say, Vol.1 (1971) with Gary Bartz, Keith Jarrett in 320kbs em pee tree

Miles Davis – What I Say, Vol.1 (1971) with Gary Bartz, Keith Jarrett in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO

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