The transformation of Miles Davis‘ “Second Great Quintet” with Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums) is presented on Miles Davis Quintet – Live In Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series Vol. 1.
Culled from original state-owned television and radio sources in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, and Sweden, the program spans five northern European festival performances over the course of nine days in October-November 1967. The audio shows consist entirely of previously unreleased or previously only bootlegged material. The 3-CD + DVD package will be available everywhere starting September 20th through Columbia/Legacy.
On the same date, a single-disc overview of the box set will be released.
The European tour dates brought the Quintet to Antwerp, Belgium (October 28th); Stockholm, Sweden (October 31st); Copenhagen, Denmark (November 2nd); Paris, France (November 6th); and Karlsruhe, Germany (November 7th). The tour was organized and promoted by Newport Jazz Festival impresario George Wein and also starred Sarah Vaughan, the Archie Shepp Quintet (with Roswell Rudd, Grachan Moncur III, Jimmy Garrison, and Beaver Harris), the Thelonious Monk Quartet (with Charlie Rouse), the Gary Burton Quartet (with Larry Coryell, Steve Swallow, and Bobby Moses), and Wein’s own Newport All-Stars with Buddy Tate.
The paradox of Miles Davis Quintet – Live In Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series Vol. 1 is the fact that all five concerts were recorded by state-owned radio and television outlets – a case of European bureaucracies preserving our American jazz heritage. Of the audio performances on CD, Belgium (an hour-plus set), Denmark and France are all full-length concert sets that are now seeing their first authorized release(s). Denmark is the rarest of the three, never released commercially (not even as a bootleg) so it is a particularly valuable 50 minutes of music.
The Paris concert is the longest of the shows in this collection, running 90 minutes across CD Two and CD Three. It includes the very rare versions of “Agitation” and “Footprints” which are not found on the unauthorized bootlegs that have circulated up until now.
The DVD contained in Miles Davis Quintet – Live In Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series Vol. 1 presents two concert sets by the Quintet, one from Stockholm on October 31st, and one from Karlsruhe, Germany on November 7th (although they are sequenced in reverse chronological order). This is the only known video documentation of the “second great Quintet” from the 1965 to ’68 period. The only previous authorized release of this video was as a bonus disc on the commemorative 70-CD + DVD Complete Miles Davis Columbia Album Collection, released in 2009 on Columbia/Legacy.
Putting Miles Davis Quintet – Live In Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series Vol. 1 into historical perspective are the illuminating liner notes by Ashley Kahn, author of Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece (DaCapo Press, 2000).
In preparing his liner notes for Miles Davis Quintet – Live In Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series Vol. 1, Kahn’s extensive research included articles that ran during the concert tour, and multiple interviews, including various surviving Quintet members; indefatigable concert promoter George Wein and his long-time co-producer and tour manager Bob Jones; and tour mates Archie Shepp, Roswell Rudd, and Gary Burton. They all provide eyewitness commentary, musical insights, and priceless anecdotes.
As Kahn’s liner notes point out, the end of 1967 was a landmark moment for Miles Davis, as he was preparing to say goodbye to this Quintet lineup. They had started out three years before, playing the standards that Miles enjoyed, and many of those chestnuts could still be heard, such as “On Green Dolphin Street,” “I Fall In Love Too Easily,” “‘Round Midnight” and “Walkin’.”
But as the sound structures of the Quintet opened up and were pulled apart, the musical forms were reinventing themselves on stage every night. This was reflected in the original compositions from their recent albums, which framed their sets, among them Miles’ “Agitation” (from E.S.P.), Wayne’s “Footprints” (from Miles Smiles) and “Masquelero” (from Sorcerer), and Herbie’s “Riot” (from Nefertiti). This was also the period (starting in 1967) when Miles began to play his sets as one long jam with very little beyond opening melodic statements separating one tune from the next. This lay the groundwork for the revolutionary and scene-changing music that he would produce over the next decade, until his retreat in 1975.
Everything was driven by the aggressive, iconoclastic style of drummer Tony Williams, probably the one most responsible for opening up Miles to the possibilities that lay beyond traditional jazz. It was a way of thinking that was also being explored at the time by John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, and others. One thing is certain: the “second great Quintet” was the best and most satisfying band since the great Quintet lineup of the ’50s.
Miles Davis Quintet – Live In Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series Vol. 1
CD One – Selections: 1. Agitation • 2. Footprints • 3. ‘Round Midnight • 4. No Blues • 5. Riot • 6. On Green Dolphin Street • 7. Masqualero • 8. Gingerbread Boy • 9. Theme. (Recorded on October 28, 1967 at the Konigin Elizabethzaal, Antwerp, Belgium by Belgian Radio and Television [BRT].)
CD Two – Selections: 1. Agitation • 2. Footprints • 3. ‘Round Midnight • 4. No Blues • 5. Masqualero • 6. Agitation • 7. Footprints. (Tracks 1-5 recorded on November 2, 1967 at the Tivoli Konsertsal, Copenhagen, Denmark by Danish Radio; tracks 6 & 7 recorded and broadcast on November 6, 1967 at the Paris Jazz Festival, Salle Pleyel, Paris, France on France Inter [ORTF]. Radio Program Producer: Andre Francis.)
CD Three – Selections: 1. ‘Round Midnight • 2. No Blues • 3. Masqualero • 4. I Fall In Love Too Easily • 5. Riot • 6. Walkin’ • 7. On Green Dolphin Street • 8. The Theme. (Recorded and broadcast on November 6, 1967 at the Paris Jazz Festival, Salle Pleyel, Paris, France on France Inter [ORTF]. Radio Program Producer: Andre Francis.)
DVD – Selections: 1. Agitation • 2. Footprints • 3. I Fall In Love Too Easily • 4. Gingerbread Boy • 5. The Theme • 6. Agitation • 7. Footprints • 8. ‘Round Midnight • 9. Gingerbread Boy • 10. The Theme. (Tracks 1-6 recorded on November 7, 1967 at the Stadthalle, Karlsruhe, Germany by Sudwestfunk TV; tracks 7-11 recorded on October 31, 1967 at the Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sweden by Sveriges Radio TV.)