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Miles Davis: Live-Evil

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone (1/20/72, pp.51-52) - "...Everybody is just playing away, and there aren't any weak links....Miles reacts to this happy situation by playing his ass off....this sounds like what Miles had in mind when he first got into electric music and freer structures and rock rhythms..."

Spin (8/97, p.117) - "...splices together live chunks and cool studio vignettes, and features the Hindu heavy-metal fretwork of John McLaughlin..."

Entertainment Weekly (8/01/97, p.75) - "...With his inimitable trumpeting--by turns melancholy, pungent, and lyrical--at the music's center, his electrified cohorts stretch the limits of jazz, rock, and funk..."

- Rating: A-

Down Beat (7/97, p.65) - 4 1/2 stars (out of 5) - "Initially recorded in '69 and '70, when the band was in flux, this palindrome-titled monster was later assembled out of live and studio tapes by Davis and producer Teo Macero.... this isn't pyrotechnic techno-dweeb fusion, but an outstandingly creative electric collage..."

JazzTimes (10/97, p.87) - "...Miles' true electric rite of passage..."

Musician (8/97, p.87) - "...The ears-open interactivity of Davis' ensembles--that ability to engage in serious musical conversation while flying in the upper atmosphere--is enough to shame any current bebop-babbling jazz automaton..."

Album Notes

Personnel: Miles Davis (trumpet); Hermeto Pascoal (vocals, whistling, electric piano, drums); Conrad Roberts (spoken vocals); Gary Bartz (soprano & alto saxophones); Steve Grossman, Wayne Shorter (soprano saxophone); Keith Jarrett (electric piano, organ); Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea (electric piano); John McLaughlin (guitar); Khalil Balakrishna (electric sitar); Dave Holland (acoustic & electric basses); Ron Carter (acoustic bass); Michael Henderson (electric bass); Jack DeJohnette, Billy Cobham (drums); Airto Moreia (percussion).

Recorded at Columbia Studio B, New York, New York between February 6 and June 4, 1970, and live at the Cellar Door, Washington, D.C. on December 19, 1970. Includes liner notes by Gary Bartz.

Digitally remastered by Tom Ruff (Sony Music Studios, New York, New York).

The first in a continuing series of double-LP extravaganzas released only in Japan in the early '70s, Live-Evil mixes four studio tracks from 1970 with four live ones taken from a Washington, D.C. performance in December of that year. Amidst heavy competition, the live tracks -- including "What I Say," "Sivad" and "Gemini Double Image" -- are the highlights, featuring some of Miles' best playing of the decade, plus aggressive work on extended solo spots by John McLaughlin on guitar, Keith Jarrett on keyboards, and Jack DeJohnette on drums. Alternating chaotic deep-groove passages with a few more atmospheric, Live-Evil held up for two decades as one of the great import-only Miles Davis albums, until it was reissued in America by Columbia/Legacy in 1997. ~ John Bush


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