Friday, August 29, 2008

Call It Anything: Miles Davis At Isle Of Wight

On August 29, 1970, Miles Davis rocked the Isle Of Wight Festival with one of the earliest of his psychedelic soundscape bands. Since I'm not patient enough to wait two years and post this for the 30th anniversary of this performance, here's the mindboggling set Miles' pioneering fusion ensemble played that day.

This Miles ensemble, not long after key saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter's departure to form Weather Report, inhabits that intriguing space between the Bitches Brew, Big Fun and Live-Evil recordings. Yep, this is definitely 'out there', but not yet the gurgling rock-funk-electronics-jazz-India-psychedelic-wah wah-sludge-raging raga cauldron that culminated in the live albums Dark Magus, Agharta and Pangeea. All offer an invaluable antidote to market-researched, focus-grouped corporate pop stylings.

The band features . . . Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett on keyboards; Gary Bartz - saxophones; Dave Holland - bass; Airto Moreira - percussion; Jack DeJohnette - trap drums and percussion.

The Isle Of Wight Festival was a troubled yet epochal event in the history of 20th century rock music; Jimi Hendrix, The Who and The Doors were among the headliners. Hendrix would say sayonara to this earthly form soon after the concert, with Jim Morrison not far behind.

Urban legends claim that Hendrix and Miles jammed informally and were slated to get together in the studio for some further recording in winter 1970-1971. . .

Hey, we can dream, can't we.

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