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Miles Davis|Merci Miles! Live at Vienne (Live at Vienne Jazz Festival, 1991)

Merci Miles! Live at Vienne (Live at Vienne Jazz Festival, 1991)

Miles Davis

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Reconsidering late-era Miles Davis is a dicey proposition. On one hand, there are albums like Aura that were largely ignored at the time, but upon revisitation, have proven to be challenging and consequential works. On the other, there are albums like Doo-Bop, which have ... not. (To be fair, much of Miles's post-'50s material took folks a while to warm to, as he was often an artist a few steps ahead of his time.) With that in mind, Merci! Miles Live at Vienne is both a curious time capsule and a bit of a "what if?" game. Recorded in France in July 1991, just a few months before Davis passed away, this relatively brisk set clocks in at just over 70 minutes long. Though Miles's trumpet is something of a spectral presence throughout—only occasionally pushing its way to the front of the proceedings—the audience is intensely and vocally appreciative of his playing and that of the band accompanying him. The energy level throughout is surprisingly high and nearly raucous in moments. And yes, this is the peak of Davis's "modern pop songs should be standards" phase, so both "Time After Time" and "Human Nature" get workouts, with all the popping bass and four-on-the-floor rhythm that implies. Similarly, then-new Davis cuts like "Amandla" and "Hannibal" are here, in all their high-gloss vitality. The inclusion of two songs written by Prince make this set an interesting document. Though the two only performed together once (at a 1987 New Year's Eve show at Paisley Park), they were big fans of one another, with Prince pitching several songs for Miles to record over the years and even building a whole jazz band (Madhouse) with the idea that Miles could collaborate with them. Prince wrote "Penetration" and "Jailbait" for Madhouse and submitted them for Miles's consideration in early 1991; Miles and his band recorded both, but the studio versions have never been released, due to Prince's disinclination to assist with their posthumous production. However, they were both consistently played in concert throughout 1991 and the versions here are excellent, with Miles and his band sticking hard and fast to each song's groove while finding plenty of space to stretch out. Thus, unlike Doo-Bop (the posthumous album they would have appeared on), these songs here spark a bit of an exciting round of "what could have been," which is most definitely not the case for most artists' late-period live albums. But, then again, Miles was always a few steps ahead of the game. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz

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Merci Miles! Live at Vienne (Live at Vienne Jazz Festival, 1991)

Miles Davis

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1
Hannibal (Live at Vienne Jazz Festival, 1991)
00:15:58

Miles Davis, Trumpet, MainArtist - MARCUS MILLER, Composer - Florence Halfon, Producer - KENNY GARRETT, Saxophone - Ricky Wellman, Drums - Richard Patterson, Bass - Deron Johnson, Keyboards - John Webber, Masterer - Ashley Kahn, Producer - Joseph McCreary, Jr., Lead Bass - Patrick Savey, Mixer

Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company., © 2021 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2021 Zycopolis Productions, under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc., a Warner Music Group Company.

2
Human Nature (Live at Vienne Jazz Festival, 1991)
00:18:10

Steven Porcaro, Writer - Miles Davis, Trumpet, MainArtist - Florence Halfon, Producer - KENNY GARRETT, Saxophone - Ricky Wellman, Drums - JOHN BETTIS, Writer - Richard Patterson, Bass - Deron Johnson, Keyboards - John Webber, Masterer - Ashley Kahn, Producer - Joseph McCreary, Jr., Lead Bass - Patrick Savey, Mixer

Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company., © 2021 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2021 Zycopolis Productions, under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc., a Warner Music Group Company.

3
Time After Time (Live at Vienne Jazz Festival, 1991)
00:10:16

Cyndi Lauper, Writer - Robert Hyman, Writer - Miles Davis, Trumpet, MainArtist - Florence Halfon, Producer - KENNY GARRETT, Saxophone - Ricky Wellman, Drums - Richard Patterson, Bass - Deron Johnson, Keyboards - John Webber, Masterer - Ashley Kahn, Producer - Joseph McCreary, Jr., Lead Bass - Patrick Savey, Mixer

Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company., © 2021 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2021 Zycopolis Productions, under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc., a Warner Music Group Company.

4
Penetration (Live at Vienne Jazz Festival, 1991)
00:09:01

Prince, Composer - Miles Davis, Trumpet, MainArtist - Florence Halfon, Producer - KENNY GARRETT, Saxophone - Ricky Wellman, Drums - Richard Patterson, Bass - Deron Johnson, Keyboards - John Webber, Masterer - Ashley Kahn, Producer - Joseph McCreary, Jr., Lead Bass - Patrick Savey, Mixer

Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company., © 2021 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2021 Zycopolis Productions, under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc., a Warner Music Group Company.

5
Wrinkle (Live at Vienne Jazz Festival, 1991)
00:08:35

Miles Davis, Trumpet, MainArtist - Florence Halfon, Producer - Erin Davis, Composer - Randy Hall, Composer - Wayne Linsey, Composer - Zane Giles, Composer - KENNY GARRETT, Saxophone - Ricky Wellman, Drums - Richard Patterson, Bass - Deron Johnson, Keyboards - John Webber, Masterer - Ashley Kahn, Producer - Joseph McCreary, Jr., Lead Bass - Patrick Savey, Mixer

Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company., © 2021 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2021 Zycopolis Productions, under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc., a Warner Music Group Company.

6
Amandla (Live at Vienne Jazz Festival, 1991)
00:06:08

Miles Davis, Trumpet, MainArtist - MARCUS MILLER, Arranger, Writer - Florence Halfon, Producer - KENNY GARRETT, Saxophone - Ricky Wellman, Drums - Richard Patterson, Bass - Deron Johnson, Keyboards - John Webber, Masterer - Ashley Kahn, Producer - Joseph McCreary, Jr., Lead Bass - Patrick Savey, Mixer

Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company., © 2021 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2021 Zycopolis Productions, under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc., a Warner Music Group Company.

7
Jailbait (Live at Vienne Jazz Festival, 1991)
00:05:55

Prince, Composer - Miles Davis, Trumpet, MainArtist - Florence Halfon, Producer - KENNY GARRETT, Saxophone - Ricky Wellman, Drums - Richard Patterson, Bass - Deron Johnson, Keyboards - John Webber, Masterer - Ashley Kahn, Producer - Joseph McCreary, Jr., Lead Bass - Patrick Savey, Mixer

Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company., © 2021 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2021 Zycopolis Productions, under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc., a Warner Music Group Company.

8
Finale (Live at Vienne Jazz Festival, 1991)
00:06:08

Miles Davis, Trumpet, MainArtist - Florence Halfon, Producer - KENNY GARRETT, Saxophone - Ricky Wellman, Drums - Richard Patterson, Bass - Deron Johnson, Keyboards - John Webber, Masterer - Ashley Kahn, Producer - Joseph McCreary, Jr., Lead Bass - Patrick Savey, Mixer - Richard D. Wellman, Composer

Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company., © 2021 Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company. ℗ 2021 Zycopolis Productions, under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc., a Warner Music Group Company.

Album Description

Reconsidering late-era Miles Davis is a dicey proposition. On one hand, there are albums like Aura that were largely ignored at the time, but upon revisitation, have proven to be challenging and consequential works. On the other, there are albums like Doo-Bop, which have ... not. (To be fair, much of Miles's post-'50s material took folks a while to warm to, as he was often an artist a few steps ahead of his time.) With that in mind, Merci! Miles Live at Vienne is both a curious time capsule and a bit of a "what if?" game. Recorded in France in July 1991, just a few months before Davis passed away, this relatively brisk set clocks in at just over 70 minutes long. Though Miles's trumpet is something of a spectral presence throughout—only occasionally pushing its way to the front of the proceedings—the audience is intensely and vocally appreciative of his playing and that of the band accompanying him. The energy level throughout is surprisingly high and nearly raucous in moments. And yes, this is the peak of Davis's "modern pop songs should be standards" phase, so both "Time After Time" and "Human Nature" get workouts, with all the popping bass and four-on-the-floor rhythm that implies. Similarly, then-new Davis cuts like "Amandla" and "Hannibal" are here, in all their high-gloss vitality. The inclusion of two songs written by Prince make this set an interesting document. Though the two only performed together once (at a 1987 New Year's Eve show at Paisley Park), they were big fans of one another, with Prince pitching several songs for Miles to record over the years and even building a whole jazz band (Madhouse) with the idea that Miles could collaborate with them. Prince wrote "Penetration" and "Jailbait" for Madhouse and submitted them for Miles's consideration in early 1991; Miles and his band recorded both, but the studio versions have never been released, due to Prince's disinclination to assist with their posthumous production. However, they were both consistently played in concert throughout 1991 and the versions here are excellent, with Miles and his band sticking hard and fast to each song's groove while finding plenty of space to stretch out. Thus, unlike Doo-Bop (the posthumous album they would have appeared on), these songs here spark a bit of an exciting round of "what could have been," which is most definitely not the case for most artists' late-period live albums. But, then again, Miles was always a few steps ahead of the game. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz

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