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Miles Davis|Live - Evil

Live - Evil

Miles Davis

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Live-Evil is one of Miles Davis' most confusing and illuminating documents. As a double album, it features very different settings of his band -- and indeed two very different bands. The double-LP CD package is an amalgam of a December 19, 1970, gig at the Cellar Door, which featured a band comprised of Miles, bassist Michael Henderson, drummer Jack DeJohnette, guitarist John McLaughlin, saxophonist Gary Bartz, Keith Jarrett on organ, and percussionist Airto. These tunes show a septet that grooved hard and fast, touching on the great funkiness that would come on later. But they are also misleading in that McLaughlin only joined the band for this night of a four-night stand; he wasn't really a member of the band at this time. Therefore, as fine and deeply lyrically grooved-out as these tracks are, they feel just a bit stiff -- check any edition of this band without him and hear the difference. The other band on these discs was recorded in Columbia's Studio B and subbed Ron Carter or Dave Holland on bass, added Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock on electric pianos, dropped the guitar on "Selim" and "Nem Um Talvez," and subbed Steve Grossman over Gary Bartz while adding Hermeto Pascoal on percussion and drums in one place ("Selim"). In fact, these sessions were recorded earlier than the live dates, the previous June in fact, when the three-keyboard band was beginning to fall apart. Why the discs were not issued separately or as a live disc and a studio disc has more to do with Miles' mind than anything else. As for the performances, the live material is wonderfully immediate and fiery: "Sivad," "Funky Tonk," and "What I Say" all cream with enthusiasm, even if they are a tad unsure of how to accommodate McLaughlin. Of the studio tracks, only "Little Red Church" comes up to that level of excitement, but the other tracks, particularly "Gemini/Double Image," have a winding, whirring kind of dynamic to them that seems to turn them back in on themselves, as if the band was really pushing in a free direction that Miles was trying to rein in. It's an awesome record, but it's because of its flaws rather than in spite of them. This is the sound of transition and complexity, and somehow it still grooves wonderfully.

© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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Live - Evil

Miles Davis

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1
Sivad (Live at the Cellar Door, Washington, DC - December 1970) (Album Version)
00:15:13

Airto Moreira, Percussion - Bob Belden, Re-Issue Producer - Gary Bartz, Alto Saxophone - Gary Bartz, Soprano Saxophone - Jack DeJohnette, Drums - John McLaughlin, Guitar - Keith Jarret, Piano - Keith Jarrett, Organ - Michael Henderson, Acoustic Bass - Miles Davis, Composer - Miles Davis, Performer - Miles Davis, Trumpet - Russ Payne, Mixing Engineer - Stan Tonkel, Recording Engineer - Teo Macero, Producer

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Little Church (Live at the Cellar Door, Washington, DC - December 1970) (Album Version)
00:03:14

Airto Moreira, Percussion - Bob Belden, Re-Issue Producer - Chick Corea, Piano - Dave Holland, Acoustic Bass - H. PASCOAL, Composer - H. PASCOAL, Lyricist - Herbie Hancock, Piano - Hermeto Pascoal, Drums - Hermeto Pascoal, Performer - Hermeto Pascoal, Piano - Hermeto Pascoal, Whistles - Jack DeJohnette, Drums - John McLaughlin, Guitar - Keith Jarrett, Organ - Miles Davis, Performer - Miles Davis & His Orchestra, Trumpet - Steve Grossman, Soprano Saxophone - Teo Macero, Producer

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
Medley: Gemini / Double Image (Live at the Cellar Door, Washington, DC - December 1970)
00:05:53

Airto Moreira, Percussion - Billy Cobham, Drums - Bob Belden, Re-Issue Producer - Chick Corea, Piano - Dave Holland, Acoustic Bass - J. Zawinul, Composer - J. Zawinul, Lyricist - Jack De Johnette, Drums - Joe Zawinul, Piano - John McLaughlin, Guitar - Khalil Balakrishna, Sitar - Miles Davis, Composer - Miles Davis, Lyricist - Miles Davis, Performer - Miles Davis & His Orchestra, Trumpet - Russ Payne, Mixing Engineer - Stan Tonkel, Recording Engineer - Teo Macero, Producer - Wayne Shorter, Soprano Saxophone

Originally Recorded 1971. All rights reserved by SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

4
What I Say (Live at the Cellar Door, Washington, DC - December 1970) (Album Version)
00:21:09

Airto Moreira, Percussion - Bob Belden, Re-Issue Producer - Gary Bartz, Alto Saxophone - Gary Bartz, Soprano Saxophone - Jack DeJohnette, Drums - John McLaughlin, Guitar - Keith Jarret, Piano - Keith Jarrett, Organ - M. Davis, Composer - M. Davis, Lyricist - Michael Henderson, Acoustic Bass - Miles Davis, Performer - Miles Davis, Trumpet - Russ Payne, Mixing Engineer - Stan Tonkel, Recording Engineer - Teo Macero, Producer

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
Nem um Talvez (Live at the Cellar Door, Washington, DC - December 1970) (Album Version)
00:04:03

Airto Moreira, Percussion - Bob Belden, Re-Issue Producer - Chick Corea, Piano - Herbie Hancock, Piano - Hermeto Pascoal, Drums - Hermeto Pascoal, Vocal - Jack DeJohnette, Drums - Keith Jarrett, Organ - M. Davis, Composer - M. Davis, Lyricist - Miles Davis, Performer - Miles Davis, Trumpet - Ron Carter, Acoustic Bass - Russ Payne, Mixing Engineer - Stan Tonkel, Recording Engineer - Steve Grossman, Soprano Saxophone - Teo Macero, Producer

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

DISC 2

1
Selim (Live at the Cellar Door, Washington, DC - December 1970) (Album Version)
00:02:13

Airto Moreira, Percussion - Bob Belden, Re-Issue Producer - Chick Corea, Piano - Herbie Hancock, Piano - Hermeto Pascoal, Drums - Hermeto Pascoal, Vocal - Jack DeJohnette, Drums - Keith Jarrett, Organ - M. Davis, Composer - M. Davis, Lyricist - Miles Davis, Performer - Miles Davis, Trumpet - Ron Carter, Acoustic Bass - Russ Payne, Mixing Engineer - Stan Tonkel, Recording Engineer - Steve Grossman, Soprano Saxophone - Teo Macero, Producer

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Funky Tonk (Live at the Cellar Door, Washington, DC - December 1970) (Album Version)
00:23:25

Airto Moreira, Percussion - Bob Belden, Re-Issue Producer - Gary Bartz, Alto Saxophone - Gary Bartz, Soprano Saxophone - Jack DeJohnette, Drums - John McLaughlin, Guitar - Keith Jarret, Piano - Keith Jarrett, Organ - M. Davis, Composer - M. Davis, Lyricist - Michael Henderson, Acoustic Bass - Miles Davis, Performer - Miles Davis, Trumpet - Russ Payne, Mixing Engineer - Stan Tonkel, Recording Engineer - Teo Macero, Producer

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
Inamorata and Narration By Conrad Roberts (Live at the Cellar Door, Washington, DC - December 1970) (Album Version)
00:26:29

Airto Moreira, Percussion - Bob Belden, Re-Issue Producer - Gary Bartz, Alto Saxophone - Gary Bartz, Soprano Saxophone - Jack DeJohnette, Drums - John McLaughlin, Guitar - Keith Jarret, Piano - Keith Jarrett, Organ - M. Davis, Composer - M. Davis, Lyricist - Michael Henderson, Acoustic Bass - Miles Davis, Performer - Miles Davis, Trumpet - Russ Payne, Mixing Engineer - Stan Tonkel, Recording Engineer - Teo Macero, Producer

Originally released 1971. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Album review

Live-Evil is one of Miles Davis' most confusing and illuminating documents. As a double album, it features very different settings of his band -- and indeed two very different bands. The double-LP CD package is an amalgam of a December 19, 1970, gig at the Cellar Door, which featured a band comprised of Miles, bassist Michael Henderson, drummer Jack DeJohnette, guitarist John McLaughlin, saxophonist Gary Bartz, Keith Jarrett on organ, and percussionist Airto. These tunes show a septet that grooved hard and fast, touching on the great funkiness that would come on later. But they are also misleading in that McLaughlin only joined the band for this night of a four-night stand; he wasn't really a member of the band at this time. Therefore, as fine and deeply lyrically grooved-out as these tracks are, they feel just a bit stiff -- check any edition of this band without him and hear the difference. The other band on these discs was recorded in Columbia's Studio B and subbed Ron Carter or Dave Holland on bass, added Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock on electric pianos, dropped the guitar on "Selim" and "Nem Um Talvez," and subbed Steve Grossman over Gary Bartz while adding Hermeto Pascoal on percussion and drums in one place ("Selim"). In fact, these sessions were recorded earlier than the live dates, the previous June in fact, when the three-keyboard band was beginning to fall apart. Why the discs were not issued separately or as a live disc and a studio disc has more to do with Miles' mind than anything else. As for the performances, the live material is wonderfully immediate and fiery: "Sivad," "Funky Tonk," and "What I Say" all cream with enthusiasm, even if they are a tad unsure of how to accommodate McLaughlin. Of the studio tracks, only "Little Red Church" comes up to that level of excitement, but the other tracks, particularly "Gemini/Double Image," have a winding, whirring kind of dynamic to them that seems to turn them back in on themselves, as if the band was really pushing in a free direction that Miles was trying to rein in. It's an awesome record, but it's because of its flaws rather than in spite of them. This is the sound of transition and complexity, and somehow it still grooves wonderfully.

© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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