Miles at Montreux

Mar. 7, 2013
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Emerging from the jazz scene of the 1940s, Miles Davis and Quincy Jones took very different routes on a journey that eventually shared at least one common theme. Both tried to engage the pop music world—Jones with a straightforward platinum sales pitch and Davis the way Picasso approached still life.

They never shared the same stage until they converged at the Montreux Jazz Festival a few months before Davis’ death. Their performance together, Live at Montreux 1991 (out on Blu-ray, DVD and digital video), was a tribute to arranger and composer Gil Evans, responsible for the sonic architecture of such Miles’ classics as Sketches of Spain.

The more loquacious Jones acted as master of ceremonies before stepping behind his music stand to conduct the combined ensembles of the Gil Evans Orchestra and the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band. Davis strode out cocooned in aloofness; a pair of reading glasses soon replaced the bug-eyed shades that concealed a quarter of his face. The muted loneliness of his evanescent trumpet was often out of the spotlight; Evans’ orchestral arrangements were the stars of the show and plenty of space was given to superb younger soloists such as Kenny Garrett (saxophone) and Wallace Rooney (trumpet). Evans’ music, the epitome of swinging sophistication in a slightly off key, received a fine performance.

Live at Montreux 1991 was previously available only as part of the 10-DVD set Miles Davis at Montreux.


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