Peter Johnson

Miles @ Fillmore East 3/7/70 It's About That Time

6 posts in this topic

Whhhhooooooooowwwwwww.

Just copped a copy of this, and am listening to it for the first time. I never heard Miles' previously released Fillmore East sides.

I wouldn't say I'm having trouble getting into this, but it is challenging listening, being, in my opinion, heavier than Bitches Brew, heavier than LIVE/EVIL. I mean, this is some seriously thick sound. The polyrhythms are blowing me away; at times, it seems like there are three drum sections overdubbed (plus percussion sections to boot)!

I'm curious what others think of these sides. I'm having trouble thinking/writing about them without really digging into them and listening deeper, but I'd like to make a project of it over the weekend, kind of like Gdogus' era-by-era approach to Miles' music he was interestingly writing about last week.

But I'd also love to hear from those who were around when Miles' other Fillmore sides (this CD contains newly released material, apparently) hit the streets, or tapes from that same time. I mean, this shit is so real it blows the doors off a lot of what I'm hearing today, to say nothing of how it must have sounded "brand new" in 1970. Thoughts?

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Peter, I picked this up a few months ago, and it really is my first electric Miles from that period, I don't have IaSW or BB, but wanted to get the set since these sides were cut before BB was released, but I would say I second your opinion, it was really the first Miles release I didn't "get" upon hearing. It makes much more sense now as my ears were able to get past the initial intensity and realize it was still head-solo-head type stuff, but damn when Wayne and Chick solo, the intensity goes way past a breaking point, pretty much free territory, and Jack DeJohnette's drumming just seems to spur them on further, I will listen to this later now that I read this post.

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Love this one myself, but I'm predisposed to liking electric Miles anyway.

What this album DOES document is the literal end of the core "Lost Quintet" of Miles, Wayne (whose quote of "Never On Sunday" is a real hoot once you realize that this was his last gig w/Miles, and that it was on a Saturday night), Chick, Dave, and Jack, a group whose legacy has yet to be documented in an "official" manner, and the evolution of which (including the addition of Airto) gives the music heard here a quality of "logical-ness" in terms of "where it came from" that the "official" recordings don't.

Hopefully this is just the tip of the iceberg & Columbia will get around to assembling the better-sounding of the various bootlegs of that band and release them in a set (or three), This was an AMAZING band that walked the tightrope between conventional "tune" jazz and free improvisation very carelessly, and when it fell, it was usually to the side of the free. You have to hear it to believe it, I'll say.

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I've been living with electric Miles material since almost the original releases, and I've learned to really love it, and I have a fondness for this group with and without Jarrett and Moreira.

I haven't spun this one for a while. . . . It didn't floor me when it was first released, and I still have favorites both released and unreleased that I prefer, but it's a powerful powerful performance indeed.

My favorite bits from this band are performances of "The Mask." That piece just always gets me with its bass line and the ebbing and flowing texture! "Miles at Fillmore" has the classic version. . . . I still have hopes that one day we'll get the complete unedited performances from that week.

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I've never heard this particular side, but your discussion takes me back to a Miles concert I attended at Stanford University in the summer of 1970. It was my first exposure to electric Miles and was mindblowing but difficult. The personnel must have been largely the same. Airto and Dave Holland were there, but I'm not sure about the rest. Miles always had an all-star lineup, but that night I wish he would have soloed more himself. He tended to offer only sporadic outbursts.

I bought a few of the electric sides of that era, but always found them mostly inaccessible. Your comments here have spurred me to squelch my prejudices and try again.

BTW, Sly and The Family Stone was the warm-up act. I don't know if "psychedelic" even begins to describe that sojourn in California.

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To an earlier point, I hope more of the Lost Quintet emerges soon, but I fear there isn't much in the vault anyway left to be heard.

The Sony edition of Miles 1969 (an Antibes fest boot tape really, supposedly from Chick) is what really put my interest in jazz over the top "way" back in 1998. It's obviously not psychedelia, but the hypnotic intensity and the seamlessness betw the themes is more than a little psychedelic-seductive. Want to kill an hour in what seems like ten minutes? Try Miles 1969.

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