This remarkable performance at the 1969 Juan-les-Pins Festival sees Miles at one of the many moments of renewal in his staggering career. A year before this concert the jazz critic Leonard Feather visited Miles' New York apartment and found that he was listening to a broad spectrum of music: Aretha Franklin, The Byrds, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix. His tastes were changing and the whole of jazz was about to adapt with him as he rolled out what is now known as his Electric Period.
Much like Picasso, the shifts in Miles Davis work have been considered mini-epochs by posterity, and this one saw him connect with a number of musicians Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland and Chick Corea (who all recorded on the seminal In A Silent Way, which was recorded the same year as this performance) and the sublime drummer-composer Jack DeJohnette (who recorded on 1970s equally seminal Bitches Brew). Jazz hasn't known many more impressive line-ups than the one on that summer stage on the French Riviera.
It appears the musicians don't pause to take a breath from start to finish, reeling off songs from both aforementioned albums ("It's About That Time" from Silent Way and "Sanctuary" as well as "Miles Runs The Voodoo Down" from Bitches Brew). They also play tracks from Thelonious Monk and Miles's other electronic pianist, Josef Zawinul. A particular highlight comes in the form of his standard "Milestones," but in totality, this show proves something very few needing reminding of: Miles was a breathless pioneer in every sense.
Newport in Paris Jazz Festival
With Dave Holland, Chick Corea, Wayne Shorteran...