Monday, September 20, 2010

Miles Davis: Bitches Brew (Legacy Edition)

Miles Davis
Bitches Brew (Legacy Edition)

So there isn't much else I can really say about Bitches Brew that we haven't discussed before. The real reason for today's entry is the fact that the most recently released editions of Bitches Brew (Deluxe Edition with all the bells and whistles at a hefty price or the Legacy Edition at a much more consumer friendly entry point) is well worth the purchase for Miles Davis fans.

The Bitches Brew (Legacy Edition) features the original album as well a second disc of outtakes and single edited version. Technically this really only for the die-hard collector. The versions aren't drastically different except for length (i.e. edited single versions). The real treat here is the DVD Live In Copenhagen 1969. The audio for this gig has been widely bootlegged in recent years but there's a reason for it--it's fantastic!

While the album session features a huge 12 member ensemble recorded in August of '69, the live recording is much more scaled down lean quintet. This November performance came a few months before the actual release of the album in 1970. You get a completely different experience with the performances from this smaller group featuring Wayne Shorter (sax), Chick Corea (electric piano), Jack DeJohnette (drums) and Dave Holland (bass). The songs are also not the same album length as evident of "Bitches Brew" and "Miles Runs The Voodoo Down." It's a slightly more intimate performance but still packs the fierce impact on the senses.

Each member is fine form throughout. Chick Corea really shines with some amazingly hypnotic doodling ("Bitches Brew"). This swirling synthesis is melded with Wayne Shorter's always omnipresent lyrical work on the saxophone (especially on "Agitation"). And there is a final moment on "It's About Time" that Dave Holland shows why he is one most creative bass player alive today. Miles is superb form as the group does truly explore new directions in music. This is a performance that was probably extremely experimental when it was performed but today it really will leave you in awe of what these legends did as a small group compared to massive scale they performed just a few months earlier in the studio.

If you already own Bitches Brew is going to be a tough call on buying this again but I have to say if you can spare the extra 12 - 14 Euros, its well worth it. If you don't own Bitches Brew this is a great way to get two incredible powerful performances from both the ensemble and the smaller quintet in one quick swoop. Highly Recommended.



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