Miles Davis

Miles! Miles! Miles! Live in Japan '81

(CD - Sony Music Distribution #6513)

Review by

Issued in Japan in 1992, a year after Miles' death, this is the complete Tokyo concert from which "Jean-Pierre" was selected for Columbia's We Want Miles album. Ultimately, it adds corroborative detail to the most publicized comeback in jazz history without revealing any startling new facets. The repertoire is a bit different than on the Columbia release; the selections run together in two continuous medleys. "Back Seat Betty," a two-minute "Ursula," "My Man's Gone Now" and "Aida" ("Fast Track") form the first set, and "Fat Time" and "Jean-Pierre" are heard in the second. The then-frail trumpeter is obviously still groping his way back to form, sounding particularly tentative on "Back Seat Betty," but his vulnerability adds pathos to the reworking of "My Man's Gone Now." His young jazz-funk-rock band, though, is strong and tightly-rehearsed, having settled in after the first few months of Miles' comeback concerts. Guitarist Mike Stern sets the pace for all future Davis guitarists with his rapid-fire metallic crunching, Bill Evans contributes pertinent, if somewhat generic statements on soprano and tenor; drummer Al Foster is adept in funk and straight-ahead styles; and bassist Marcus Miller and percussionist Mino Cinelu fill out the sound. Why this expensive import was issued on two discs when its 75-minute length would easily fit on one is a conundrum that only Sony's accountants can explain.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 12:59
2 11:33
blue highlight denotes track pick