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Miles Ahead: Legacy Launches “Bootleg Series” For Davis

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Move over, Bob Dylan.  Another legendary Columbia Records artist just a couple of spaces over on the CD shelf is receiving the Bootleg Series treatment with the September 20 release of The Miles Davis Quintet – Live in Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series Volume 1.  And this release looks every inch as lavish and essential as the releases in Dylan’s similarly titled, long-running series.  It’s drawn from original state-owned television and radio sources in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, and Sweden, and covers five European festival performances recorded over nine days in October to November 1967.  Every track is previously unreleased commercially, and features Davis’ “Second Great Quintet” with the leader joined by a veritable “Who’s who” of jazz greats: Wayne Shorter (tenor saxophone), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums).  The 3-CD + DVD package will be joined on September 20 by a “highlights” disc, Miles Davis Quintet – Live in Europe 1967: Best of the Bootleg Volume 1.     

Davis’ “First Great Quintet” was a tough act to follow despite the group’s short time as a permanent unit.  John Coltrane (tenor sax), Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums) were all largely unknown when they joined Davis in 1955, but they quickly established themselves as giants of the field.  This was the group immortalized on five Prestige albums as well as Davis’ first Columbia long-player, the 1957 hard-bop masterpiece ‘Round About Midnight.  By the time of the release of the Columbia platter that March, the Quintet had already broken up.  Davis experimented with a number of personnel changes before the five gentlemen reunited to become The Miles Davis Sextet with the addition of Cannonball Adderley (alto saxophone) in late 1957.  But ultimately, the door continued to revolve around Davis.

The “Second Great Quintet” heard on The Bootleg Series took form in 1965, lasting until 1968.  On such albums as E.S.P. (1965), Miles Smiles (1966), Sorcerer (1967), Nefertiti (1967), Miles In the Sky (1968), and Filles De Kilimanjaro (1968), the group supported Davis through one of his most fertile, imaginative periods.  E.S.P. was the first album by Davis to concentrate entirely on new compositions by group members, a change from the standard Great American Songbook repertoire.  This was also the period in which Davis transitioned from bop to jazz fusion and his electric period.  Miles in the Sky utilized electric piano, electric bass and electric guitar on a Davis album for the very first time.  The chemistry between group members was obvious, but perhaps never more so than when they performed live as Miles’ “leaderless” ensemble, adept at varied jams.

For a look at diversity of material and performances on The Bootleg Series, plus track listing and additional information, go ahead and hit the jump!

The Quintet’s 1967 European tour brought them to Antwerp, Belgium (October 28th); Stockholm, Sweden (October 31st); Copenhagen, Denmark (November 2nd); Paris, France (November 6th); and Karlsruhe, Germany (November 7th).  It was an all-star line-up, with Sarah Vaughan, The Archie Shepp Quintet , The Thelonious Monk Quartet, The Gary Burton Quartet, and promoter George Wein’s own Newport All-Stars with Buddy Tate also on the bill.  Ironically, all five concerts were recorded by state-owned radio and television outlets.  The Belgium (an hour-plus set), Denmark and France dates are all full-length concert sets now finally seeing commercial release.   The Denmark performance might be of the most interest to collectors, as it hasn’t even seen the light of day as a bootleg!  The Paris concert is the longest performance on The Bootleg Series Volume 1, containing versions of “Agitation” and “Footprints” which have not turned up previously on bootleg editions.           

But there’s more.  The DVD component of The Bootleg Series presents two concert sets by the Quintet, one from Stockholm on October 31, and one from Karlsruhe, Germany on November 7.  These two sets represent the only known video documentation of the “Second Great Quintet” from the ‘65 to ’68 period.  (This DVD was included as a bonus disc on the Complete Miles Davis Columbia Album Collection, released in 2009.)

You’ll hear the music that marked this great period of transition for Davis.  “On Green Dolphin Street” was written by Bronislau Kaper and Ned Washington for a 1947 film but became a standard in Davis’ hands.   Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn’s “I Fall in Love Too Easily” was introduced in MGM’s 1945 Anchors Aweigh, but was also reinvented anew by the trumpeter.  “’Round Midnight” was still part of the set list, which is truly appropriate.    It was at George Wein’s 1955 Newport Jazz Festival that Davis participated in a jam session during which “Midnight” (a song he had been playing since his days with Charlie Parker) was played with the song’s composer, Thelonious Monk, among the performers.  According to Davis himself, “everybody went crazy” about his performance.  It was responsible for his signing to Columbia Records.

These classics sit alongside the new, group-penned material from the studio albums, reimagined in this live setting where Davis elected to play his sets as one long jam with little separation between songs.  It’s likely that Davis and the group were already contemplating going their separate ways by late 1967, and this frisson adds to the super-charged performances.

Legacy’s series of Davis remasters has long featured copious annotation, and this release will be no exception.  Ashley Kahn, author of Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece, has provided the liner notes based on new interviews with key personnel like various surviving Quintet members, promoter Wein, his co-producer/tour manager Bob Jones, and tourmates Archie Shepp, Roswell Rudd, and Gary Burton.  Richard Seidel and Michael Cuscuna produce the set, which is housed in an 8-panel digipak with the booklet weighing in at 28 pages.

The Miles Davis Quintet – Live in Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series Volume 1 is in stores from Columbia and Legacy on September 20!

The Miles Davis Quintet – Live in Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series Volume 1 (Columbia/Legacy 8869794053 2, 2011)            

CD 1

  1. Agitation
  2. Footprints
  3. ’Round Midnight
  4. No Blues
  5. Riot
  6. On Green Dolphin Street
  7. Masqualero
  8. Gingerbread Boy
  9. Theme

CD 2

  1. Agitation
  2. Footprints
  3. ‘Round Midnight
  4. No Blues
  5. Masqualero
  6. Agitation
  7. Footprints

CD 3

  1. ‘Round Midnight
  2. No Blues
  3. Masqualero
  4. I Fall in Love Too Easily
  5. Riot
  6. Walkin’
  7. On Green Dolphin Street
  8. The Theme


  1. Agitation
  2. Footprints
  3. I Fall in Love Too Easily
  4. Gingerbread Boy
  5. The Theme
  6. Agitation
  7. Footprints
  8. ‘Round Midnight
  9. Gingerbread Boy
  10. The Theme

CD 1, Tracks 1-9 recorded on October 28, 1967 at the Konigin Elizabethzaal, Antwerp, Belgium by Belgian Radio and Television [BRT] 

CD 2, Tracks 1-5 recorded on November 2, 1967 at the Tivoli Konsertsal, Copenhagen, Denmark by Danish Radio

CD 2, Tracks 6 & 7 recorded and broadcast on November 6, 1967 at the Paris Jazz Festival, Salle Pleyel, Paris, France on France Inter [ORTF]

CD 3, Tracks 1-8 recorded and broadcast on November 6, 1967 at the Paris Jazz Festival, Salle Pleyel, Paris, France on France Inter [ORTF]   

DVD, Tracks 1-6 recorded on November 7, 1967 at the Stadthalle, Karlsruhe, Germany by Südwestfunk TV

DVD, Tracks 7-11 recorded on October 31, 1967 at the Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sweden by Sveriges Radio TV

Miles Davis Quintet – Live in Europe 1967: Best of the Bootleg Volume 1 (Columbia/Legacy CK 88697 94870 2, 2011)

  1. Agitation
  2. On Green Dolphin Street
  3. ‘Round Midnight
  4. No Blues
  5. Masqualero
  6. Gingerbread Boy
  7. The Theme

Tracks 1-2 & 6 recorded October 28, 1967 at the Konigin Elizabethzaal, Antwerp, Belgium

Tracks 3-4 recorded November 2, 1967 at the Tivoli Konsertsal, Copenhagen, Denmark

Tracks 5 & 7 recorded November 6, 1967 at the Paris Jazz Festival, Salle Pleyel, Paris, France

Written by Joe Marchese

July 25, 2011 at 13:37

9 Responses

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  1. Cool, I guess, but there’s no shortage of live Miles out there already… I have several, covering different eras of Miles’ work, myself. I’m not really sure how much more is needed.

    Meanwhile, the Dylan Bootleg Series releases come out at a snail’s pace (and they haven’t released any live shows in years now). And where’s Springsteen, Billy Joel, SRV, and other great artists whose catalogues are with Sony?


    July 25, 2011 at 20:40

    • I’d love to see The Bootleg Series format applied to any of those artists you mention, too! I believe the loose, general “rule of thumb” for Bob’s releases is a Bootleg volume for each year he doesn’t have a studio album out, hence last year we got “The Witmark Demos.” What will this year bring for Mr. Dylan? Hmm…

      Joe Marchese

      July 25, 2011 at 21:57

    • As a Jerseyan – and I’m sure Joe can back me up on this – the lack of Springsteen “bootleg series” shows is incomprehensible. Of course, it’s one of those no-brainers that would still take a lot of work, because let’s face it: it’s Bruce Springsteen.

      Mike Duquette

      July 25, 2011 at 22:46

      • I just don’t get it, especially in Springsteen’s case, given that (just like Dylan) every time the guy performs somewhere *someone* is bootlegging the show. Hell, they play bootlegged Bruce shows every single day on the Sirius/XM “E Street Radio” channel (some good, but plenty of recordings clearly aren’t “Soundboard” quality). So, clearly, Bruce is OK with it. Why not throw the fans a bone and put out a series that will instantly have a rabid, built-in audience? I love the Hammersmith ’75 show. More like that! Please!

        The stuff on the Darkness box set is great too, but I can’t play a DVD in my car, or rip it to my iPod, etc.

        SRV’s estate have thrown a few bones to the fans, but not nearly enough. He’s got a Hendrix-like following that would welcome more.

        In Billy’s case, I can imagine he’s probably a real control freak about that stuff. Or, at this point, he’s probably just not interested. A shame though, given sub-par live releases like The Millenium Concert and Live At Shea. There’s plenty of great stuff out there, covering the 20+ years he was actively recording, but that stuff sits in a vault somewhere, unheard.


        July 26, 2011 at 20:20

  2. Can’t get too much Miles, had too much Dylan, would love to get more Springsteen.

    Derek Elder

    July 26, 2011 at 17:45

    • All a matter of taste, I guess, Derek. I do like Miles, or at least diiferent eras of Miles. The “cool” jazz era (Kind of Blue etc.) is great, and I have some live stuff with various combos he worked with. I’m one of those blasphemers that loves the fusion stuff. So I have several live albums from the fusion era, again with different bands and musicians.

      Maybe it’s just me, but as a more “casual” jazz fan, I guess, I can only take so much. It’s great, but after awhile I need songs with words! But the hardcore jazz/Miles fanatics, you’ve got lots and lots to choose from.
      There have been dozens of live Miles releasese over the years. Including huge multi-disc boxed sets.

      Dylan by comparison, has had relatively few live releases, and only a few truly great ones. The Bootleg Series is a great thing, but the only live shows we’ve gotten are the famous “Judas” show, an early folk show, and a Rolling Thunder Revue release. There’s so much more, from so many different eras of Dylan’s career, not unlike the many different phases of Miles’ work. So, yeah, there needs to be more live Dylan releases.

      Why not release a complete set of his Newport performances, including the full electric 1965 set (the Other Side of the Mirror DVD is inexplicably missing one song from what might be the most famous live rock performance ever)? That could probably be a two disc set. Release the full Isle of Wight performance, or The Night of the Hurricane show? Something from the Dylan/Petty tour in 1986 (there was a home video, but that’s long out of print too) would be welcome, and ANYTHING from the “Never Ending Tour” (we’re talking more than 20 years now) would be welcomed at this point.

      Actually, I read somewhere awhile back that the famous Supper Club shows (early 90’s) might be getting a proper release soon. That would be a real treat!


      July 26, 2011 at 20:11

  3. It seems that Columbia is to produce 2 box sets from those lives… Did you comment on the first volume or the second one? Besides, I think that disc 3 presents the titles and the right order of what seems to be the best performance of this quintet that year : November 6th, 1967 at Pleyel, Paris. Could you please confirm this? Let’s hope the sound will be excellent… Thank you.


    August 29, 2011 at 22:30

    • Indeed, the final two tracks on CD 2 (“Agitation” and “Footprints”) as well as all eight tracks on CD 3 were performed and broadcast on November 6, 1967 at the Paris Jazz Festival, Salle Pleyel, Paris. The sound will undoubtedly be wonderful, with Mark Wilder mastering.

      Joe Marchese

      August 29, 2011 at 23:42

      • I’m sorry to say but the sound is not as good as the JMY bootleg No Blues. That one is in stereo while the Sony recording is a mono track. I was very surprised to hear that the Paris concert was a mono mastering. why Sony? Also the dvd has one track short: Walkin’ from the Karlsruhe concert is gone. Why Sony? A impro-jazz dvd release from 2006 has the both concerts with Walkin’! The image is better on the Sony release though.


        September 18, 2011 at 10:14

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