Trumpeter Miles Davis led some of the greatest bands in jazz history, including the so-called "Second Great Quintet." The group soars on a newly-released collection of live concerts from 1967.
The Miles Davis Quintet had just finished recording its fourth album Nefertiti before embarking on an all-star jazz tour billed as “The Newport Jazz Festival in Europe.” The track “No Blues” was recorded during the group’s first stop in Belgium on October 28, 1967, with Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass, Tony Williams on drums and Miles on trumpet.
Carter remembers the European concerts as the next step in the evolution of this once-in-a-lifetime ensemble.
“None of us realized that the band would reach this level of historical value," Carter said. "I think we realized we were doing something a little different than the other groups who were playing at that time. I think we were so focused on playing better every night. Many times we never knew we were being recorded at the live concerts. The studios were a much more controlled environment, the sound was much more even in the studio due to the microphones and the shape and the size of the rooms, and the engineer knew what he was looking for because he heard the band live in New York or somewhere. So the environment is completely different.”
All five concerts were recorded by state-owned radio and television stations, and feature previously unreleased or first-ever authorized released material. Executive producer Erin Davis, son of the late Miles Davis, says his father put his musical instincts to work when he assembled the Quintet.
“When you go back it’s hard to imagine this being one band. It seems like something that could happen for one show or something, but this was a band that was together for years. That was just one of his great talents was putting together a band,” Davis noted.
Miles Davis Quintet CD
Erin Davis believes these recordings capture the Quintet at its best.
“I think they all considered each other equals and didn’t have to show each other up, so, I think, what you got was just an excellent performance all the time,” he said.
The Miles Davis Quintet Live in Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series Volume 1 also features concerts recorded in Denmark and France, as well as a DVD of concert footage shot in Sweden and Germany.