Miles Davis - CBS Records Convention (Freeport, Grand Bahama Island)
Previously unknown to exist, this August 2, 1970 recording of Miles Davis was recorded live before an audience of invited guests at a CBS Records convention in the Bahamas. This recording now stands as the final document of existing Mils Davis recordings to feature Steve Grossman on sax, who would be replaced by Gary Bartz a few days later. Given only 30 minutes in which to play, this performance is less expansive in an improvisational sense than most performances during this era, but no less adventurous. The group still packs plenty of energy into the time allotted, and if anything, Miles solos even more than usual. The performance is one continuous suite, which allows one to follow the flow and logic of the music over an extended period of time. This continual flow, devoid of announcements identifying the songs, often left critics and listeners confused, but focused listening reveals that distinct changes are taking place. Miles is thoroughly in control of the musical direction at all times, whether he is in the forefront instrumentally or not. Miles guides the music back to particular vamps or themes, continually bringing focus to the group improvisations. The swift and agile response of the musicians to Miles' cues and coded phrases is truly remarkable and is a primary reason for the relentless intensity of this music. Little of this music derives from Miles' jazz period, nor does it fall into the free jazz category that it is so often mistakenly associated with. This music is much funkier, often comprised of deep, one chord, cyclical grooves that have little in common with jazz.