Review Summary: Miles runs down the Fillmore.
Imagine, if you will, a scenario. You're seeing your favorite musician perform the music you love before your eyes. Hearing the very sounds that seduced your enthusiasm. These experiences are often sublime. Because it's one thing to hear the music through an audio-player, but to actually see the artist in person- There's nothing like it. These artists perform their music in front of perhaps thousands of people, looking out to a sea of unknown faces. But from our side, the crowd of admirers, it's an event that we cherish forever. Some of us are fortunate and have had the privilege of seeing our favorite artists perform live. For others, these artists were well before their time and only have the music they left behind to cherish, forever to hold that wonder of what it must have been like to be a fan in the crowd.
To the unfortunate majority; the younger generations who were birthed too late or to those who just never had the opportunity to see him live, Black Beauty
is our window into the intense performances of Miles Davis. Immediately the album hits the ground running with "Directions"
, a fiery explosion of passionate musicianship. Every note played by the band members is simply erupting out of their instruments, producing an energetic synergy that refuses to be tamed. "Directions"
is the essence of everything we love about Jazz. No structure, giving the freedom for improvisation- and that's when the true excitement occurs. Miles Davis literally bombards the listener with immense notes, like a flame that refuses to wither away.
This performance contains a multitude of tracks from Bitches Brew
, but it also displays some new compositions and others we haven't heard in quite a while. Black Beauty takes us to several musical realms, some are instantly familiar, others are explorations following no particular path, just a voyage to simply see how far these musicians can go. "Willie Nelson"
and "It's About That Time"
, share a similar aesthetic as they exhibit more elevated deliveries, but they also contain a predominant Wah-wah Bass effect that produces a funkier element in the overall sound- An approach that will be more evident in Miles' subsequent efforts.
Black Beauty contains a perfect balance of aggressive tracks and the more atmospheric tone that we often saw in this particular era in Miles Davis' career. The ominous ambience of pseudo-psychedelia in "Bitches Brew"
, exhibit the more stranger side of Miles Davis that we've become much more acquainted with which each release from the "Electric" period. "Bitches Brew"
, is a very interesting track because it's an amalgamation of both sides, its much more versatile in mood and sound, displaying numerous musical structures; going from a delicate ambience to a more powerful delivery as it pleases. The electrified incarnation of "Masqualero"
, originally from Miles' 1967's Sorcerer
, represents the more elevated side of the album. It's just an intense release of energy that just won't quit, everyone is just on fire in this track. This is truly a historic performance, I mean everyone was just on it during this night. From David Holland who practically steals the spotlight in "Miles Runs Down The Voodoo"
with his performance on Bass guitar, to Chick Corea's psychedelic organ explosions in "Bitches Brew"
, and of course, Miles' ever dextrous Trumpet musicianship. Black Beauty is the perfect live album for not just any fan of Miles Davis, but Jazz fans in general. This is a performance that must be heard, and will be sure to lament anyone who was not there to see it in person.