Our second audience tape of 1969 is a brief snapshot from the Miles Davis Quintet’s late-May stretch at the Village Gate. But my god, what a show. Jack DeJohnette is absolutely ferocious behind the kit* and goes full-bore from the start – not necessarily overplaying but clearly pushing the rest of the band (even Miles) into supporting roles. The Miles Ahead database lists May 23 and 24 as the possible dates from which this recording originates, which amazingly means DeJohnette pulled double duty recording Joe Henderson’s Power to the People LP the afternoon of the 23rd.
To sweeten the pot, we’re treated to the inaugural live recording of the Bitches Brew standout, “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down”. While its pacing is frantic, that unmistakable groove is already in place, with DeJohnette doing his best to approximate the multiple drummers that would produce the studio version later that summer. A brief tape, but a phenomenal document. Bask in its glory.
*I originally listed Tony Williams as a fill-in for DeJohnette here based on some atypically bombastic drumming, as well as anecdotes by those who claimed to have attended the gig. According to a 1/30/21 thread in the Miles Davis Discussion group, my theory has been refuted by none other than Mr. DeJohnette himself.