7.5.1969 Newport Jazz Fest

The earliest pro-recorded live set of 1969 comes from the Newport Jazz Fest – oddly, it’s also an incomplete set, with 3 songs clocking in at just 24 recorded minutes. Not surprisingly, it smokes, explaining why Columbia has released it on the Bitches Brew Live comp in 2011 and again on Miles Davis at Newport 1955–1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4 in 2015.

With Shorter reportedly stuck in Newport traffic, the band pressed on as a quartet. The result was a set that was far more sparse than anything we’ve heard from Miles’ ‘69 live band up to this point. Rather than trim Shorter’s solo sections from the tunes, the quartet simply rides a groove in their place – defining that rhythm-driven spaciousness Miles would push to its limit when recording Bitches Brew the following month. 

Just listen to the last couple minutes of “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down” into “Sanctuary”; a 6-minute stretch that sounds like an outtake from those late August sessions at Studio B. This is a band creating a template for an entire genre right before our ears. This audience had no idea what hit ‘em.

1. Miles Runs the Voodoo Down (10:26)
2. Sanctuary (3:58)
3. It’s About That Time/The Theme (9:40)