10.27.1969 Rome

The quintet’s second date on the Newport Jazz Festival European tour brought them to Teatro Sistina in Rome with a TV and radio broadcast crew at the ready. While the quality of the audio recording is superb, it’s worth noting that “The Theme” has been pruned from the end of the afternoon set, and “Directions” is absent from the start of the evening performance – giving the impression of an uninterrupted 89-minute gig. The available video is a bit of a mish mash of partial tunes from both sets, but essential viewing.

In an odd move, the first setlist resembles one from much earlier in the year, with nary a cut from In a Silent Way or Bitches Brew to be found. Material be damned, the quintet attacks it with abandon, getting ultra spacial early in the set for a long excursion into Corea’s “This”, extending the mood into “’Round Midnight” and exploding into full color once they hit the theme. A transition worth the price of admission alone. 

The afternoon set brings us into the present future beginning with a generous 30 minutes of “Bitches Brew” > “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down”. Shorter is positively on his game throughout, but particularly on the aforementioned tunes. Having recorded his incredible “Super Nova” LP a couple months previously, he’d be the first to leave the core quintet in early ‘70, and you can really hear him start to pull away on this date, almost sounding as if he’s transmitting his solos in from another universe.

Get the tape / Stream both sets

First Set

1. Directions (6:51)
2. Directions > This (4:31)
3. This (5:02)
4. ‘Round Midnight (10:47)
5. I Fall in Love Too Easily (1:47)
6. Masqualero (12:22)

Second Set

1. Bitches Brew (15:06)
2. Miles Runs the Voodoo Down (15:08)
3. Agitation (8:16)
4. I Fall In Love Too Easily (2:06)
5. Sanctuary > The Theme (3:48)