Following a monster of a gig in Rome on October 27th, the quintet had a few days to spare between shows. Who knows what sort of culture they immersed themselves in, but it made for a supremely weird set in Vienna. Fortunately, like most shows on this European leg, a broadcast team was there to capture it in prime fidelity.
The band lurches into “Bitches Brew” to open the set, deconstructing the stop-start intro hits into cascades of sound. Clearly relishing the chaos they’ve stirred up, the quintet turns out one of the more abstract versions of the tune to date – the carpet beneath Shorter’s solo is particularly impressive, and listen for Corea teasing “Vienna Waltz” amid the madness at 10:55.
“Agitation” is given similar treatment and the saxophonist is loving it, carefully navigating his solo over the rolling waves and quoting his own “Super Nova” throughout. There’s rough seas as the band transitions into “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down”, but Miles turns in a powerful solo to right the ship.
The 1-2 closer of “I Fall in Love Too Easily” > “Sanctuary” is a thing of beauty and a look ahead to the more serene large band sessions Miles would hold a few weeks past this date. The bandleader knew that a dose of serenity was the only resolution to a set as batty as this one.
1. Band warming up (with voiceover) (0:51)
2. Bitches Brew (13:39)
3. Agitation (9:52)
4. Miles Runs the Voodoo Down (14:17)
5. I Fall in Love Too Easily (2:39)
6. Sanctuary/The Theme (4:27)
Miles Davis (trumpet)
Wayne Shorter (soprano, tenor)
Chick Corea (Fender Rhodes)
Dave Holland (upright bass)
Jack DeJohnette (drums)