11.2.1969 Ronnie Scott’s, London

After months’ worth of tapes from concert halls and festival stages, it’s a delight to hear the quintet back in a club setting. Because as much as Miles wanted to ratchet up the band’s volume and intensity throughout the year, the primitive amplification in these larger venues seems to have forced him beyond his comfort zone – often cutting through the mix at higher registers at the expense of that characteristically impeccable tone. Here at Ronnie Scott’s, he’s clearly in his element. 

The available recording is a great one, but unfortunately incomplete, with “Bitches Brew” trimmed to a mere 2 minutes – video of the show (below) adds about 3 additional minutes for a brief, but fascinating look at the band performing in what appears to be an ultra-futuristic bachelor pad.

Still, the set continues along a similar path to that which we’ve seen on this European tour thus far. Front-loaded with extended groove-heavy workouts (”It’s About that Time” is exceptional here), defragmenting into abstraction mid-way, and closing with the meditative “I Fall in Love Too Easily” into “Sanctuary”. Absolutely peak Lost Quintet.

Get the tape

1 Bitches Brew (incomplete) 2:11
2 It’s About That Time 13:00
3 No Blues 8:01
4 This 5:08
5 I Fall in Love Too Easily 3:40
6 Sanctuary 4:08
7 The Theme 0:27

Miles Davis (trumpet)
Wayne Shorter (soprano, tenor)
Chick Corea (Fender Rhodes)
Dave Holland (upright bass)
Jack DeJohnette (drums)