11.3.1969 Paris

A week into the Newport Jazz Fest European tour, the quintet inexplicably shifts into a new gear here in Salle Pleyel. The set flow is honed to perfection, Corea, Holland, and DeJohnette are dialed in and playful, and a solid sound system allows Miles and Shorter to blow with utter confidence. Everything fell into place here, and thankfully we have video of both sets to bear witness.

Complete video of the second concert.

The quintet breaks from its familiar set structure somewhat in Salle Pleyel, bookending both sets with longer exploratory jams – and the band is loving it. Check out how Miles wraps up the first set by carefully stretching out “The Theme” while the rhythm section continues “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down” almost tauntingly, deep in a groove they’d happily continue for another 26 minutes. Watch the video and note Miles’ unusual stage exit between Corea and Holland – every subtlety was a message with Miles, and this one was clear: “I’m the boss, motherfucker.”

Corea’s playing is sublime on both sets, with his solos on “Bitches Brew” and “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down” getting downright pointillistic in the more abstract sections. His percussive approach wasn’t confined to the Rhodes either, as he and DeJohnette trade instruments (!) for “It’s About that Time” at the close of the second set. Bob Gluck’s fantastic book The Miles Davis Lost Quintet and Other Revolutionary Ensembles has a quote from Corea about the swap:

“Sometimes Wayne would be taking his solo and Jack and Dave’s playing would become so vigorous that playing the piano wouldn’t make much sense to me. So I’d jump on the drums, and Jack and I would both go at it, making all kinds of wild rhythms, creating more energy. Jack and I had some fun with that for a few gigs, and Miles seemed to let it go for a while – he was willing to let anything go for a while – then he said, “That’s enough.”

Get the tape (both sets) 

First concert
1. Directions (9:05)
2. Bitches Brew (10:39)
3. Paraphernalia (7:11)
4. Riot (3:29)
5. I Fall in Love Too Easily (4:11)
6. Sanctuary (3:15)
7. Miles Runs the Voodoo Down > The Theme (26:28)

Second concert
1. Introduction (:09)
2. Bitches Brew (12:25)
3. Agitation (9:02)
4. I Fall in Love Too Easily (3:12)
5. Sanctuary (3:59)
6. Masqualero (12:41)
7. It’s About that Time (14:50)

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