Just 12 days after blowing minds at the Fillmore West, the Miles Davis sextet dove back into the festival circuit with an afternoon set at the University of California Jazz Fest in Berkeley. Did the band hang out in the bay area between gigs; did they drop in and jam at Keystone Korner; maybe check out Vince Guaraldi or a Jerry Garcia/Merl Saunders gig at the Matrix? Nobody knows.
One thing’s for sure, this incomplete tape sounds as though it was recorded from deep inside the denim jacket of a squirrely undergrad. While that probably makes this one for completists only, it’s also the last document of the sextet before Keith Jarrett would join on electric organ.
The tape picks up presumably 30 or 40 minutes into the set at the tail end of a sinister “Bitches Brew” – just in time for a stunning solo from Miles over an ultra cosmic bed of ring-modulated Fender Rhodes. This is such a unique version of the tune you can’t help but wonder what the rest of it was like and how it reached this thrilling conclusion. “Spanish Key” is the only full-length tune featured here, with Steve Grossman turning in a soprano solo that meshes better than nearly anything he blew during the Fillmore West run a couple of weeks prior. The audience is clearly feeling it and Miles is in excellent form throughout, making you thirsty for the complete document.
Get the tape
1. Bitches Brew – incomplete (3:07)
2. Spanish Key (10:51)
3. I Fall in Love Too Easily (1:41)
4. Sanctuary/The Theme (3:46)