10.24.1973 Malmö

Just as they had in 1969 and 1971, the Miles Davis live ensemble spent the fall of 1973 on an extensive “Newport Jazz Festival in Europe” all-star tour presented by impresario George Wein. Unlike that 1971 tour in which he set out on the five-week trip with an under-rehearsed teenage Ndugu Chancler behind the kit and a fresh pair of auxiliary percussionists in tow, Miles’ 1973 septet was a finely tuned machine by the time it reached Malmö for the touring festival’s opening night.

By all accounts, the band performed a pair of concerts on this date in Malmö, the second of which was broadcast by Swedish national radio and presented here in somewhat dodgy fidelity. A recording of the first concert is rumored to exist though is not currently in circulation.

With a string of warmup shows at Boston’s Paul’s Mall under its belt, the septet ascends to a new level to start this European tour. Tunes like “Turnaroundphrase” and “Right Off” remain blindingly fast, but the pacing’s no longer frantic – here, the band’s in complete control as it stretches and molds the groove with shocking precision. Even Miles leaps out of the gate with some renewed ferocity as he smears themes and solos as if sketching them from memory while sculpting his tone into almost Minimoog-like wave shapes. Check out how the leader pierces a superb Pete Cosey solo to cue “Tune in 5”, then pulls the volume to a dramatic, sustained hush before cueing Cosey to let loose another monster toward the tune’s back half.

The band segues into “Ife” as if by tape splice, building the intro slowly before spilling over into an ultra-freaky dual-guitar solo and peaking as the band syncs up on a note-perfect theme statement – truly telepathic stuff afoot here. An actual tape edit cuts “Ife” short and picks up as “Right Off” emerges needle tight, leads with a killer turn from Dave Liebman, then shifts seamlessly into “Funk (Prelude Pt. 1)” with another pair of jaw-droppers from Miles and Cosey before “Zimbabwe” emerges and Cosey leads another master class. Miles finally takes a turn on organ for the magnificent return of “Calypso Frelimo” (the intro drops out for about 40 seconds here – stick with it) – sounding remarkably structured at the outset before splintering into pandemonium under Liebman’s solo. Miles restates the theme on organ to pull it all back into alignment and the groove slides into a touch of proto-doom metal as he begins his finest solo of the night before a flurry of stop/starts gives way to an impressive Mtumu finale.

An incredible show and a harbinger of the fall of ’73 tapes on the horizon.

Get the tape
1. Turnaroundphrase (incomplete) (7:28)
2. Tune in 5 (8:21)
3. Ife (incomplete) (10:14)
4. Right Off > Funk (Prelude pt. 1) (8:43)
5. Zimbabwe (9:22)
6. Calypso Frelimo (14:54)

Miles Davis (trumpet, organ)
Dave Liebman (soprano, tenor, flute)
Pete Cosey (guitar, percussion)
Reggie Lucas (guitar)
Michael Henderson (electric bass)
Al Foster (drums)
Mtume (conga, percussion)