9.14 – 9.17.1972 Paul’s Mall

Legendary Boston venues, Jazz Workshop and Paul’s Mall shared an address at 733 Boylston St., with both clubs situated comfortably in the basement of the Cinema 733 theater. While Miles performed with some regularity at the Jazz Workshop from the mid-to-late sixties into the summer of 1971, it was likely the sheer volume of his nine-piece band that precipitated a move across the hallway to the more rock-centric Paul’s Mall beginning in September of ’72. He would return to Paul’s for a few more multi-night stands before his 1975 hiatus, leaving a trail of bootlegs in his wake.

Fresh off its sternum-rattling live debut at the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival, the nonet settled in for this seven-night subterranean run the week of September 11-17 (Tuesday through Sunday for those keeping track). Two tapes from these performances are in circulation: the first is a superb WCBN-FM radio broadcast from the evening of September 14, the other is a blown-out audience recording from an undated set later in the week. If you need just one tape from these shows, make it the radio broadcast – there are a few moments of brilliance in the audience tape, but it’s a pretty rough listen.

Continue reading “9.14 – 9.17.1972 Paul’s Mall”

9.10.1972 Ann Arbor

While dicey health kept Miles from the road throughout much of 1972, his studio activity during the spring and summer was a revelation, producing the still-futuristic On the Corner album, providing much of the meat for his Big Fun and Get Up with It LPs, and collected in part on the Complete On the Corner Sessions box.

Much like his 1970 sessions documented on the Complete Jack Johnson Sessions set, Miles’ 1972 studio ensemble featured a rotating cast of familiar faces (Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, Michael Henderson, Keith Jarrett, Mtume and others) and fresh blood (guitarist Reggie Lucas, Khalil Balakrishna on electric sitar, organist Cedric Lawson, drummer Al Foster, and tabla player Badal Roy). This time though, Miles took every member of his final 1972 studio session on the road – beginning the mercurial practice of smearing the line between his studio and live output.

Even with Henderson and Mtume the lone holdovers from his 1971 working group, the music Miles’ band produced when it returned to the road in September 1972 is astonishingly different from what poured from the stage just a year prior. The impetus has been dissected by the more qualified, and frankly, genre signposts serve no use – this music is the equivalent of magma erupting from a crack in the earth. Borne seemingly out of nowhere, it simply exists. The first fissure occurred on the final night of the 1972 Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz festival.

Continue reading “9.10.1972 Ann Arbor”