Miles Davis Quintet – Freedom Jazz Dance – The Bootleg Series Vol.5

freedom-jazz-dance(Columbia Legacy/Sony)

Official bootleg releases usually feature out-takes, live and studio sessions not previously released. This fifth set in the Miles Davis Bootleg Series is a bit different. It features every sound recorded by Teo Macero that went to make the 1966 Miles Smiles album plus some bits of sessions in the following two years.

Yep, it’s the classic second quintet of Miles, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams, arguably (though there are probably few who dare to dispute the claim) the greatest jazz combo in modern jazz.

Macero apparently had learned from experience to set the tape running fairly early on in the process, so even while Miles was explaining to Ron how he wanted a bass intro to sound, or the band were joking, or Miles was upbraiding Macero for giggling in the sound booth, it’s all here in intimate recorded sound.

There are three discs and they contain each of the “session reel” recordings  – Freedom Jazz Dance, Circle, Dolores, Orbits, Footprints, Gingerbread Boy, Nefertiti, Fall, Water Babies – followed by the official take of that tune. There are other sundry bits and pieces.

This means that with the title-track, Eddie Harris’s Freedom Jazz Dance, there are 30 minutes over two tracks, 23 of them discussions, false starts, longer sections which then breakdown, more instructions, etc. It’s an album for the real nerds, I guess, though I am sure there are quite a lot of them around the world, not just musicians and music students but engaged listeners who want as much insight as possible into the tracks they already know and love.

Nicely packaged in a fold-out, with comprehensive notes. But don’t buy this expecting to be able to play it in the background over dinner: it’s far too bitty, too much of a document detailing a process rather than a finished artefact, even though parts of previously released artefacts are there along the way.

Categories: CD review

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3 replies

  1. Process vs outcome then. Better to travel or arrive?

  2. As a Miles fan I found the ‘bitty’ quality of this infuriating. Process or not I’d rather it had stayed on the cutting room floor. I don’t feel that I need to see the palette & every brush stroke to appreciate a great painting. I couldn’t imagine playing this album more than once out of curiosity.

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