JJ 01/94: Miles Davis – In Montreux / Miles Davis & Quincy Jones – Live At Montreux

Thirty years ago, Mark Gilbert saw the trumpeter still edging forward with Holzmann et al while dropping back with Quincy. First published in Jazz Journal January 1994


In Montreux is a cleanly repro­duced Europe 1 radio broadcast featuring Miles deep into his Marcus Miller bag but still run­ning through old favourites like Perfect Way and Human Nature. The band, as ever in the post-1980 period, shows again how musicianship had improved among soul and rock oriented musicians since Miles’s early sev­enties efforts in a similar genre – witness bassist Benny Rietveldt’s unerring parroting of Miles’s phrases on Perfect Way.

The great soloists had gone, but Kei Akagi (perhaps Adam Holzman) is good on Tutu and Rick Margitza, who made a very ordi­nary showing on Blue Note, is here a revelation. In a lengthy solo, he turns the silly pop of Human Nature into something else, building a sly Breckerian tension which obliterates the aftertaste of a grim duet between Miles and singer Chaka Khan.

Two years later, Miles took an unprecedented step back into his past. Although Wallace Roney is at his side to pick up the pieces, Miles performs better than might be expected, given his frail play­ing in the late fusion bands, and shows that he could still fall in with the moderated bop syntax of the Gil Evans style. However, most solos are taken by Kenny Garrett, sounding Cannonball-like in this context, and Wallace Roney, as much Clifford Brown as Miles.

Despite Miles’s shortcom­ings, this was a momentous event, both for bringing Miles full circle only months before his death and for recreating some great music, seeming all the greater thanks to the skill and empathy of the Gruntz and Evans orchestras and the bright digital sound.

[In Montreux] Intruder; Perfect Way; Hannibal; Human Nature; Mr Pastorius; Tutu; Jilli; Jojo; Amandla; The Senate/Me And You (79.09)
Davis (t, kyb); Rick Margitza (ts); Kei Akagi, Adam Holzman (kyb); Joe ‘Foley’ McCreary (elg); Benny Rietveld (elb); Ricky Wellman (d); Munyungo Jackson (pc). Montreux Jazz Festival, July 21, 1989.
(Jazz Door JD 1235)
[Miles Davis & Quincy Jones – Live At Montreux] Introduction by Claude Nobs and Quincy Jones; Boplicity; Intro­duction To Miles Ahead Medley; Springsville / Maids Of Cadiz / The Duke/My Ship / Miles Ahead / Blues For Pablo; Introduction To Porgy And Bess Medley; Orgone / Gone, Gone, Gone / Summertime / Here Come De Honey Man; The Pan Piper; Solea (56.45)
Davis (t) and Jones (cond) with:
The Gil Evans Orchestra: Lew Soloff, Miles Evans (t); Tom Malone (t); Alex Foster (as/ss/f); George Adams (ts/f); Gil Goldstein, Deimar Brown (kyb); Kenwood Dennard (d, pc).
The George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band: Wallace Roney, Marvin Stamm, John D’earth, Jack Walrath (t/flh); John Clark, Tom Varner (frh); Dave Bargeron, Earl McIntyre (eu/tb); Dave Taylor (btb); Howard Johnson (tu/bar); Sal Giorgianni (as); Bob Malach (ts/f/cl); Larry Schneider (ts/o/f/cl); Jerry Bergonzi (ts); George Gruntz (p/ldr); Mike Richmond (b); John Riley (d/pc). Additional musicians with the George Gruntz band; Manfred Schoof, Ack van Royen (t/flh); Alex Brofsky, Claudio Pontiggia (frh); Roland Dahinden, Conrad Herwig (tb); Anne O’Brien (f); Julian Cawdry, Hanspeter Frehner (f/pic/af); Michel Weber (cl); Christian Gavillet, Roger Rosenberg (bcl/bar); Tilman Zahn, Dave Seghezzo, Xavier Duss, Judith Wenziker (o); Christian Rabe, Reiner Erb (bsn); Xenia Schindler (hp).
Additional participating musicians: Benny Bailey (t/flh); Carles Benavent (b/elb on The Pan Piper and Solea); Grady Tate (d). Montreux Jazz Festival, July 8, 1991.
(Warner Bros 9362-45221-2)