DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Miles Davis with Quincy Jones, Live at Montreux 1991, Blu-ray (1991/2013)

As much a tribute to Miles as to the work of the late Gil Evans.

Published on March 5, 2013

Miles Davis with Quincy Jones, Live at Montreux 1991, Blu-ray (1991/2013)

Miles Davis with Quincy Jones, Live at Montreux 1991, Blu-ray (1991/2013) 

The Gil Evans Scores: Boplicity; Maids of Cadiz; The Duke, My Ship; Miles Ahead; Blues for Pablo; Orgone; Gone, Gone, Gone; Summertime; Here Come De Money Man; The Pan Piper, Solea 
Performers: The Gil Evans Orchestra and the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band/ Quincy Jones
Studio: Eagle Eye Media Blu-ray EE8334419 [2/28/13]
Video: 16:9 HD color 1080i
Audio: DTS-HD MA 5.1, PCM stereo
Subtitles: English
Extras: Interviews with Claude Nobs, Monty Alexander, Helen Merrill, Betty carter, Charlie Haden, Gil Goldstein, Stanley Clarke, Jean Luc Ponty, Al Di Meola & Michel Petrucciani
Length: 133 minutes
Rating: *****

Recorded in high definition just a few months before his death, this stellar and historical event probably only came about due to the close connection Miles and Gil Evans had for so many years and the unique albums they produced together. Miles was always about working on the cutting edge and never looking back, so it took some convincing by both Montreux’s Claude Nobs and Quincy Jones to get Miles to agree to play these re-arrangements of some of the Miles/Gil Evans hits of 30 years earlier.

The giant of 20th century jazz puts in a great performance, and at his side are Kenny Garrett on sax and Wallace Rooney, also on trumpet. Rooney’s expression constantly shows how impressed he is to be sharing the spotlight with Miles. Also in the band are Grady Tate and Benny Bailey. Quincy Jones conceived the idea of using two orchestras to provide the best background for Miles’ solo work. They are sometimes a bit laid back and hesitant-sounding compared to the smaller aggregations on the original Columbia LPs, but this is still a musical triumph any way you look at it. Quincy arranged selections from the Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess, and Sketches of Spain albums. When there were no breaks between selections, as on Miles Ahead, Quincy’s arrangements retained that form. I was a bit surprised that the ensemble only did two short selections from Sketches of Spain, but they are great to hear again.

There are of course many closeups of Miles and his trumpet. The hi-def video lighting and general quality is excellent; it looks like it was just shot yesterday. The variety of interviews in the extras is fascinating. Nobs’ details about Montreux and his long friendship with Miles are most interesting. There are plenty of unusual Miles stories from each of the participants. At the end, diminuitive pianist Michel Petrucciani has been speaking in French but he switches to English for the final Miles story because he says it is so much funnier that way.

—John Henry




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