Eagle Rock Keeps Rolling With Miles Davis Live At Montreux 1991

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment proved throughout 2012 why it is one of the leaders in live recordings.  There was not one bad recording from this company throughout the year.  Now with the start of a new year, Eagle Rock has picked right back up where it left off.  It started the year in big fashion with the release of Deep Purple Live in Paris 1975.  Now only a couple months later, Eagle Rock has released yet another top notch release in the form of Miles Davis Live at Montreux 1991.

Miles Davis’ performance at Montreux in 1991 was not the first visit that the legendary trumpet player had made to the equally legendary music festival.  It would though, be his last.  Only months after this performance, Davis sadly passed away.  Two years ago, Davis’ complete performances were culled for a complete box set also released by Eagle Rock Entertainment.  While two years may not seem like that much time, it actually is.  It is very easy for just such a box set to go out of print in that time.  As a result of that possibility, audiences now get to re-live one of the most iconic of Davis’ performances at Montreux on DVD and Blu-ray.  Considering that this concert has already been released as part of a larger box set, one is left to question what makes this single disc performance worth one’s time.  The answer is simple.  Over two decades have passed since this concert was originally recorded.  The footage recorded for that show has stood the test of time quite well.  Both the video and audio are outstanding.  And the set list chosen for the performance is just as impressive.  Together, all three make this a performance that any Miles Davis aficionado will enjoy.

This final performance by Miles Davis at the Montreux Jazz Festival featured not just Miles but also the Gil Evans Orchestra and another legend in his own right, Quincy Jones.  The control that the entire group has throughout each song really comes through so expertly thanks to the audio mixing done to give new birth to this performance.  And even at twenty-plus years old, the footage looks extraordinary, as if it hadn’t aged a day.  That is a tribute to those who worked so painstakingly to transfer the video from VHS to DVD and now Blu-ray.  While it may not have been entirely intended, one of the most interesting moments in this performance, speaking of footage, comes as Davis and company perform ‘Blues for Pablo.’  The way that the light trails off of Davis’ trumpet as he plays makes for such an incredible experience.  It makes the trumpet look almost as if it’s smoking.  And as slow as this song is, it simply makes for an incredible added element to the song.  Given, the way the light reflects and moves with Davis and his instrument was not an intended effect.  That was just the effect of the video recording equipment at the time.  But the mood of the song makes it such a fitting effect.  It adds a whole extra level to the song that can’t really be put into words.  Of course, it is just one of so many great numbers in this set.  Audiences that know Davis’ body of work will also enjoy the equally smooth ‘Summertime.’

‘Summertime’ is more up-tempo in this performance.  But it still doesn’t lose its originally bluesy feel.  Again this exemplifies the talent and professionalism of Davis, Jones, and the Gil Evans Orchestra.  It still stands out as another of the performance’s best numbers.  And it’s but one of so many that audiences will enjoy.

As if the numbers in this set list aren’t enough for viewers, audiences are also treated to an extra bonus as the now late founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival, Claude Nobs, and others get their chance to share their memories of Miles and his influence on themselves and the music world as a whole.  Audiences will laugh at Nobs’ story of how he and Davis first met and what some of Davis’ first words to Nobs were.  Also sharing in the memories are Stanley Clarke, Jean Luc Ponty, and Al Di Meola.  For those who might not know, this trio of gentlemen played a big role through the years in bringing Miles Davis’ works to the masses, re-mastering them for the numerous albums that have been re-issued to CD.  Their stories are, much like those of Nobs, both entertaining and very deep in so many ways.  And they, like the other individuals interviewed for this feature, offer so much incredible insight into who Miles Davis was, and his importance to the world of music as a whole.   They are truly a bonus and a worthwhile one to what is just one more piece to this history of one of the music industry’s most important figures.  They work with the main performance feature to make this release one that any Miles Davis aficionado will want to add to their own home library.  Miles Davis Live at Montreux 1991 is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via the Eagle Rock Entertainment website at http://www.eagle-rock.com.

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Deep Purple Live Is 2013’s First Great Live Recording

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/earMusic

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/earMusic

Eagle Rock Entertainment has picked up 2013 where it left off 2013.  It starts off the New Year as the continuing leader in live recordings.  The label has started off the year with another live release from the one and only Deep Purple.  Audiences will remember that the label released Deep Purple’s 1999 concert from Australia last year.  This time, audiences are taken even farther back in time with a recording of the band’s 1975 performance in Paris.

Everybody knows that Paris is known as the “City of Love.”  But when Deep Purple came through in 1975, it became the “City of Rock and Roll.”  This landmark concert recorded April 17th, 1975 at the Palais de Sports in Paris would be the last time that the band’s guitarist Ritchie Blackmore would perform live with the band before leaving to form Rainbow.  The entire show starts off with a blazing performance of the band’s classic ‘Burn.’  Singer David Blackmore’s vocals were above par here and throughout the entire set.  And the rest of the band barely lets up either as the band launches into the set’s second song, ‘Stormbringer.’  This hard rocker is one more example of everything that was once great with rock and roll.  And now that Eagle Rock Entertainment and earMusic have unearthed it and the other songs that comprise this classic concert, a whole new generation of audiences can learn what true great rock and roll is all about especially in live form.

The enjoyment doesn’t end with ‘Stormbringer.’  The guitar solos and the impromptu jam session of ‘The Gypsy’ is another great moment from this classic live recording.  It’s one more example of everything that was once right with rock and roll.  The jam session that the band breaks into here is one of those moments in which audiences can simply close their eyes and really experience the song as if they are really there.  The band continues to impress after the incredible experience of ‘The Gypsy’ with the harder edged style of ‘Lady Double Dealer.’  Again [Ritchie] Blackmore shines here.  One can only wonder in listening to this song (and the recording’s other pieces) what it would have sounded like had Blackmore ever teamed up with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.  Blackmore shows here and throughout the recording that he’s as good as Page if not better.  One can’t deny drummer Ian Paice’s expert timekeeping throughout this song and the rest of the record, either.  Considering that, one can’t help but wonder what a side by side bill with both Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin at that time would have been like.  It never hurts to dream, right?

So much more could be said of this landmark performance.  But that would take too much time and too much space.  It goes without saying that this entire concert experience will take DP’s more experienced audiences back to a better time.  And for those who might be new to the music of Deep Purple, this makes for an equally impressive first impression.  It serves as an excellent intro to the band’s history and everything that made (and makes) it great.  The music makes for a great live experience from beginning to end.  But the music would have been nothing without the concert’s expert audio mix.  In considering that this concert recording is nearly four decades old, the fact that recording equipment in 1975 could so expertly capture the recording is amazing in itself.  That the recording has stood the test of time for so many decades and re-mastered to sound just like a listener was there today makes this recording that much more impressive.  To make the recording even more impressive, Eagle Rock and earMusic have also included an interview David Coverdale, Ian Paice and Glenn Hughes with this new release.  The twenty-minute plus interview has the band members discussing how the band originally met and formed, the genesis of its songs and much more.  This is an original interview with the band members from.  It is not something new.  Bonus feature or not, it makes the record that much more worth the money.   This along with the equally impressive set list and audio mix makes this new live release the first great live release of 2013.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online at http://www.eagle-rock.com

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