Live at the Fillmore East, March 7, 1970: It’s About That Time cover

Live at the Fillmore East, March 7, 1970: It’s About That Time

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Released

Imagine coming to a concert to see The Steve Miller Band or Neil Young with Crazy Horse, only to be met with an opening set from a revamped Miles Davis Quintet — Wayne Shorter on sax, Chick Corea playing keys, Jack DeJohnette behind the kit, and Dave Holland manning the bass (electric and acoustic), plus Airto Moreira adding percussion (so it’s a sextet, then). And what on earth are they playing? Bitches Brew had been recorded the previous summer and was just a couple weeks away from hitting stores, but it hit the Fillmore East like an ambush, Miles making better than good on his December ’69 promise to Rolling Stone that “I could put together the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band you ever heard.” This 2001 release captures both sets unedited as they happened: the first rides on frantic, high-energy explosiveness that splits the difference between on-the-one funk and free-jazz limitlessness; the sheer force of “Directions” and “Spanish Key” makes it feel like the music is actually getting into a fistfight with your internal sense of harmony. The second set doesn’t let up, either — it just gels a little better, as the interplay between Miles, Corea, and Shorter’s melodic wildness starts communicating more fluidly and they explore some of Bitches Brew‘s most transcendent passages. Behold: the sound of several thousand minds being blown at once.

Nate Patrin

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