1974 The Berlin Concert: Miles Davis & Keith Jarrett

Miles plays the funk...

Miles’ funk period. Click the image for more of his music.

Miles Davis & Keith Jarrett burn the funk down.

The Charles Lloyd Quartet with Jarrett, Ron McClure and DeJohnette came to an end in 1968, after the recording of Soundtrack, because of disputes over money as well as artistic differences. Jarrett was asked to join the Miles Davis group after the trumpeter heard him in a New York City club (according to another version Jarrett tells, Davis had brought his entire band to see a tour date of Jarrett’s own trio in Paris; the Davis band being practically the only audience, the attention made Jarrett feel embarrassed). During his tenure with Davis, Jarrett played both Fender Contempo electronic organ and Fender Rhodes electric piano, alternating with Chick Corea; they can be heard side by side on some 1970 recordings, for instance the August 1970 Isle of Wight Festival performance preserved in the film Miles Electric: A Different Kind of Blue and now on Bitches Brew Live. After Corea left in 1970, Jarrett often played electric piano and organ simultaneously. Despite his growing dislike of amplified music and electric instruments within jazz, Jarrett continued with the group out of respect for Davis and because of his desire to work with DeJohnette. Jarrett has often cited Davis as a vital influence, both musical and personal, on his own thinking about music and improvisation.

Jarrett performs on several Davis albums: Miles Davis at Fillmore: Live at the Fillmore East, The Cellar Door Sessions (recorded December 16–19, 1970, at the Cellar Door club in Washington, DC). His keyboard playing features prominently on Live-Evil (which is largely composed of heavily edited Cellar Door recordings). Jarrett also plays electric organ on Get Up With It. Some other tracks from this period were released much later.

Miles Davis brought a version of his Miles Davis Group that included Jarrett on keys, Gary Bartz on soprano and alto sax, Michael Henderson on bass, Leon Chancler on drums and percussionists Don Alias and James Mtume to Europe in late 1971 before disbanding the group. The septet played the Philharmonie in Berlin on November 6th for a show that was broadcast on German TV. Over the course of the hour-long program, Davis and his band run through a medley that contains bits of Directions, Honky Tonk, What I Say, Sanctuary,  It’s About That Time and Funky Tonk. This professionally-shot footage gives us an intimate look at these talented musicians in action…

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