Bassist-arranger Marcus Miller was Davis's last great collaborator, and he composed the sophisticated funk numbers "Amandla," "Tutu" (named for South Africa's Bishop Desmond Tutu), and the elegy "Mr. Pastorius" (penned in honor of the great bassist Jaco Pastorius). Throughout the concert, the bespectacled Davis prances across the stage with the grace and energy of a dancer and a boxer, huddling with his sidemen to play and share a phrase. Interview snippets with Davis feature the trumpeter waxing philosophic on race and music making. All told, Miles in Paris shows that the man called "Prince of Darkness" was full of artistic light near the end of his creative life. --Eugene Holley Jr.
The set list is:
'Human Nature', 'Jilli', 'Hannibal', 'Don't Stop Me Now', 'Amandla', 'Tutu', 'Wrinkle', 'New Blues' and finishing with a very short 'Mr Pastorius'.
The DVD tracklisting, however is divided into 23 chapters! This is due to the annoying interviews which often intrude into the would-be concert experience. Yes, Miles Davis interviews are rare & interesting but PLEASE whack the interviews on the END of the disc with the special features (of which this disc has none), this is DVD guys! Two songs are actually interrupted by interviews, 'Hannibal' is split in two and 'Tutu' is split in three (when i say interrupted, i mean that the song is turned down and the main sound and vision is Davis being interviewed, similar to a director's commentary that you can't turn off!). Let us enjoy the concert as it would have been, not be annoyed by production oversights from the 1980's VHS that this was shot for!
With all that said you may be wondering about the concert itself, it is actually of the typically high standard set by the Davis group of this period.
Miles Davis often steps back and allows his hand picked young musicians to shine in the spotlight, those of you who are suprised by this might like to know that this was a characteristic of his live performances for this WHOLE period, not just this concert or these 3 MD DVDs (Live in: Paris/Montreal/Munich).
The regulars; Benny Rietveld (bass), Foley (lead bass), Ricky Wellman (drums) and the amazing Kenny Garret (sax/flute) are solid, they are complemented by Kei Akagi (Keys) and newcomer John Bingham (electric percussion).
The Kenny Garret solo in 'human nature' is good but before the end of the song he pulls away from the mic as if he has taken it to the edge, but then is backing away. I have seen him do much better, in a 1988 concert on video, he blows that sax right over the edge playing right to the end of the song and peaking at just the right moment with an extremely moving perfomance. All i was able to decipher from the details of that concert was "Miles Davis, Muncher Klaiversommer '88, Philharmonie Gastieg" and if anyone can translate or show me where to get THAT on DVD it would be most appreciative (im thinking Germany..). That German concert features an amazing Benny Rietveld bass solo, the same "regulars" mentioned above plus an (acoustic) percussionist and a different keyboardist. Maybe they were fresher in 1988, with more to proove, because that performance just had that little bit extra from the group.
So, in closing, you can never go wrong with a decent Miles Davis recording, this one especially for fans of "Amandla" and "Tutu", but, i would recommend trying out "Miles Davis - Live in Munich (1988)" and "Miles Davis - Live at the Montreal Jazz Festival" (as well as traking down that German concert video!) before you purchase this DVD.
thanx for reading,