Playing in front of banks of synth and percussion, Davis owns numbers like “Speak: That’s What Happened,” “Pacific Express,” “Heavy Metal Prelude,” and “Jo Jo.”
To wrap, Live at Montreux Highlights brings in a pair of pieces from the iconic Sketches of Spain. The performances, from 1991, come touched with memories of Gil Evans’ death in 1988 and an almost reluctant Miles Davis. The two pieces, “The Pan Piper” and “Solea,” are packed in front of a large ensemble with Quincy Jones serving as conductor.
Davis, in spectacles and sometimes straining to deliver, is zeroed in on by a close camera. From the wrinkles on his hands to the sweat all over his face, this is something remarkable. Giving a light touch to fellow trumpeter Wallace Roney, Davis is off. And he would die just three months later in September of 1991.
Moments like these are captured continually, most of the time without our awareness, and we have no idea of knowing how special something is until time passes. In the case of Live at Montreux, these glimpses and songs are truly exceptional. Time, whether it catches us peering over our glasses or modestly trying to return to form, never waits around.
There is a definitive boxed set of DVDs from the Montreux shows coming out later this year from Eagle Rock, but this highlight package will surely appease Davis fans until then. Also, there is a bonus feature on this disc worth checking out — an interview with Carlos Santana about the magic and mystery that is Miles Davis.