Miles Davis “The Cellar Door Recordings”

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis

December 8th, 2008

Originally recorded in 1970, this box set highlights some of Miles Davis best jazz harmonies. This was never commercially released at the time, yet listening to it today, as the band runs through three nights worth of material at the Cellar Door jazz club, this band — Miles’s sometimes wah-ed trumpet with Keith Jarrett on keyboards, Gary Bartz’s alto sax, Jack DeJohnette on drums, Airto Moriera on percussion, and Michael Henderson’s electric bass — stakes its claim as an important unit in popular music. On the famous, groundbreaking albums, Miles’s music sounds very much like an incantation or ritual, with a great mass of musicians — often multiple drummers, keyboards, basses or guitars — creating a swirling stew of rhythm. This is class jazz, and a must for anyone who loves melody and improvision.