Miles Davis and His ‘Second Great Quintet,’ Filmed Live in Europe, 1967

In the mid 1960s Miles Davis responded to the form-breaking influence of free jazz by surrounding himself with a group of brilliant young musicians and encouraging them to push him in new directions.

The group was Davis’s last with all acoustic instruments, and came to be known as his “second great quintet.” It featured Davis on trumpet, Wayne Shorter on saxophone, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass and Tony Williams on drums. Between 1964 and 1968 the quintet recorded a string of innovative albums, including E.S.P., Sorcerer and the transitional Miles in the Sky, in which Hancock introduces the electric Fender Rhodes piano.

For Guardian jazz critic John Fordham, the second great quintet was Davis’s best group ever. “Their solos were fresh and original, and their individual styles fused with a spontaneous fluency that was simply astonishing,” writes Fordham in a 2010 article. “The quintet’s method came to be dubbed ‘time, no changes’ because of their emphasis on strong rhythmic grooves without the dictatorial patterns of song-form chords. At times they veered close to free-improvisation, but the pieces were as thrilling and hypnotically sensuous as anything the band’s open-minded leader had recorded before.”

You can hear for yourself in these two concerts, shown back-to-back, recorded for television during the quintet’s 1967 tour of Europe. The first concert was recorded on October 31, 1967 at the Konserthuset in Stockholm, Sweden. Here’s the set list:

  1. Agitation (Miles Davis)
  2. Footprints (Wayne Shorter)
  3. ‘Round Midnight (Thelonius Monk)
  4. Gingerbread Boy (Jimmy Heath)
  5. Theme (Miles Davis)

The next concert was recorded one week later, on November 7, 1967, at the Stadhalle in Karlsruhe, Germany:

  1. Agitation (Miles Davis)
  2. Footprints (Wayne Shorter)
  3. I Fall in Love Too Easily (Sammy Cahn/Jule Styne)
  4. Walkin’ (Richard Carpenter)
  5. Gingerbread Boy (Jimmy Heath)
  6. Theme (Miles Davis)

Related content:

The Miles Davis Story, the Definitive Film Biography of a Jazz Legend

‘The Sound of Miles Davis’: Classic 1959 Performance with John Coltrane

Mashup Duet: Miles Davis Improvising on LCD Soundsystem

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