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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