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Black Beauty
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Miles Davis (trumpet); Steve Grossman (soprano saxophone); Chick Corea (electric piano); Dave Holland (electric bass); Jack DeJohnette (drums); Airto Moreira (percussion).
  • Recorded live at the Fillmore West, San Francisco, California on April 10, 1970. Includes liner notes by Chick Corea.
  • BLACK BEAUTY is the initial live document of Miles Davis' electric music built out of blues, free jazz, and post-modern musical thought. The mood is one of controlled chaos, with each soloist in top form, and group interplay at a near-ESP level. The tracks morph naturally into one another; with well-placed phrases from Miles cueing the players' transitions.
  • The mercurial groove of "Directions," with Steve Grossman's wailing soprano, disintegrates into Stockhausenesque electronic static waves before unloading into the thick blues throttle of "Miles Runs The Voodoo Down." A trumpet solo on "I Fall in Love Too Easily" briefly slows the pace, but the rest is all forward motion. Dave Holland's rumbling bass and Jack DeJohnette's rolling backbeat power the group, while Airto Moreira furnishes exotic percussive colors. By the time Miles begins blasting trumpet runs at Chick Corea's electric piano on "Spanish Key," the worlds of jazz and improvisational rock have been united, undoubtedly leaving the audience feeling that they'd been struck by musical lightning.
Professional Reviews
Spin (8/97, p.117) - "...features fine handoffs between Steve Grossman's squonking sax, Chick Corea's nastily distorted keyboards and Miles' milky, yearning, sometimes angry trumpet..."

Entertainment Weekly (8/01/97, p.75) - "...With his inimitable trumpeting--by turns melancholy, pungent, and lyrical--at the music's center, his electrified cohorts stretch the limits of jazz, rock, and funk..."

- Rating: A-

Down Beat (7/97, p.65) - 3 1/2 stars (out of 5) - "A gritty recording.... Steve Grossman's soprano is featured throughout, and the fascinating rhythm section of Jack DeJohnette on drums and Dave Holland...keeps the grooves honest and open..."

JazzTimes (10/97, p.87) - "...a volatile state of molten flux, expanding, shredding and spinning off...in an acrobatic display of without-a-net aplomb..."

Musician (8/97, p.87) - "...The ears-open interactivity of Davis' ensembles--that ability to engage in serious musical conversation while flying in the upper atmosphere--is enough to shame any current bebop-babbling jazz automaton..."
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