A Jam-packed collection of video from Seymour Vision that documents some early-to-mid '80's Japanese performances by the Jazz icon and a couple of different ensembles.
Live Under The Sky is the first of 2 featured videos. The Mid-Summer show takes place in the middle of the afternoon so it's all daytime footage which REALLY accents the whole '80's presentation and sound of the time. This isn't necessarily a good thing. Miles is certainly in his own world, which was always the case but here wearing those BIG sunglasses, it seems like he's mentally a million miles away from the stage. He looks like he is conducting an experiment half the time, alternating between his classic trumpet-playing, and fiddling with some rack of electronic equipment that gets wheeled out for a couple of tunes.
This '85 show/performance is a little bizzare to watch, you wait for something dramatic to happen and it never really does. The band seems to be holding on every note, step and movement - also waiting and it all comes off just a little bit toooooo free-form. The band for this feature consists of: Darryl Jones on Bass, John Scofield on Guitar, Steve Thornton on Latin Percussion, Robert Irving III on Keyboards, Vincent Wilbur Jr. on Drums and Bob Berg on Sax. You have to be pretty damn good to play with Miles and we'll give them their credit but it this line-up just didn't seem to work all that well. At least in this performance. Some highlights are "Maze" (where they start to actually rock a bit!) and a superb "Miss Morrisine". Excellent stereo audio enhances a pretty clear, low-gen video. It's just the detached presence, the daylight, and the 80's dayglo garb that just detracts from this being a fully enjoyable experience. Things change as we head to the next segment though.
Miles Davis Live In Tokyo is a 58 minute Japanese Television production and performance from 1981 that is nearly the exact opposite of our first feature. It is smoky sweet Jazz played into the night air and the band for this period has a little more fire behind them. The guitarist Mike Stern is a Rock Guitarist, and this plays off well to Miles' very cool and charismatic presence, because this guy is also very rock and roll! The balance of this line-up is made up of Bill Evans on Keyboards, Marcus Miller on Bass, Al Foster on Drums and Mino Cinelu on Percussion. This was probably the last of his real classic personna, after '83 or so Miles Davis just got to be that enigmatic, strange celebrity. This video is a very edited performance to this particular show, 3 songs and an encore - all of this is pretty damn good. Again, great stereo broadcast audio with very strong, low-gen video that is very redeeming.
This DVD set comes with a bonus DVD-R in the first 200 copies and let's just say it is a bonus, but nothing to get real excited about. It would be if the tapes were of master or low generation in quality but they are far from that and very, very hard to enjoy after the other material. That being said, the audio is still quite strong so one could argue that it's worth "playing" as a pretty cool background. I don't have any information on the actual show or performance but it is definitely a 70's period presentation and it runs around 29 minutes for Part I, another 9 minutes or so for the encore in Part II.
It's Miles and it's presented by Seymour Vision in very strong quality, making it highly desirable to those Jazz collectors among us. Good value given by the label too with some lengthy video nuggets all wrapped up in one clamshell. The packaging here is of commercial quality and does provide some decent information for a change - except for the bonus disc!