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Miles Davis & John Coltrane – The Final Tour The Bootleg Series Vol. 6

March 25, 2018

It never ceases to amaze me the way Columbia, Miles’ & Trane estates continue to pull masterpieces out of their asses. I threw The Final Tour (AKA Boot-V6) on the other day while I was working and had to turn it off – it was too distracting – because it is that good!

All music-heads appreciate that Miles and Trane are musical GOATs. And I mean all-time/all genre greats, not just jazz, American or 20th Century. They are the best of what the human mind and heart are capable of: Art.

Just because you appreciate an artist does not mean you are an obsessive fan. I am close to the obsessive end of the spectrum with Miles and Trane. I have spent as much money on Miles and Trane as Dylan. I have been a bit overwhelmed by The Bootleg Series. A few of those releases have not resonated with me. Plus I have been distracted by other music.  I figured the playing on Boot-V6 would be awesome, but the audio subpar. I have listened and can report the playing and audio are A+.

Coltrane’s greatness credentials are impeccable. Miles’ are a bit stained. A drug fueled exodus from the world followed by a decision to go pop in the 80s – as if going rock was not bad enough in the 70s – will hurt your rep. Miles is greater than Trane. Defending that statement is a topic for another post.

Anytime these two titans play together it is a big deal. I am a huge fan of Kind Of Blue (who isn’t). Boot-V6 is a document of a spring 1960 European tour post the success of Kind Of Blue (summer of 1959) and just as Trane was launching into the stratosphere (Giant Steps had been released two months prior to this tour). The band is tight, comfortable with the repertoire (but not bored with) and the soloing is inspired.

If your exposure to Miles is Kind Of Blue, Bitches Brew and pop Miles – no shame in that – I lived there for twenty years – you might be under the impression that Miles can’t shred. When he played live he could shred – even in the 80s. On Boot-V6 Miles shreds and of course Trane shreds. Heck, the rhythm section shreds (Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums). This a legendary band on a very good run. Per Miles’ website:

The Final Tour is essential listening, an invitation to travel through time to experience the enduring beauty and magic of Miles and Trane at the peak of their collective powers.

I am a bit of an audiophile and the audio on this recording is top-notch. Which has me pretty gooey about this album. I am listening to it via the Tidal stream through my Oppo BDP-105D delivered by my Grado SR80 cans (I realize this is budget audio, but it is still audiophile quality). It sounds spectacular and once I get over that, I will be able to really listen to the music. I am in no rush to get past the brilliance of the recording quality. It is a nice hot tub to soak in.

Per Miles’ website:

The repertoire performed in this collection is a veritable Miles Davis “Greatest Hits” including “ ‘Round Midnight”, “Bye Bye Blackbird”, “On Green Dolphin Street”, “Walkin’ “, “All Of You” and “Oleo”, all of which he had made his own and had been performing for some time. As well as more recent additions to the repertoire which were composed by Davis – “So What” and “All Blues” — both from Kind Of Blue.

If you play Kind Of Blue to mellow out and ever wondered what the intensity would be like if you turned it up several notches – you have Boot-V6.

These guys cut loose in ways that we’re unimaginable on the studio recordings. The musical conversation is fascinating. Each solo is a revelation. And I have to admit, as much as I love Miles, Trane steals the show. His solos anticipate the histrionics that would come out of his horn over the next several years. Wynton Kelly’s piano solos are joyful. When Kelly is in rhythm section mode, he sets a firm foundation for Miles and Trane to blast away. Paul Chambers bass playing is so smooth it almost sounds bowed at points. Jimmy Cobb’s drumming is the most subtle of the five. I appreciate a great drummer who is comfortable as an accompanist and does not have a need to show off. The simpatico between the five is profound. The Final Tour is highly recommended if you are even a minor jazz fan.  This is an important release and will be on my best of 2018 for sure.

Release versions: The full release is available on streaming services, downloaded services and CD. There is a single LP of the Copenhagen show available in stores. There is a double LP of the Paris show, but that is an exclusive Vinyl Me Please release.

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From → Music Reviews

3 Comments
  1. You make this sound very tempting.

  2. Lots about your take I like. The “cut loose” was one of them. Out of all the music i listen to both are near the time with amount of time I put in. I love taking John on walks.

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