This is an utterly fascinating DVD that highlights the electric period of Miles Davis' career from 1969-1973, and specifically centers on the landmark 1970 appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival, where for the first time Miles played in front of a purely rock audience of more than 600,000 people. The entire 38-minute set that Miles and his band played that day is including here, as is other live footage from the Bitches Brew and Jack Johnson era, as well as clips from shows from 1973, the era that brought about albums like On the Corner, Pangea, and Agharta. Jazz purists who appreciated the Quartet period just previous to Miles turning electric, will love the quick B&W television clip from 1964 showing the band playing "So What", featuring Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Wayne Shorter, and Ron Carter.
The Isle of Wight concert, while essentially fairly short, is still a perfect example of the type of churning, boiling sea of sound that the trumpet legend was creating at the time. The set is essentially a jam of sounds and themes from the Bitches Brew album, mixing a heavy funk rhythm with loads of avant-jazz solos and noises. Such jazz and fusion legends as keyboard players Chick Corea & Keith Jarrett, percussionist Airto Moreira, drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Dave Holland, and sax player Gary Barts, were on stage with Miles that afternoon, and they helped propel him to a new acceptance within the rock community on hand that day. It's hilarious to watch Jarrett's onstage persona, with his sunglasses and frizzy hair, shaking his head and spacing out to all the wild sounds the band was playing, as well as Holland, who looks a little in awe at playing in front of a crowd so large. Miles, as always, plays his heart out, blasting trumpet lines that are as dissonant as they are beautiful.
Now, as good as the live footage is, the interview segments are equally as enjoyable. Carlos Santana especially has a lot to say about his friend Davis, and speaks very warmly with a lot of love for his musical mentor. It's great to hear Santana speaking about the music of Miles and the spirituality of it, then pulling out his guitar and playing some Miles licks and melodies. The DVD also features interesting anecdotes from Hancock & Corea, who of course recreate some snippets of Davis songs on the Fender Rhodes, as well as interviews from all of the musicians who played with Miles at the Isle of Wight show, and a few others who were with him during the electric period.
This is an essential addition to any jazz-rock-fusion DVD collection.