DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Miles Davis – That’s What Happened (1987/2009)

There are not many videos of the trumpeter later in his career (following a six-year hiatus), so this is valuable for fans.

Published on May 24, 2009

Miles Davis – That’s What Happened (1987/2009)

Miles Davis – That’s What Happened (1987/2009)

Live in Germany

Performers: Miles Davis, trumpet; Kenny Garrett, sax; Joseph “Foley” McCreary, guitar; Adam Holzman & Bobby Irving, keyboards; Darryl Jones, bass; Mino Cinelu, percussion; Ricky Wellman, drums
Program: Medley: One Phone Call/Street Scenes/That’s What Happened; New Blues, Human Nature; Tutu; Time After Time; Portia

Studio: Eagle Eye Media EE39180-9 [Release date: April 28, 09]
Video: 4:3 color
Audio: DTS 5.1, DD 5.1, DD 2.0
No Region Code
Extras: Interview (30 min.); “Miles and His Art” featurette
Length: 98 minutes
Rating: ****

This concert was filmed in Munich just after the release of Mile’s album “Tutu,” which won a Grammy Award, and features the title tune and Portia from that album plus arrangements of a couple of pop hits – Human Nature and Time After Time.  This event was not long after Miles’ six-year break from performing due to health reasons, and there are not many videos of the trumpeter later in his career, so it is valuable for fans.

Pianist Holzman reports that Miles was listening to a lot of Go Go music at the time, and was searching for new ways its sounds could suit his phrasing on the trumpet.  He also was off his usual meandering creative explorations and insisting more on a hard-rocking  attack a la James Brown.  When things would begin to slow down Miles would signal a musical change by hitting a note cluster on one of the unoccupied keyboard synths, which would set off a new rhythmic structure.  His sartorial  appearance was imposing – with showy red and black vestments. His back – a la quintessential MIles – is usually toward the audience.

The band seems to be feeling their way in the opening three-tune medley, but things get into gear with New BluesTutu is a highlight of the gig.  The 4:3 video could have benefited from better lighting and focus, but is serviceable.  The DTS surround sonics are terrific, however. The bonus half-hour interview with Miles is fairly straightforward and quite informative.

 – John Henry

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