Black Beauty: Live at the Fillmore West - 1970
Considering the flood of Miles Davis live LPs hitting the market in the early 70s, it's easy to understand why Black Beauty has remained somewhat under the radar. Shortly after the release of Bitches Brew, Miles stripped his live band down to electric bass (Dave Holland), drums (Jack DeJohnette), soprano sax (Steve Grossman), Fender Rhodes (Chick Corea) and percussion (Airto Moreira) and began making music with an intense focus on grooves and textures, while melody basically went out the window. Miles' horn playing is brutally intense, but his tone still retained the warmth and richness of the Bitches Brew sessions -- not yet replaced by the shrill, electric-guitar like tone he would soon adopt on records like Live Evil and On the Corner. But what really stands out on this live album is Corea's incredible Rhodes work, gone completely over the top with wah, ring modulators and tape echo effects, and in several places managing to sound like two pianists at once. One of the wildest albums in the Miles Davis canon and a personal favorite.