Miles in Paris

Miles Davis and his electric — if rarely electrifying — septet were captured in action at the 1989 Paris Jazz Festival. Miles in Paris is in five selections, stitched together by brief and unrevealing snippets from an interview, he wanders the stage, trumpet pointed at the floor, and sustains a generally pleasant lilt. This isn’t the Miles of legend, the brilliant improviser celebrated for his urgent lyricism and fiery arpeggios.

The material is uneven at best: Michael Jackson’s ”Human Nature” may be the most intractably trite song ever recorded by the man who once made a jazz classic of ”The Surrey With the Fringe on Top.” And yet, Davis gets plenty of, well, mileage from his unmistakably personal tone, and when he establishes a groove, as on ”New Blues,” trading licks with saxophonist Kenny Garrett, he sounds rejuvenated, briefly. And the visuals are strictly workmanlike: You lose nothing by listening and looking elsewhere. At the minimum, this video isn’t all that bad an audio album. C

Miles in Paris
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