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Last Call Review: Miles Davis – That’s What Happened 1982-1985: The Bootleg Series Vol. 7

Many fans of the late jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer and innovator Miles Davis do not cite the trumpeter's final Columbia recordings as a source of energetic or compelling artistry. The latest box set, "Miles Davis – That’s What Happened 1982-1985: The Bootleg Series Vol. 7", released in the fall of 2022, might change their perspective.

With three CDs in this box set, the first two feature previously unreleased studio material from the Star People, Decoy and You’re Under Arrest sessions. "Santana" is an energetic opener on the first disc features Miles on trumpet. The nice, groovy walk tempo of "Celestial Blues" is also a delight.

"Theme from Jack Johnson(Right Off)/Intro" captures the listeners attention on disc two along with different takes of "Time after Time", a Cyndi Lauper tune, which Miles and his band performed often in the 1980s.

The final disc, arguably the finest of the whole set, is a recording of a Miles Davis concert at the Theatre St. Denis in Montreal, Canada on July 7, 1983. Davis, back in total command of his trumpet, leads John Scofield on guitar, Bill Evans on saxophones, flute and electric piano, Darryl Jones on bass, Al Foster on drums and percussionist Mino Cinélu. An outstanding, energetic performance, the show kicks off with a fiery shout on "Speak(That's What Happened)" . Other highlights include "Star People", "What It Is", "Star on Cicely" and more.

Additionally, the box set features interviews with Vince Wilburn, Jr. (drummer and bandmate), John Scofield (electric guitarist), Darryl Jones (bassist), Marcus Miller (bassist) and Mike Stern (guitarist), who recorded and performed with Miles Davis in the 1980s. As a fan of Miles Davis for decades, I was pleasantly surprised to discover hidden gems in this box set and enjoy the dynamic live recording as well. Recommended listening.

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Chris Cooke has been a voice on public radio in Omaha since 1989. Working at KVNO-FM during college, Cooke hosted a weekend progressive jazz show on the station in addition to working as an on-air announcer. In November 1992, Cooke signed on at KIOS-FM and has been there ever since. He has hosted the Tuesday and Thursday editions of Jazz in the Afternoon since 1996 and has hosted Last Call since that year. A long time fan of jazz music, Cooke enjoys talking with the musicians who make jazz music and presenting those conversations with listeners. When not hosting or listening to jazz, on record or in person, Cooke maintains a busy schedule as a self-employed web design consultant.