The Cellar Door Sessions 1970

“If it doesn’t knock your socks off, you’re not wearing any.” Thus keyboardist Keith Jarrett sums up this nearly six-hour set of historic live recordings. And I couldn’t agree more. Miles Davis was just beginning to use 19-year-old electric bassist Michael Henderson for his live performances when these recordings were made, and Henderson obviously brings out the fire in Davis’ playing. Davis was also experimenting with running his trumpet through a wah-wah pedal, adding electronic texture to his already innovative playing. And Jarrett’s electric keyboard work is fantastic as he laces the arrangements with scintillating clusters of notes and darting melodies that race across the top of drummer Jack DeJohnette’s ever-shifting rythms. AddingJohn McLaughlin on electric guitar for the last night of recording only increased the level of genius at work. This is not easy-listening music; it is the sound of master musicians challenging themselves and their audience to explore uncharted territory. The six discs are beautifully packaged with extensive liner notes by the participating musicians.