RECORDS / New release: Miles Davis and Quincy Jones: Live at Montreux (Warner, CD / tape)

Davis had only a few weeks to live when he played the old Gil Evans arrangements in front of a 50-piece orchestra conducted by Quincy Jones at the 1991 Montreux Jazz Festival. His frailty made it obvious that the occasion was in the nature of a farewell to triumphs that he had not revisited in 30 years. The performance needed only to be adequate for the emotions to flow. For which, many thanks to Jones, and to Gil Goldstein, who transcribed Evans's work from the original recordings. On disc, though, the perception is different. When we can listen to the pristine, indelible originals, why spend time with smudged copies? The mix over-emphasises the double bass of the (blameless) Mike Richmond, and fails to repair the climactic 'Solea', on which Carlos Benavent's performance of the pivotal bass riff was undermined by a sharp G-string. So, uniqueness notwithstanding, it's hard to recommend the CD; the video, due shortly, may be another matter.