One of Miles Davis’ final live performances is coming to CD from Rhino/Warner Records. On June 25, as part of Rhino’s celebration of Black Music Month, the label will release Merci Miles! Live at Vienne on 2 LPs or 2 CDs. This previously unreleased concert was recorded at the Vienne Jazz Festival on July 1, 1991. The legendary musician would be honored by France mere days later, becoming a Knight of the Legion of Honour, before passing away in September at the age of 65.
At the time of the concert, Davis was signed to Warner Bros. Records where he embraced contemporary sounds in R&B, world music, and even pop. His last album for the label had been 1989’s Amandla; posthumous releases would arrive in 1991 (the soundtrack Dingo, co-written with esteemed French composer Michel Legrand), 1992 (Doo-Bop), 1993 (Miles & Quincy: Live at Montreux, a stunning and unexpected return to his classic repertoire, with Quincy Jones leading the orchestra), and beyond.
At the Jazz Festival, Davis and his band tackled then-recent pop covers (Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature,” Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”) plus a very special pair of treasures: “Penetration” and “Jailbait,” both written by Prince for his fusion project Madhouse (earmarked for an album recorded in 1988 but never released). From Amandla, Davis reinterpreted the title track as well as “Hannibal.”
The deluxe packaging for Merci Miles! includes photos, memorabilia images, and new liner notes by noted jazz historian Ashley Kahn, author of Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece. For a limited time, MilesDavis.com and Rhino.com will be offering an exclusive fold-out poster and postcard with purchase of the CD or vinyl version.
Merci Miles! Live at Vienne arrives from Warner and Rhino on CD, LP, and digital formats on June 25. Watch this space for more news of Rhino’s Black Music Month initiative. You’ll find pre-order links below.
Merci Miles! Live At Vienne (Warner/Rhino, 2021)
- Human Nature
- Time After Time
- Untitled Finale (Miles’ band only)