The twelfth in a series of reports on Miles’s live gigs from 1981-1991 that I attended or have seen on video.
Venue: Stadio Curri, Perugia, Italy
Date: 7th July 1985
This gig was part of the Umbria Jazz festival and seems to take place in a football stadium, as the stage is in the middle of a field. It was broadcast by Italian TV service Rai and features what I consider to one of the best bands of Miles’s 1980s era – Miles (tp and keyb), John Scofield (g), Bob Berg (sax and keyb), Robert Irving III (keyb), Darryl Jones (b), Vince Wilburn Jr (d) and Steve Thornton (per).
The gig is memorable for the fact that Miles seems to spend more time off-stage than on, wandering in front of the stage amongst the photographers and fans, and using his wireless microphone transmitter system to good effect. The gig kicks off with “One Phone Call” which includes a long soprano sax solo by Berg that is underpinned by a wonderful bass line by Jones. On “Star People,” Miles plays the blues for long stretches, while “Katia” is a showcase for some blistering guitar from Scofield, and “Hopscotch” sees Jones plays an extended solo that starts off with him using his fingers and ends with some fast and furious slap bass.
Miles is in great form and obviously loves this band – at one point, putting his hand over Jones’s shoulder and whispering something that makes the young bassist laugh out loud; pulling a reluctant Scofield to the front of the stage to solo, and going head-to-head with Berg. Miles also spends a lot of time at the keyboard, sometimes playing with his trumpet stuffed between his legs! Many of the tunes are uptempo numbers and drummer Vince Wilburn Jr never falters during the whole gig. A superb concert, and a terrific band, which sadly broke up at the end of July, when Jones and Scofield moved on.
If you have any memories of Miles’s gigs from 1981-1991, why don’t you tell us about it?! All reports will be put online for other Miles fans to share. Email