Miles Davis: That’s What Happened 1982-1985: The Bootleg Series Vol 7 review – more discarded gems

(Legacy Recordings)
Outtakes from the trumpeter’s Star People, Decoy and You’re Under Arrest albums, plus a live gig from 1983, continue Sony’s meticulous series

When Miles Davis died, in 1991, he left behind what has been called one of the greatest musical legacies of the 20th century. His discography runs to 400 pages, listing officially released records and a vast pile of dodgy bootlegs. Sony’s Legacy Recordings, which owns the rights to Davis’s most abundant and inspired period (1955-85), have cleverly stolen the bootleggers’ allure with their own legal and meticulously produced Bootleg Series. It gathers discarded gems from their Miles Davis archive, presenting them in chronological order and accompanied by a seriously good guidebook.

This is the seventh in the series, three CDs covering the years 1982-85. Most of the first two come from sessions that led to the albums Star People, Decoy and You’re Under Arrest, and they could have made another three from what was left behind. Small sample: Celestial Blues – three full versions, all quite different, never used. There are excellent Miles trumpet solos all over these tracks too, proving that he’d got his sound back after his late-70s breakdown. The third disc presents a live 1983 concert in Montreal, with his band of the time in top form.

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