I have yet to listen to all of The Cellar Door Sessions, but I can attest that these recordings reveal that when Davis walked into that club in Washington in December 1970 with Jarrett, Moreira, saxophonist Gary Bartz, bassist Michael Henderson, and drummer Jack deJohnette, he pretty much burned the place down. These are blistering, exploratory, mind-bending performances, with Davis' frightening attack, high-pitched screeches, and fast runs playing off against Jarrett's wild, amplified improvisations and Bartz's quick but melodic solos.I've mostly avoided Columbia's box-setization of the Miles Davis back catalog, both because of money and time (and also interest, really; I don't need to hear every note from the Bitches Brew or In a Silent Way sessions). The only box I have is the excellent The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel, which in a sense finds Miles at an analogous period in 1965, in the act of changing his music, and jazz, yet again. I have, however, listened to a fair amount of the 1970s electric music. Of late, I've listened to more of it, on average, than the acoustic jazz. I like it, but that's not the same thing as saying I've wrapped my head around it. Even as a jazz lover, I come to this music from more of an out-rock perspective. It's interesting to hear Miles' music of the 70s in the context of those groups pushing the boundaries of rock, including funk, but also German groups such as Faust or Can.
This appreciation from Dave Douglas is every bit as excellent and persuasive as Michael says it is. (Coincidentally, listening to the iPod on shuffle today, I heard the title track from Dave Douglas' Tiny Bell Trio Constellations cd from Hat Hut, reminding me again what a great album that is as well.)