Forty-five years ago this month, Miles Davis released his album, Live/Evil. The first time I listened to it, eight years ago, I was astounded, most especially by the song, “Sivad.” The next day, I biked around feeling that my life had changed unalterably; knowing that that music was in it the universe made the universe a different place, and joyfully so. My perception of what is possible had expanded. I also thought, a little crossly, about all the music-loving friends I’d known over my life who had never brought this song to my attention. It seemed like an inexcusable oversight. Regardless, I had heard it now, and could never go back.
Live/Evil is a sprawling work, clocking in at over two hours and ten minutes. Four of the songs (or ~3.9, maybe – more on that later) are live performances and four are studio recordings (and presumably the “evil” portion). Despite its length, it fascinates for its entire duration, if only for being so unconventional, if not outright outlandish.