Friday, March 17, 2006

miles davis cipher

First, let me say "Hi" to The Bad Plus and thanks for the link. I promise to finish off that TBP post that's been languisihing in draft mode for a while now.

The TBP-DJA 70s Miles discussion continues. Thought-provoking points about how much Miles cared about his 70s sidemen, especially the interchangeable saxophonists. A little note on Al Foster: I first heard him on "Dark Magus." Those grooves that start the tracks are incredible. Later I heard him in more straight-ahead contexts and thought "Wow, he can swing too!" so my POV is kind of the reverse of their's.

For TBP's edification and to relieve DJA of having to write a book on electric Miles (poor DJA doesn't get enough sleep as it is), I'll point to some that exist (of which I have read none):

Phil Freeman Running The Voodoo Down: The Electric Music of Miles Davis (Phil's blog)
George Cole The Last Miles: The Music of Miles Davis 1980-1991
Paul Tingen Miles Beyond: The Electric Explorations of Miles Davis 1967-1991

These books have surprisingly unattractive covers, but if I had to judge them on that basis, I'd go for Cole's, but the problem is that I really don't want to read a whole book dedicated to Miles's 80s work... I am, however, willing to listen to the Palle Mikkelborg-as-Gil Evans album "Aura." [Please excuse the randomness of this paragraph]

Franck Bergerot's "Miles Davis: introduction à l'ecoute du jazz moderne" (Editions du Seuil) is in French but, unlike the above-cited books, I have read it. It is an awesome, concise and original dissection of Miles's playing that does away with rigid chronological divisions to find the overarching thematic concerns and evolutions. Highly recommended.

TBP: "Duty does require getting the Cellar Door set at some point, which we haven’t heard yet."
be.jazz capsule review: "Get it. The one-set-per-disc format makes it highly listenable. It's not duty, it's fun!"