Miles Davis

Go down

Miles Davis Empty Miles Davis

Post by Rowley on Fri 15 Apr 2016, 2:42 pm

To celebrate the forthcoming release of the long overdue Miles Davis biography directed by and starring Don Cheadle (and because Tina has been begging me to write it) I thought I would write a thread paying tribute to the man recently and deservedly voted the greatest Jazz musician of all time in a BBC poll and also highlight what I consider to be some of his most significant and/or best works.

What, for many sets Davis aside from his contemporaries are firstly his ability to recognise talent in young unheralded players and form great bands from these players, and to repeat the trick numerous times over his career and secondly his unwillingness to rest on his laurels and to constantly push the boundaries of Jazz and be at the forefront of new movements within the genre.

For me his first great album is probably the Birth of the Cool. Whilst Davis cut his teeth in the hard bop scene of the early 50s this is the first album where Davis’ style of playing truly found its voice. Whilst Davis is obviously an exceptional player his strength lies not in the fast playing hard swing of the hard bop era but in his ability to imbue his playing with an emotional and lyrical quality and Birth of the Cool is the first album that gives adequate space for him to properly explore this style.

His playing around this time earned him the attention of Colombia records who signed him to what would be a long term and fruitful relationship. When joining Colombia Davis hooked up with long term friend and frequent collaborator Gil Evans. At this time big band jazz was undergoing something of a revival. Spurred on by this revival, and the recent but significant developments in recording technology Davis and Evans recorded Sketches of Spain. As Evans was a classically trained composer the album has an orchestral feel in both sound and scope, whilst it is not a huge favourite of mine it is a significant recording in both its ambition and showed Davis was an artist willing to push himself and the possibilities of jazz.

It was also around this time that Davis put together the first, and arguably the best of the many great bands he put together. As well as Davis it also contained such greats as Bill Evans, Paul Chambers, Cannonball Adderley and the legendary John Coltrane. With a line up this great it was almost inevitable they would produce something special but the album Kind of Blue outstrips even the most optimistic of expectations. Frequently described as the greatest Jazz album ever it is one that still sounds great today. Recorded over a couple of days it was largely improvised. Davis would provide the band a broad sketch of the song structures and then trust them to do the rest. The results are nothing short of spectacular. The mood is largely melancholic and relaxed which suits Davis’ playing to a tee, but the mood and Davis’ playing is constantly contrasted and counterpointed by Coltrane’s more aggressive freewheeling sax sound. The results are stunning, as an introduction to either Jazz or Davis it is hard to beat.

Whilst Davis continued to record and perform throughout the sixties his next run of form came in the late sixties and early seventies where he put together yet another great band and also began to push the boundaries of the genre. Davis was hugely influenced by the rock scene of the late sixties, and was a good friend and big fan of Jimi Hendrix amongst others. This led to Davis beginning to introduce electronic instrumentation into his music, electric guitars, keyboards and bass were all common place. To many of the jazz purists of the time this was considered nigh on sacrilege but there is no denying it led to some of Davis’ most interesting and innovative music, Bitches Brew from the era still being regarded as something of a classic in the jazz fusion field. Around this time Davis also began to stretch the boundaries in terms of song structure and format. He regularly made songs that were over 15 minutes in length and a couple of albums such as In a Silent Way and A Tribute to Jack Johnson (a personal favourite) that contained only two songs.

Davis suffered from ill health in the late seventies and as a consequence his output during this period was nigh on nothing, but those that were willing to write him off as a spent force underestimated the man and he returned in the eighties again recording and performing live. Of his recordings in this era I find it a bit of a mixed bag. He received rave reviews, particularly for the album Tutu, but for me the synthesized backing and heavy reliance on electric bass makes his songs sound far too much like the soundtrack to a bad 80’s action movie, even allowing for his peerless playing on many of the tracks. For me his most satisfying recording of this era is the orchestral piece Aura, which is stunning in its ambition and in the brilliance of Davis’ playing. What is certain though is his live playing during this era was frequently stunning, his control of tempo, his playing in the high register and his direction of his young band are all the marks of a man at the absolute top of his game.

Davis passed away in 1991. Over a forty odd year career he left a body of work and innovation that is hard to match. If one was to list the musicians who got their start playing with Davis it would read like a who’s who of jazz music, containing as it does the likes of John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, John McLaughlin amongst many others, most of whom were largely unheard of prior to working with Davis. I have not seen the biography yet, but hopefully it will spur a revival of interest in both Davis and the genre.

Rowley
Admin
Admin

Posts : 22053
Join date : 2011-02-17
Age : 46
Location : I'm just a symptom of the modern decay that's gnawing at the heart of this country.

Back to top Go down

Miles Davis Empty Re: Miles Davis

Post by Mind the windows Tino. on Fri 15 Apr 2016, 3:03 pm

For f*cks sake.

Mind the windows Tino.
Beano
Beano

Posts : 17786
Join date : 2011-05-13
Location : There are fewer more distressing sights than that of an Englishman in a baseball cap. And we'll die in the class we were born, well that's a class of our own my love. A class of our own my love. Did you see the stylish kids in the riot, cos mine beat me up then set the night on fire. Wombles bleed, truncheons and shields, you know I cherish you my love. Oh how I cherish Julius my love.

Back to top Go down

Miles Davis Empty Re: Miles Davis

Post by Guest on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 10:53 am

I'm with Tina on this, I got to the third paragraph and lost the will to live

I have not seen the biography yet, but hopefully it will spur a revival of interest in both Davis and the genre.
More chance of Prince and Bowie doing a duet next week


Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Miles Davis Empty Re: Miles Davis

Post by Mind the windows Tino. on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 10:57 am

DAVE667 wrote:I got to the third paragraph

I got to the third line.

Mind the windows Tino.
Beano
Beano

Posts : 17786
Join date : 2011-05-13
Location : There are fewer more distressing sights than that of an Englishman in a baseball cap. And we'll die in the class we were born, well that's a class of our own my love. A class of our own my love. Did you see the stylish kids in the riot, cos mine beat me up then set the night on fire. Wombles bleed, truncheons and shields, you know I cherish you my love. Oh how I cherish Julius my love.

Back to top Go down

Miles Davis Empty Re: Miles Davis

Post by Guest on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 11:33 am

Mind the windows Tino. wrote:
DAVE667 wrote:I got to the third paragraph

I got to the third line.
I got to the third letter of Rowley's name and slipped into a coma

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Miles Davis Empty Re: Miles Davis

Post by superflyweight on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:16 pm

I read it all you lazy pr1cks.

A Kind of Blue is brilliant - one of those albums you could have on all day on repeat and not get bored with it (probably the jazz equivalent of Blue Lines by Massive Attack).

Apparently not the nicest of human beings. Once read about some girl rushing up to him after a gig to tell him that he knew her mother. Miles asked her what her mother's name was and she told him. He responded "yeah, I knew her. I f*cked the b1tch."

superflyweight
Superfly
Superfly

Posts : 6329
Join date : 2011-01-26
Location : Right here waiting for you

Back to top Go down

Miles Davis Empty Re: Miles Davis

Post by Mind the windows Tino. on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:21 pm

superflyweight wrote:  
A Kind of Blue is brilliant - one of those albums you could have on all day on repeat and not get bored with it  
 

I've never heard it but I am fairly certain you're talking sh*t.

Based on the FACT that j*zz is a steaming pile of turd.

Mind the windows Tino.
Beano
Beano

Posts : 17786
Join date : 2011-05-13
Location : There are fewer more distressing sights than that of an Englishman in a baseball cap. And we'll die in the class we were born, well that's a class of our own my love. A class of our own my love. Did you see the stylish kids in the riot, cos mine beat me up then set the night on fire. Wombles bleed, truncheons and shields, you know I cherish you my love. Oh how I cherish Julius my love.

Back to top Go down

Miles Davis Empty Re: Miles Davis

Post by Rowley on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:21 pm

Superfly, I love you. I don't tell you anywhere near often enough. You are almost certainly in my top five favourite Scottish people. Obviously you're behind Claire Grogan, but certainly in front of both Proclaimers.

Rowley
Admin
Admin

Posts : 22053
Join date : 2011-02-17
Age : 46
Location : I'm just a symptom of the modern decay that's gnawing at the heart of this country.

Back to top Go down

Miles Davis Empty Re: Miles Davis

Post by Mind the windows Tino. on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:22 pm

Rowley wrote:but certainly in front of both Proclaimers.

He's been there before.

Mind the windows Tino.
Beano
Beano

Posts : 17786
Join date : 2011-05-13
Location : There are fewer more distressing sights than that of an Englishman in a baseball cap. And we'll die in the class we were born, well that's a class of our own my love. A class of our own my love. Did you see the stylish kids in the riot, cos mine beat me up then set the night on fire. Wombles bleed, truncheons and shields, you know I cherish you my love. Oh how I cherish Julius my love.

Back to top Go down

Miles Davis Empty Re: Miles Davis

Post by superflyweight on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:24 pm

For the opportunity to have full sex with Claire Grogan, I'd happily be the 'lucky Pierre' filling in a Claire Grogan and both Proclaimers sandwich.

superflyweight
Superfly
Superfly

Posts : 6329
Join date : 2011-01-26
Location : Right here waiting for you

Back to top Go down

Miles Davis Empty Re: Miles Davis

Post by Adam D on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:33 pm

I once heard someone say "nearly is not good enough, unless its Jazz" which pretty much sums up my feelings.

Nice article though and I will thus give it a go - fix me up with a link to some stuff on youtube and I will give it a listen. No rickrolling please.

Adam D
Founder
Founder

Posts : 23684
Join date : 2011-01-24
Age : 46
Location : Parts Unknown

http://www.v2journal.com

Back to top Go down

Miles Davis Empty Re: Miles Davis

Post by Mind the windows Tino. on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:34 pm

Adam D wrote:fix me up with a link to some stuff on youtube and I will give it a listen..

You lazy b*stard.

Mind the windows Tino.
Beano
Beano

Posts : 17786
Join date : 2011-05-13
Location : There are fewer more distressing sights than that of an Englishman in a baseball cap. And we'll die in the class we were born, well that's a class of our own my love. A class of our own my love. Did you see the stylish kids in the riot, cos mine beat me up then set the night on fire. Wombles bleed, truncheons and shields, you know I cherish you my love. Oh how I cherish Julius my love.

Back to top Go down

Miles Davis Empty Re: Miles Davis

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum