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Guy Berger

"Mademoiselle Mabry"

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I think "Mademoiselle Mabry" is one of Miles's best compositions; it's also one of the best recorded performances of his career. The genius of the composition is the long ostinato repeated over and over by Chick Corea and Dave Holland. It has such strong melodic and rhythmic content that it guides the solos by Miles, Wayne Shorter and Chick. It also frees up Tony Williams to play a colourist's role, not playing time but rather commenting on the music in infinitely interesting ways.

Miles takes a nice, long, bluesy solo. I'm not sure if there's any overarching "story" to his improvisation. Instead, it stays quite close to the ostinato while finding interesting variations in each repetition. He pauses between phrases, letting the ostinato fill in the melodic gaps.

Wayne's solo is a real beauty. He takes more chances than Miles does in venturing away from the underlying theme. (Tony also plays more actively in this section.) But the general strategy is the same. There are times when it's almost like Wayne is accompanying Chick and Dave.

Chick's solo is unusual because he normally doesn't sound this bluesy. At this point the ostinato is so ingrained in our ears from earlier repetitions that we don't notice Dave is the only one repeating it. One of the most heated sections of the performance happens from about 14:15 to 14:25, with Chick's playing reaching its peak and shimmering cymbals by Tony. Then starting around 15:05 Chick starts playing very closely to the melody.

Miles comes back in near the end to take it back home.

There's an analysis of the form's structure in the In a Silent Way Sessions box. I don't know of any other performances besides this one. Too bad!

Edited by Guy

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A great song from an underappreciated album. That was Chick's first solo with the quintet. Dave Holland also debuted. They also recorded Frelon Brun at the session.

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So I kindof find it ironic that this was inspired/patterned (I'm guessing but it rings true for me) on "The Wind Cries Mary" which Jimi patterned off Dylan songs. . . .

And Miles slammed Jimi for "that hillbilly shit."

I love Filles De Kilamanjaro. It's like a little musical world of its own.

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Have dug this since the day it came out. This tune has always been the highlight of the album for me.

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And Miles slammed Jimi for "that hillbilly shit."

Really? I thought Miles dug Jimi. :huh:

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I heard that band 5 days after they recorded "Mademoiselle Mabry". It was at the Plugged Nickel and Chick seemed scared to death. After the gig that night, Miles drove to Gary and got married the next day. He was is a playful mood and offered to break my arm. :o

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And Miles slammed Jimi for "that hillbilly shit."

Really? I thought Miles dug Jimi. :huh:

Me too. I thought the "hillbilly" tag was more affectionate than a put down.

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I remember it as Miles really digging Jimi but slamming him for fooling around with that "hillbilly" shit with which I was pretty sure he meant Dylan. Anyway, sure Miles dug Jimi. But Miles almost always had to get in a big dig as well.

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i thought what miles meant was jimi should stop playing with people like noel redding

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speaking of black rock, does anyone know or have any recorded instances of tiki fullwood playing with miles in '72? i think it was?

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i thought what miles meant was jimi should stop playing with people like noel redding

Billy Cox was definitely a better fit, IMO.

Love "Mabry" and the whole Files album. One of my favorites!

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i thought what miles meant was jimi should stop playing with people like noel redding

Well he probably meant that as well, but Noel was no "hillbilly"--I'm pretty sure that particular reference was to the influence (strong, compositionally and vocally) of Dylan on Hendrix.

Edited by jazzbo

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So I kind of find it ironic that this was inspired/patterned (I'm guessing but it rings true for me) on "The Wind Cries Mary" which Jimi patterned off Dylan songs. . . .

Another irony is Betty Mabry, whom Miles wrote the song about and later married, introduced Miles to Jimi Hendrix. In Miles autobiography there is a picture of Miles and Betty attending Hendrix's funeral. Miles, "Jimi Hendrix's death upset me because he was so young and had so much ahead of him". He said Hendrix was a friend and a great musician who influenced his playing.

The hillbilly quote from Miles autobiography was: "But Jimi was also close to hillbilly, country music played by them mountain white people. That's why he had those two English guys in his band, because a lot of white English musicians liked that American hillbilly music. The best he sounded to me was when he had Buddy Miles on drums and Billy Cox on bass. Jimi was playing that Indian kind of shit, or he'd play those funny little melodies he doubled up on his guitar. I loved it when he doubled up shit like that. He used to play 6/8 all the time when he was with them white English guys and that's what made him sound like a hillbilly to me. Just that concept he was doing with that. But when he started playing with Buddy and Billy in the Band of Gypsies, I think he brought what he was doing all the way out. But the record companies and white people liked him better when he had the white guys in his band. Just like a lot of white people like to talk about me when I was doing the nonet thing--the Birth of the Cool thing, or when I did those other albums with Gil Evans or Bill Evans because they always like to see white people up in black shit, so that they can say they had something to do with it. But Jimi Hendrix came from the blues, like me. We understood each other right away because of that. He was a great blues guitarist."

Edited by Cali

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Thanks for that quote, I remembered it a little differently.

Yes, Betty, Jimi, Miles. . . a triangle of energy!

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I've never been able to find a tape with Fullwood...and I've asked quite a few collectors.

Filles IS a terrific record...I prefer the tracks with Ron on electric bass...I told Ron once that he was the hippest electric bass player ever! I did lie, Gary King was and still is, but Ron did some hip shit, like obviously on Red Clay, but like on a Gene McDaniels album on Atlantic!

Re Hendrix...never cared for him...talented but a 100% Jerkoff! It must have bugged Miles that Jimi was admired almost exclusively by White folks...even the Band of Gypsies. But then again, so was Miles! That's showbiz!

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