Milestones

Branford slams Miles

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I had a look at the current Downbeat while at the library.  Branford Marsalis gets the cover story, and in the interview he gets pretty controversial--to my mind.  Specifically, he thinks Miles was already an old man in the 1960s and that Herbie, Tony, Wayne, and others were the innovators who brought in the exciting new stuff.  The point here, ALL OF IT!  He says this: "Miles didn't teach them anything.  Nothing."  

So what happened to the idea of the old master teaching the young ones, while (I'm sure also learning from them)?  The usual notion is that Miles developed and nurtured--albeit in a somewhat eccentric way--young talent throughout his entire career.  I've read stuff by Herbie where he expressed his complete awe of Miles.

 

 

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Sounds like b.s. to me.

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Herbie told differently on several occasions.

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I think this is a case of BM taking a genuine fact the Miles mystique sometimes downplays (that after 1955 he had the luxury of hiring THE best talent), and twisting it into something 100,000,000 times more ridiculous than the mystique.

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Sounds like Branford has the Marsalis Disease - never actually possessing greatness, but evaluating it anyway, always in the need of shrinking the big so they don't feel so goddamned small themselves.

It's a luxury for the permanently failed and the financially secure.

23 minutes ago, Guy Berger said:

I think this is a case of BM taking a genuine fact the Miles mystique sometimes downplays (that after 1955 he had the luxury of hiring THE best talent), and twisting it into something 100,000,000 times more ridiculous than the mystique.

Yeah, the whole mystique thing is pretty much useless for an objective evaluation. There's no mystique to really knowing your shit, being intellectually curious, and setting up your business to be to your perpetual advantage. It's simply hard work, smarts, and brains, no mystique required, mystique is a product, period.

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Well, I remember seeing an interview in which Miles said that he learned from his young employees rather than the other way around.

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Of course he did, but what he learned from them, he taught it back with his own knowledge added to it.

The classic example of this - and totally germane to the BM BS is the oft-told tale of how when George Coleman came on the band, the rhythm section would do their thing behind George but keep straight for George. Miles soon tired of this and told them to play behind them like they did for George. They were all like, are you sure? Ok, be ready, like, yeah old man, you wnat this truth, you can't handle this truth, right? Next thing you know, per Herbie, instead of them leading Miles, Miles was leading them.

You hear that from the 90s band too, the Adam Holzman bunch. They already had their thing going on, but doing their thing behind Miles made them all aware of how much more they could do with it past what they already knew they could do.

No mystique - Miles was a true leader. True leaders lead, and part of leading is letting people with gifts give them to you and then you pay them back with more than they gave. Just because you're an employer does not make you a leader.

Not complicated.

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, JSngry said:

Yeah, the whole mystique thing is pretty much useless for an objective evaluation. There's no mystique to really knowing your shit, being intellectually curious, and setting up your business to be to your perpetual advantage. It's simply hard work, smarts, and brains, no mystique required, mystique is a product, period.

Perfectly written.  The marketing pitched the guy as some sort of demigod but the boring truth was that he was just really, really, really good.

BTW one weird thing with Branford’s assertion is that the albums Wayne, Herbie and Tony recorded during that period without Miles are out there, they’re public record!  Miles’s albums sound quite different.  (And FWIW, more adventurous than Wayne and Herbie’s.) Regardless of whether you think the Miles or sidemen album are better, it’s pretty clear he wasn’t just coasting on their contributions.

 

 

Edited by Guy Berger

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Miles was kind of a catalizator (don´t know if I wrote that word correctly). Anyway like most of you have said, he didn´t have to "teach" them new tunes and stuff. But Miles anway gave the directions. Look for example at Herbie Hancock: Miles told him that he does´t have to play all 88 keys at once. And that it was, Miles for his 60´s bands wanted a more spare piano with more abstract lines, like you can hear it on "Miles Smiles". And I think, Miles had encouraged his band to write stuff , and I think the stuff they wrote wouldn´t have happened if they didn´t feel Miles´ presence.

I think Marsalis played once with Miles, I think he is on the album "Decoy" (an album I don´t like). I always have thought Wynton was the one who assumed the role of telling us all stuff as if he had been part of it. But like you say, it seems to be  the "Marsalis Disease".

But I must say I once heard Wynton and Branford together in 1983 with Herbie, Ron and Tony, and it was VSOPII. Well, sure there was nothing new compared with the old 1977,78 VSOP´s with Hub and Wayne, but at least it was a band that cooked and grooved.

 

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It was a perfect marriage.  Yes, it was largely the accomplishments of Shorter, Williams, Hancock, & Carter.  But I really don't think that they would have reached the heights that they did without Miles.  

It reminds me of how, in R&B, members of the Flames or the JBs would even sometimes think to themselves that they were doing it all.  But without James Brown, it didn't happen.  Conversely, James Brown could make it happen even without the best musicians.

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Another annoying member of that family. The one that plays the trumpet is mega annoying.

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Image result for miles davis freedom jazz dance  

This set is a great place to hear Miles actively and successfully shaping what the Quintet did.  

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Too harsh towards those frisky Marsalis brothers.  I'll always be forever indebted to them for inventing hard bop in the early 80's and then teaching Art Blakey how to play it.

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30 minutes ago, felser said:

Too harsh towards those frisky Marsalis brothers.  I'll always be forever indebted to them for inventing hard bop in the early 80's and then teaching Art Blakey how to play it.

LOL - I think. :alien::P

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40 minutes ago, felser said:

Too harsh towards those frisky Marsalis brothers.  I'll always be forever indebted to them for inventing hard bop in the early 80's and then teaching Art Blakey how to play it.

Its no mystery making history 😎 ....

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I haven't seen Branord's quotes in context, but I suspect he's both a little off base, but that there's also some truth to what he's saying too.  And if it's a print-interview, there's no telling what sort of tone he was delivering these 'vendictives' in either.

I've never seen Branford as being anything even remotely as 'judgemental' as his better known brother, although now that I'm thinking of it, didn't he (Branford?) talk shit about Cecil Taylor at some point? - maybe in the Ken Burns thing? (I can't remember - but somewhere.)

I suspect Miles learned and gained as much from his sidemen in that 2nd Quintet, as they got from him.  No secret that that's how Miles operated for several long spans in his career.

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There was a mutual influence going on. Not top down, or down up. In other words: It was like real life.

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Posted (edited)

11 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

Miles had encouraged his band to write stuff , and I think the stuff they wrote wouldn´t have happened if they didn´t feel Miles´ presence.

Not only that, he aggressively edited their compositions.

Edited by Guy Berger

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31 minutes ago, Matthew said:

There was a mutual influence going on. Not top down, or down up. In other words: It was like real life.

And like good management.

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59 minutes ago, Rooster_Ties said:

I haven't seen Branord's quotes in context, but I suspect he's both a little off base, but that there's also some truth to what he's saying too. 

Find some truth in this, please:

"Miles didn't teach them anything.  Nothing." 

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

Find some truth in this, please:

"Miles didn't teach them anything.  Nothing." 

Of course not.  What could 17 year old Tony Williams possibly have learned from the man who conceived and executed 'Kind of Blue'?

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I too saw the VSOP group with Branford and Wynton out in front of Miles' classic 60s rhythm section--and curiously enough the then-current Miles band was on the same bill.  I did enjoy the show quite a bit.  But I'm thinking that Herbie, Ron, and Tony had nothing to teach the young lads.  I mean just nothing!

 

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I gotta say that I've liked almost nothing that Wayne Shorter did away from Miles. But his playing with Miles was godlike. Not elsewhere, I don't care what anybody says. 

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3 hours ago, AllenLowe said:

I gotta say that I've liked almost nothing that Wayne Shorter did away from Miles. But his playing with Miles was godlike. Not elsewhere, I don't care what anybody says. 

I loved his playing with Blakey and his Blue Notes.  But I agree that his work with Weather Report never knocked me out, and the latest leader date that was a keeper for me was 1974's 'Native Dancer'. 

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