Hardbopjazz

Miles Davis on American Masters.

49 posts in this topic

2 hours ago, Jim Duckworth said:

I recall that footage in a late eighties PBS doc on Miles-which had, besides more Gil Evans, Keith Jarrett and other musicians.

I don't recall the Gil Footage specifically, but I do remember the show. Jarret talked a lot!

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

I don't recall the Gil Footage specifically, but I do remember the show. Jarret talked a lot!

One Jarrett quote from that show stuck with me (closest wording I can recall): Miles would rather be in a horrible band, playing terrible music, than do something he had already done before.

Edited by T.D.

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1 hour ago, T.D. said:

One Jarrett quote from that show stuck with me (closest wording I can recall): Miles would rather be in a horrible band, playing terrible music, than do something he had already done before.

And that strikes me as classic Jarrett mumbo-jumbo. Sounds great, but really? When did Miles ever have a "bad band playing terrible music" that he didn't get busy making better ASAP?

Sounds like Keith was (is?) still working through his own seemingly quite enthusiastic contributions to a Miles band or two that totally flew in the face of the principles that Jarrett later loudly proclaimed to be sacred.

Fuck it Keith, you were in an electric band playing electric music and you played the shit out of it, and sounded like you were having at least some fun doing so,

Own it, man!

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I got the quote wrong. Here's an academic citation (!):   In a 1986 PBS documentary on Miles Davis, the pianist Keith Jarrett said that Davis “would rather have a bad band playing terrible music than have a band that played what he played before.”

But yeah, your comments pretty much apply.

Edited by T.D.

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I think Jarrett's point was that Miles was the type of forward-looking musician who, on principle, would steadfastly refuse to recycle his own material, though he did just that in 1986 upon Quincy Jones' prodding. But, agreed! — Jarrett did play the shit out of the electric music he contributed to Miles' band. Whether or not he owns this — well, to me it doesn't seem like it. In that documentary, Jarrett is more than happy to point out that playing electric keyboards is something "he didn't do and doesn't do." Um, and then he did it. And was often filmed doing it. Convulsing in front of the Fender.

The Jarrett quote that stuck with me from that documentary was something along the lines of:

Miles (to Jarrett): You know why I play ballads?

Jarrett (wanting to know why despite already having his own opinion): Why?

Miles: Because I like ballads so much.
 

I think Jarrett liked when he recognized (before anyone else in the band) Miles playing "I Fall In Love Too Easily." Michael Henderson would drop out because there wasn't a groove to lay down, and Keith was left to play some fragments under Miles' horn.

This latest documentary seemed to push the theory that Ascenseur Pour l'Echafaud pre-figured Kind of Blue. I'm not buying it. I still think George Russell is critical to any discussion of "modal" music, and that — I haven't seen yet. (But maybe there are documentaries out there that do?)

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21 hours ago, Late said:

 I still think George Russell is critical to any discussion of "modal" music, and that — I haven't seen yet.

Indeed. But you know, "narrative" of the marketplace/ownership.etc. No narrative, no "truth" for the ma$$e$.

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21 hours ago, Late said:

...

The Jarrett quote that stuck with me from that documentary was something along the lines of:

Miles (to Jarrett): You know why I play ballads?

Jarrett (wanting to know why despite already having his own opinion): Why?

Miles: Because I like ballads so much.

...

I also remember that quote, but I think it actually went:

Miles: "You know why I don't play ballads any more?", etc.

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2 hours ago, T.D. said:

I also remember that quote, but I think it actually went:

Miles: "You know why I don't play ballads any more?", etc.

Oh man — really? (I'm not disagreeing with you.) That would make the exchange even more intense. But Miles kept playing (albeit briefly) "I Fall In Love Too Easily." When did that drop out of rotation? About ... 1973?

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2 hours ago, T.D. said:

I also remember that quote, but I think it actually went:

Miles: "You know why I don't play ballads any more?", etc.

I sort of vaguely remember it the same way you do (T.D.), i.e. "why I **DON'T** play ballads any more"...

It's a bit of a paraphrase (maybe), but this source (and this other one too), has the quote as...

“You know why I quit playing ballads? Cause I love playing ballads.”

The exchange (specifically with Jarrett) is also quoted similarly in this issue of Billboard magazine in 2001 -- HERE -- on page 52, center column, about the 3rd full paragraph down below the picture).

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On 03/03/2020 at 9:25 PM, JSngry said:

I don't recall the Gil Footage specifically, but I do remember the show. Jarret talked a lot!

That documentary with the Jarrett interview was originally put out on UK Channel 4 and presented by Ian Carr I recall.

Edited by sidewinder

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4 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

I sort of vaguely remember it the same way you do (T.D.), i.e. "why I **DON'T** play ballads any more"...

It's a bit of a paraphrase (maybe), but this source (and this other one too), has the quote as...

“You know why I quit playing ballads? Cause I love playing ballads.”

The exchange (specifically with Jarrett) is also quoted similarly in this issue of Billboard magazine in 2001 -- HERE -- on page 52, center column, about the 3rd full paragraph down below the picture).

I strongly remembered it that way, but it was so long ago that I Googled to check (granted that's not airtight).

Found several book and newspaper citations, including one as part of David Johnson's Night Lights show.

I listen mostly to earlier Miles and don't know when he dropped ballads from the rotation...

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Gotcha — I'm glad I remembered the quote incorrectly. It makes far more sense with the DON'T in there! ^_^

Edited by Late
Correcting typos.

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What´s the story behind "I Fall In Love Too Easily" ?  I mean, Miles once  knew and played hundreds of ballads, he had such a huge repertory of ballads it was incredible. Why did he keep exactly this one ballad in his set list. 

Anyway, for a man who bragged that "he never looked back" and "always had to move forwards" he didn´t change his set lists very much. Don´t misunderstand me, I like everything he recorded and played but let´s say, during his "Electric period" almost every concert had the same music. And even  before, during the famous second quintet almost every recorded concert had quite the same tunes recorded (see "Miles in Europe" "Miles in Tokyo" "Miles in Berlin"...….) 

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18 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

What´s the story behind "I Fall In Love Too Easily" ?  I mean, Miles once  knew and played hundreds of ballads, he had such a huge repertory of ballads it was incredible. Why did he keep exactly this one ballad in his set list. 

Anyway, for a man who bragged that "he never looked back" and "always had to move forwards" he didn´t change his set lists very much. Don´t misunderstand me, I like everything he recorded and played but let´s say, during his "Electric period" almost every concert had the same music. And even  before, during the famous second quintet almost every recorded concert had quite the same tunes recorded (see "Miles in Europe" "Miles in Tokyo" "Miles in Berlin"...….) 

"I Fall in Love Too Easily" was included in the August 1969 studio performance of "Sanctuary".  After that, the two were paired regularly in concert.  But I'd be curious why Davis specifically paired "Sanctuary" w/IFiLTE rather than another ballad.  (It was genius IMHO...)

IMHO we're suffering from at least some selection bias on the 2nd quintet recordings.  Davis would have been more inclined to play a semi-fixed setlist on European tours (where fans hadn't seen him for a long time) than in the US.  I think the performances of "RJ" and "Seven Steps to Heaven" at the 1966 Newport Festival, or the performance of "Dolores" in Berkeley during the spring of 1967, or various "oddball" standards like "Yesterdays" and "Who Can I Turn to?", suggest he was open to wildcards.  (Also, think of the performances of "Footprints" and "Paraphernalia" at the Fillmore West in the spring of 1970.)

Edited by Guy Berger

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On 10/03/2020 at 5:34 AM, Gheorghe said:

Anyway, for a man who bragged that "he never looked back" and "always had to move forwards" he didn´t change his set lists very much. Don´t misunderstand me, I like everything he recorded and played but let´s say, during his "Electric period" almost every concert had the same music. And even  before, during the famous second quintet almost every recorded concert had quite the same tunes recorded (see "Miles in Europe" "Miles in Tokyo" "Miles in Berlin"...….) 

I’m glad somebody said this. I also feel that there are many recorded Miles gigs where no-one is giving it 100% or anywhere close - some very meandering solos and sets. 

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well I can´t say now if they gave it 100% or not, but I was a bit amused that everybody "laughed About Lou Donaldson" that he Always played the same tunes, the same set lists, when I saw Miles at least 4 or 5 times in different years and depending on the period of style, the live sets were very very similar. 

In the mid 70´s it was Always that fast funk tune in Eb with which they startet (Berlin, Montreux, Vienna, on the Albums "Dark Magus" and "Pangaea". 

And in the early 80´s it was Always first a fast funk tune, then a slow blues in Bb and from the mid 80s on it was Always "Time after Time" and "Human Nature". 

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33 minutes ago, Gheorghe said:

well I can´t say now if they gave it 100% or not, but I was a bit amused that everybody "laughed About Lou Donaldson" that he Always played the same tunes, the same set lists, when I saw Miles at least 4 or 5 times in different years and depending on the period of style, the live sets were very very similar. 

In the mid 70´s it was Always that fast funk tune in Eb with which they startet (Berlin, Montreux, Vienna, on the Albums "Dark Magus" and "Pangaea". 

And in the early 80´s it was Always first a fast funk tune, then a slow blues in Bb and from the mid 80s on it was Always "Time after Time" and "Human Nature". 

The difference being that you'd hear the same set list from Lou Donaldson decade after decade, not just for a few years.

 

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

The difference being that you'd hear the same set list from Lou Donaldson decade after decade, not just for a few years.

 

okay, that´s right, I had not considered that fact. 

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On 2/26/2020 at 6:32 PM, CJ Shearn said:

I was disappointed they censored the language, the PBS stream was the first I saw the film since the NY premiere and the review I wrote.

Just watching this doc again today (actually just have it on to listen to, while working on other stuff from home).  For the first time, via what PBS broadcasted.

I'd previously seen the doc in a theater here in DC like 6-8 months ago (with no censored language).  And seeing the comment above, I thought "well, yeah, it's PBS and broadcast TV, so of course they're gonna have to censor stuff" - and I thought, no biggie.

But man, they could have done a MUCH more artful job of eliminating the offending language, than all those loud, high-pitched BLEEPS.  I don't mind the censorship, but why couldn't the documentarians have muted the interview/speech part of the audio track (leaving the underlying music), so the 'bothersome' words were just gone.

I'm *sure* they had designs on this doc being broadcast on PBS as part of a series like this, either American Masters, or the Trane doc aired as an Independent Lens doc.  In any case, the filmmakers HAD to have known this would be on broadcast TV.  Hell, it had to have been their *AIM* - to get picked up by PBS.  So to serve this up to PBS with all those goddamn BLEEPS, instead of more artfully taking out the language, is just a minor bit of malpractice, far as I'm concerned.

Shameful.  Not the censorship, but the WAY it was done.

If this gets released on DVD/Blu-Ray through PBS (under some "American Masters" series release), I sure as hell hope it doesn't have those BLEEPS. 

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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Listen to a Top 40 hip-hop/Urban station, they still bleep sometimes. I think some people like the bleeps. Remember "Fight The Power" (Isleys, not PE)? We used to sing "BLEEP" in public to keep from getting harassed for saying "BULLSHIT".

Doesn't matter to me, I could fill in the blanks/bleeps w/o even seeing the screen. I'm far more offended by the broken visual chronologies. Not everybody curses, but damn near every sadass motherfucker can tell time if they know how a clock works.

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27 minutes ago, Rooster_Ties said:

Just watching this doc again today (actually just have it on to listen to, while working on other stuff from home).  For the first time, via what PBS broadcasted.

I'd previously seen the doc in a theater here in DC like 6-8 months ago (with no censored language).  And seeing the comment above, I thought "well, yeah, it's PBS and broadcast TV, so of course they're gonna have to censor stuff" - and I thought, no biggie.

But man, they could have done a MUCH more artful job of eliminating the offending language, than all those loud, high-pitched BLEEPS.  I don't mind the censorship, but why couldn't the documentarians have muted the interview/speech part of the audio track (leaving the underlying music), so the 'bothersome' words were just gone.

I'm *sure* they had designs on this doc being broadcast on PBS as part of a series like this, either American Masters, or the Trane doc aired as an Independent Lens doc.  In any case, the filmmakers HAD to have known this would be on broadcast TV.  Hell, it had to have been their *AIM* - to get picked up by PBS.  So to serve this up to PBS with all those goddamn BLEEPS, instead of more artfully taking out the language, is just a minor bit of malpractice, far as I'm concerned.

Shameful.  Not the censorship, but the WAY it was done.

If this gets released on DVD/Blu-Ray through PBS (under some "American Masters" series release), I sure as hell hope it doesn't have those BLEEPS. 

Have you ever heard/seen anything censored without bleeps? I think there's a good reason bleeps are always used. I think silent gaps would cause confusion. You wouldn't know if something had been censored or if the speaker had just gone silent, or if your attention had strayed.

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22 minutes ago, Captain Howdy said:

I think silent gaps would cause confusion. You wouldn't know if something had been censored or if the speaker had just gone silent, or if your attention had strayed.

Only if you are not tuned in to the rhythms and cadences of "that kind" of speaking. ESPECIALLY if a micro-second of the beginning and/or ending sound of the word is left intact,

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Dusty Groove has listed a 2-DVD set of this film.  A great version of this Miles Davis documentary – one that comes with a full bonus disc that's almost worth the price of the package alone! The core movie is great – a documentary on the rise and music of one of the greatest trumpeters of all time – directed by Stanley Nelson, with lots of vintage footage and studio sessions – and interviews with collaborators like Quincy Jones, Wayne Shorter, and Ron Carter – plus a lot of materials pulled together from the estate of Miles. Bonus DVD features over 70 minutes of live performances from the Montreux Jazz Festival – performances from 1973, 1984, and 1985 – all wrapped up in a book-style package with 16 pages of notes and photos.

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Anyone notice that in the section on KOB there's a shot of Miles with Cannonball and Trane holding a flugelhorn?  The photo may have been taken at a different session but did he ever use  a flugelhorn on any sextet recording? 

Edited by medjuck

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