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Miles Davis--Kind of Blue live


Milestones
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I have been listening to Kind of Blue and reading up on it as well.  It is properly one of the most discussed albums of all time.

I'm thinking about the many releases of Miles in concert, especially from the early 60's, and it seems to me that Miles never gave live performances of three of the tracks: "Freddie Freeloader," "Blue in Green," and "Flamenco Sketches."  It's a bit odd, given that "Blue in Green" has been covered by many artists and "Flamenco" is, to my ears, among Miles' greatest tracks ever.

I have not looked too hard to see if it's really true that these three tracks were not in the live repertoire; I'm going by the extensive amount of Miles Davis in my collection.  But if not, it seems to say something about how unique Kind of Blue was/is.   

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48 minutes ago, Daniel A said:

Just a speculation - in the case of Flamenco and Blue in Green, maybe Miles felt that Bill Evans' playing was so important to the overall character of these tunes that he didn't want to recreate them with another pianist.

Not just that, but Evans wrote one, and possibly both.

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Bill Evans claimed credit for writing "Blue In Green," as indicated in Orrin Keepnews' liner notes about his Riverside recording of it. Of course, Evans had already left Miles by the time Kind of Blue was recorded, but he came back to take part in the sessions. He probably wasn't interested in touring with Miles at that point.

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Evans was clearly important, but I imagine there are other reasons.  It's standard for artists to perform old (and even relatively new) tunes with partially and sometimes totally different bands. Look at all the versions of "So What" by the Second Great Quintet (or the quintet with George Coleman).

    

Edited by Milestones
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15 hours ago, Milestones said:

I have been listening to Kind of Blue and reading up on it as well.  It is properly one of the most discussed albums of all time.

I'm thinking about the many releases of Miles in concert, especially from the early 60's, and it seems to me that Miles never gave live performances of three of the tracks: "Freddie Freeloader," "Blue in Green," and "Flamenco Sketches."  It's a bit odd, given that "Blue in Green" has been covered by many artists and "Flamenco" is, to my ears, among Miles' greatest tracks ever.

I have not looked too hard to see if it's really true that these three tracks were not in the live repertoire; I'm going by the extensive amount of Miles Davis in my collection.  But if not, it seems to say something about how unique Kind of Blue was/is.   

Not that unique. Of the 1959-68 studio tunes that Miles ended up performing live, almost all were either ballad standards or tunes that had fairly simple or open structures for improvisation. That rules out “Blue in Green” and “Flamenco Sketches”. “Freddie Freeloader” is a straightforward blues and “No Blues” fulfilled that role in concert.

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In the early sixties, Miles played a piece similar to "Flamenco Sketches" calles "Teo" if I remember right, anyway it was a Spanish Mood and I think I heard it on some live Miles. 

I must admit the first "All Blues" I ever had heard was on a then en vogue sampler "Miles Davis Greatest Hits" and it was very fast. 

So when I heard "KOB" I was astonished how slow the tempo is on "All Blues". 

 

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2 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

In the early sixties, Miles played a piece similar to "Flamenco Sketches" calles "Teo" if I remember right, anyway it was a Spanish Mood and I think I heard it on some live Miles. 

I must admit the first "All Blues" I ever had heard was on a then en vogue sampler "Miles Davis Greatest Hits" and it was very fast. 

So when I heard "KOB" I was astonished how slow the tempo is on "All Blues". 

 

Aren't live versions of everything always faster?  (Anyone have suggestions for tunes that got slower when played live?  And I'm not just talking about Miles here.)

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2 hours ago, medjuck said:

Aren't live versions of everything always faster?  (Anyone have suggestions for tunes that got slower when played live?  And I'm not just talking about Miles here.)

Right, I couldn´t mention a slower live version. Maybe Dexter in later years: While ballads in the past mostly were done in a tempo similar to the popular singing version, later many musicians or musicians coming into age slowed down and some of his later live ballads were almost "standing time" so slow they were. 

But usually that´s true, live versions always fast: One example: I heard Mingus ´ Atlantic Albums from 1974-77 and also saw the live performances, all of it was much faster. "Remember Rockefeller at Attica" is fast enough on LP but really fast live 1975, Three or Four Shades of the Blues is much faster on his 1977 European tour, and there are many more.....

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But didn't the ballads get slower for the Lost Quintet, and maybe a little before them? Seems like at some point they slowed down to almost dirge tempos, the better to tear apart with further metric extrapolations.

But that's a memory, not an assertion of fact.

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9 hours ago, JSngry said:

But didn't the ballads get slower for the Lost Quintet, and maybe a little before them? Seems like at some point they slowed down to almost dirge tempos, the better to tear apart with further metric extrapolations.

But that's a memory, not an assertion of fact.

We don’t have recordings of them playing many ballads - to my knowledge only “I Fall in Love too Easily” and “Round Midnight” (and “Sanctuary”, I suppose). Both of these opened as Chick-Miles duets, at a slow rubato. Something the 1967 quintet did too. Though “Round Midnight” shifted to a fast tempo when Wayne’s solo came.

22 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

In the early sixties, Miles played a piece similar to "Flamenco Sketches" calles "Teo" if I remember right, anyway it was a Spanish Mood and I think I heard it on some live Miles. 

What makes “Flamenco Sketches” unique is the approach to improvisation on the original recording - each of the soloists cycles through a series of scales. Miles repeated that technique on the studio recording of “Spanish Key” (though not, IIRC, on “Neo”/“Teo”).

That kind of very “scripted” approach to improvisation was not something that Miles did in concert.

Edited by Guy Berger
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20 minutes ago, Guy Berger said:

a) We don’t have recordings of them playing many ballads - to my knowledge only “I Fall in Love too Easily” and “Round Midnight” (and “Sanctuary”, I suppose). Both of these opened as Chick-Miles duets, at a slow rubato. Something the 1967 quintet did too. Though “Round Midnight” shifted to a fast tempo when Wayne’s solo came.

b) What makes “Flamenco Sketches” unique is the approach to improvisation on the original recording - each of the soloists cycles through a series of scales. Miles repeated that technique on the studio recording of “Spanish Key” (though not, IIRC, on “Neo”/“Teo”).

That kind of very “scripted” approach to improvisation was not something that Miles did in concert.

ad a) yes you are right, ballads became much slower in the late 60´s , maybe as a contrast or as you say for a slow rubato between Miles and Chick and before that Herbie. 

Am I right if I noticed that starting at a certain point ballads, even if they were standard ballads would be played slower and slower. Right now this week I heard a usually fast trumpet player doin a very very slow version of "Darn that Dream". 
In my case, I also played ballads at very slow tempos, but somehow when I play a ballad now and I love to play a ballad, I always have the old vocal versions in mind, which never are that slow, because even the  best singer get´s out of breath I suppose. 

ad b) yeah "Spanish Key !!!! Fantastic ! But if my memory is right, that "Neo or Teo" thing also changes the key from f-minor to D-natural (but in that Spanish mood). I have not listened to it for ages but I think if some guy on stage might call it, it can be played very easily.....
The Flamenco Scatches from KOB I remember is very very slow, I had bought KOB when I was 16 or 17 but at that time I liked only "So What", "Freddie Freeloader" and "All Blues" though I had heard the 63/64 faster live versions before and liked them more since I was such a fan of Tony Williams.....

Last thought: I remember somewhere in 2008-2010 or so was the 50years aniversary of KOB and I just visited my Mother who was 88 or so at the time and she always had those very little transistor - radios that she hold to her ear, and she holds it to my ear and says: You hear this ? It´s wonderful ! And it was the Flamenco Scatches.....

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Peter Losin’s database has these recordings for the tune (fewer than I expected, only 10)…

October 26, 1956 Rudy van Gelder Studio, Hackensack My Funny Valentine 5:56
September 9, 1958 Persian Room, Plaza Hotel, New York My Funny Valentine 10:25
July 26, 1963 La Pinède, Juan-les-Pins My Funny Valentine 9:54
February 12, 1964 Lincoln Center, New York My Funny Valentine 14:54
July 14, 1964 Shinjuku Kohseinenkin Hall, Tokyo My Funny Valentine 12:41
October 1, 1964 Salle Pleyel, Paris My Funny Valentine 12:24
October 11, 1964 Teatro dell' Arte, Milan My Funny Valentine 11:47
December 22, 1965 Plugged Nickel Club, Chicago My Funny Valentine 16:40
December 23, 1965 Plugged Nickel Club, Chicago My Funny Valentine 13:59
May 21, 1966 Oriental Theatre, Portland My Funny Valentine 11:33
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I'd have expected more as well...but that group was doing it with the rubato-ish opening as well.

Are those Losin listings all the recoding in that timespan? Or are there other shows where they didn't play it?

I would not expect there to be any with the sextet...but with the Hank group, maybe.

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17 hours ago, JSngry said:

When did they stop playing Funny Valentine? Whenever that was, before they stopped playing it, it had slowed down in its initial exposition.

You are right: While the jazz standards and originals would get faster and faster, they few ballads got slower and slower.

Is it possible, that this could have been a kind of "emancipation", I mean you get away from the original speed and feeling of  a song ? In the 40´s and 50´s ballads usually where played in a "slow fox" manner. Monk kept that as long as he played until the 70´s . And if you hear the Messengers do an "Ballad Medley" it´s the same. 
I suppose, ballads initially were meant for singers, and no singer would do "Valentine" in such a slow tempo. 

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On 9/30/2022 at 5:46 AM, JSngry said:

I'd have expected more as well...but that group was doing it with the rubato-ish opening as well.

Are those Losin listings all the recoding in that timespan? Or are there other shows where they didn't play it?

I would not expect there to be any with the sextet...but with the Hank group, maybe.

There are a bunch of other recordings in that period where they don’t play it.

(Though the recorded evidence is patchy and biased - maybe they played it more often than these recordings indicate.)

JSngry - you’re totally right that the very slow intro thing goes back at least to 1964 (and continued through 1970).

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On 9/29/2022 at 7:57 AM, RiRiIII said:

If only Bert Stern had filmed the Miles Davis Sextet at Newport 1958 for the Jazz on a Summer's Day film...

There are out-takes from the film at the Schomberg Library. Not cataloged yet so there is still a possibility. I was looking for film of Booker Little...

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17 hours ago, JSngry said:

Ballads we're originally meant for dancing. 

That´s it ! I even HAD couples from the audience dance to let´s say "Polka Dots and Moonday" etc......, it´s not usually for jazz nowadays but nice, you see that the music reaches people in different manners....... and wasn´t one Hank´s Mobley original titled "My Groove - Your Move"......? 

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