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For the Artists: Critical Writing, Volume 2

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Miles Davis: The Complete On the Corner Sessions Sony-Legacy Music, October 2007 “There is no architecture and no build-up. Just a vivid, uninterrupted succession of colors, rhythms and moods." --Arnold Schoenberg, describing his Five Pieces for Orchestra in a letter to Richard Strauss, 1909, quoted in The Rest is Noise, Alex Ross (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007) The music Miles Davis forged in the first half of the 1970s, his so-called “electric period," is not jazz. In a determined effort to keep his sound fresh, he took the audacious step of leaving behind all ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Jazz Life: A Journey for Jazz Across America in 1960

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Jazz Life: A Journey for Jazz Across America in 1960 William Claxton and Joachim E. Berendt 552 ISBN: 3836544687 Taschen 2013 A single photograph can say and convene more than a thousand words. Although music itself can't be photographed, only a handful of photographers ever got closer to pulling it off than photographers such as Herman Leonard, William P. Gottlieb or William Claxton, to name but a few, whose photographs have captured music's inexplicable quality. Musicians and music photographers have always engaged in a special kind of dance mainly because they need ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Miles Davis, Volume 1 and 2 -- Blue Note 1501 and 1502

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Miles Davis didn't record much for Blue Note Records, just three sessions in three years. So it's odd that the very first two CDs in Blue Note's classic 1500 series--the 100 albums from the 1950s that made Blue Note the top label in hard bop--are from Miles Davis. They're not bad records, but they're not essential Miles Davis. This isn't classic muted Miles, or modal Miles, or Miles with orchestra. And, of course, it's many years before classic fusion Miles. AllMusic.com lists six definitive Miles Davis CDs, which you probably know by heart, and this isn't one of ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork

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Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork Scott Gutterman 204 ISBN: 978-1608872237 Insight Editions 2013 Few are the musicians in any era that accurately inhabit the word “superstar" in the sense that artist Andy Warhol used it. He defined a “superstar" as a person of style, influence and panache, a figure of endless charisma and on whom one's attention falls and rarely wanders. It could be said with certainty that trumpeter Miles Davis fits into that rare breed of superstars. He was a man of impeccable style and taste, and just like no ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Miles at the Fillmore - Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3

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It would have been inconceivable for Miles Davis in his post-sabbatical, 1980s reincarnation to have been billed as “an extra added attraction" on any festival or concert hall billing, but that's how it was when the trumpeter--already a legend--played his first ever gigs at the Filmore East, supporting Neil Young & Crazy Horse and the Steve Miller Band in March 1970. The initiative to stage Davis at the hallowed rock venue came from CBS President Clive Davis, no doubt with an eye to matching the enormous sales enjoyed by guitarist Carlos Santana in the aftermath of Woodstock. ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Miles Davis: Miles at the Fillmore - Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3

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Intensely intoxicating as much as it is wholly hypnotic, Miles Davis Live at the Fillmore becomes increasingly so through the course of its four compact discs. More than doubling the playing time of the original four-sided vinyl release, The Bootleg Series Vol. 3 posits an argument the band(s) of this era were among the finest ever led by the man with the horn. If that sounds hyperbolic, it's difficult not to rhapsodize about this archive series in general and this edition in specific, The similarities in the setlists evolve into an asset as the only slight rotation of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miles Davis: We Want Miles (Bonus Track Version)

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The audaciously titled We Want Miles has one of the more interesting histories in the catalog of trumpeter Miles Davis. Originally released by Columbia Records in 1982, it was not made widely available outside of Japan where it was recorded live in 1981. For those who managed to find it, it was both celebrated and vilified. This new reissue (with additional material) illuminates that debate. We Want Miles was the first live recording of Davis' return to music following a five-year health related sabbatical. His previous release, The Man with The Horn (Columbia, 1981), with un-Miles like pop orientation, was ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Miles Davis: Miles at the Fillmore - Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3

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By the time Bitches Brew (Columbia) was released in April, 1970--and despite receiving a 5-star review in Downbeat Magazine--trumpeter Miles Davis was already under fire from mainstream jazz critics as having “sold out," despite the densely constructed, improvisationally unfettered music being as unapproachable to an audience looking for accessible music as anything he'd done with his increasingly liberated second great quintet of the 1960s. Sure, there were rock rhythms and, perhaps more disturbingly to the delicate ears of its detractors, rock energy and volume, but if anyone was thinking “sellout," it certainly wasn't Columbia Records, who had no idea what ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Miles Davis’ Birth of The Cool: Origins of the Cool Jazz Movement

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Hands down the best name for a jazz album is Birth of the Cool. It doesn't make it to The 100 Greatest Jazz Albums of All Time nor is it among the Village Voice's Ten Jazz Albums to Hear Before You Die, yet the Miles Davis album, Birth of The Cool, was a pivot point in American jazz. The album became an orchestrated departure from bebop, with the word orchestrated meaning both the use of orchestration and a deliberate action. The collection's origins are a bit disjointed. It is a compilation album by the Miles Davis' ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Miles Davis: In a Silent Way

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"Miles' audience isn't where it used to be but neither is his music" was used to market the new releases of Miles Davis' indefatigably changing music in the late 60's that caused seismic shifts in the world of jazz and completely had redirected it into new and fresh territories. In a career that stretched five decades Miles Davis did more than just become a star--this enigmatic 20th century icon fused an astonishing array of different musical styles, refused to be musically anchored in one place, broke down racial barriers, while demonstrating that the work of classical composers such as Debussy ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miles Davis: Legendary Concerts

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Like the curate's egg, parts of trumpeter Miles Davis' 1980s recordings and performances were excellent, and others considerably less so. The 1985 Columbia album, You're Under Arrest--of which the CD/DVD set Legendary Concerts was a partial live performance, with one important personnel change--was the strongest of the early to mid 1980s albums, on which keyboardist Robert Irving 111's heavy on the back beat groove-arrangements, first heard on The Man With The Horn (Columbia, 1981), and Davis' increasingly minimalist playing, meshed most convincingly. Legendary Concerts was filmed at a performance in The Hague's Tuinpaviljoen in 1985 and is part ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Live in Europe 1969 The Bootleg Series Vol 2

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Volume 2 in Legacy's Bootleg Series features Miles Davis' “great lost band" with saxophonist Wayne Shorter, keyboardist Chick Corea, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette, recorded in July and November 1969. This band, sometimes called Davis' “third great quintet," never recorded as a standalone ensemble, although it served as the core of the larger group that consolidated around the trumpeter's landmark Bitches Brew sessions in August '69.While preparing Miles: The Autobiography, Davis told biographer Quincy Troupe: “After we finished In a Silent Way, I took the band out on the road: Wayne, Dave, Chick and Jack DeJohnette ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miles Davis Quintet: Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2

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It's little surprise that the recordings comprising Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 were captured in the wake of the recording of the jazz icon's seminal album In A Silent Way (Columbia, 1969) and prior to the release of the even more significant followup, Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970), in the spring of the following year.Miles Davis never waited around for reaction to his groundbreaking music in any era of his career and at this juncture, he was clearly so inspired that he aligned a skeleton crew of the many musicians who had appeared (and were ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Miles Davis Quintet: Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2

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While the quintet heard on this first-time commercial issue of four live dates from 1969 was, in fact, already uncovered on the November 4, 1969 Copenhagen concert DVD included in the Bitches Brew: 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition and Legacy Edition (both Columbia/Legacy, 2010) and a portion of Bitches Brew Live (Columbia/Legacy, 2011)--as well as in sextet form (with the addition of percussionist Airto Moreira) on Live at The Fillmore East, March 7, 1970: It's About That Time (Columbia/Legacy, 2001)--the performances documented on Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 demonstrate, perhaps, more than any previous live recordings, just ...



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