Posts filed under “Digital Media”
Until his death in 1991, Miles Davis was one of the longest and strongest personal currents running through jazz music. There were well over 100 albums issued over the course of his career. He played with — and developed – some of the greatest talent jazz has seen. Band alumni include, Philly Joe Jones, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJonette, Branford Marsalis, John Scofield, Mike Stern, and well –- a ton of other great players. Basically, Miles was, is and will continue to be a personification of jazz.
Miles’ style embodied warmth, sophistication, romance and a deep sense of melody. Miles could strip a musical line down to its barest elements and phrase it in manner that was unforgettable. He also had an uncanny ability to use silence; Miles may be perhaps best remembered for what he didn’t play as what he did. His playing reminds me of a great piece of advice given to me: “never pass up an opportunity to shut the hell up.” In addition, Miles was always looking for something new. He tired of the old way of doing things quickly and wanted to hear new sounds. As a result, he was usually surrounded by young musicians who challenged him and forced him into new directions.
Before I look at some albums, there is a great book on Miles called, well, Miles. It’s a great read. Miles talked to the writer for a long time, and it shows. The author covers pretty much Miles’ whole life up until when the book was written. There’s some great information on the birth of jazz, and all of Miles’ great line-ups. I am a big fan of oral history, and this book is a great example of why. It is well worth the read. (If you like this, also check out Dizzy Gillespie’s To Be or Not to Bop).
As I mentioned above, Miles put out over 100 albums. I’m not going to look at them all. In fact, I’m going to talk about albums that aren’t the most popular Miles albums like Sketches of Spain, Birth of Cool and Kind of Blue. Don’t get me wrong – these are great albums. However, I usually make a little fun of these albums because yuppies have them as their “jazz section usully next to Kenny G. (which unfortunately gets more play). Instead, I’m going to focus on albums that are a bit less popular because there is a ton of great music on them.
So, let’s start with a collection of three albums that contain a ton of standards: Steamin’, Workin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet and Relaxin’ With Miles. These albums stand out for several reasons. First, they offer a great overview of how Miles and his groups approached standards like If I Were A Bell, Woddy’N You, In Your Own Sweet Way, Salt Peanuts and Well, You Needn’t. These are all part of the jazz language and Mile’s take is very interesting.
Secondly – this is a classic rhythm section of Philly Joe Jones, Red Garland and Paul Chambers. But perhaps most importantly, John Coltrane is playing tenor sax and even on these early albums you can hear his style – bold and fluid -– emerging.
In the mid-1960s Miles put together one of the greatest jazz Quintets of all time. Wayne Shorter was on tenor sax, Herbie Hancock was on piano, Tony Williams was on drums Ron Carter was on bass and Miles was on trumpet. They played and wrote some of the most evocative acoustic jazz ever. Hancock and Shorter emerged as premiere composers whose work significantly stretched the language of jazz. And the interaction between the musicians was phenomenal.
There is a boxed set titled “Miles Davis Quintet” 1965-1968” which has six discs of incredible music. This is the outer limits of acoustic jazz and it is amazing listening.
Miles is credited with ushering in the electric age in jazz with the album Bitches’ Brew. However, my personal favorite electric album is Decoy, issued in 1984. It contains far more realized compositions and crisper production. Once again Miles surrounds himself with a group to then much younger musicians such as Al Foster, Darryl Jones, Branford Marsalis and John Scofied. This is considered Miles’ comeback album.
Finally, is my favorite live album: Miles Davis Paris France. This was issued on Moon Records – a European label. The concert occurred on October 1, 1964. The album starts with applause (because the French actually appreciate jazz in large numbers) followed by silence. Then Herbie starts with some wonderful chords that move up the register. This is followed by more silence. Then Miles hits one of his patented scaler runs and the band comes in. The song is Stella by Starlight and the band is in amazing form. They move through Stella with incredible skill. And that’s just the opener. It gets better from there.
That’s about it. I have really only scratched the surface of Miles’ recorded legacy. There are a ton of great albums I haven’t mentioned. But hopefully it will give you a place to start for looking a bit deeper into Miles’ discography.
Thanks, Hale, great job. videos after the jump . . .
Miles Davis Wikipedia
Miles Ahead: A Miles Davis Website
This is my annoyance of the moment: Why are DVDs a DRM-locked proprietary platform? When I purchase one, why can’t I use this on a convenient, portable device such as my iPod?
What a pain in the arse it is to rip a DVD: Frist, you need to use several products (MP4
Converter, Handbrake, Ripper); 2nd, it takes forever. 3rd, and its illegal to do so.
What brought this about recently was The Simpson’s Movie — actually, more of an extended 90 minute episode. I saw it with my nephews (with me snoozing thru parts of it).
However, going through the extras, I started listening to producer/writer commentary. Unbelievably entertaining stuff, like a terrific radio show with several very funny people cracking each other up. I would have liked to put on the iPod for the train, but no such luck.
I can rip the basic movie, but not the special audio commentary. Anyone have a clue how to do that?
The Complete Guide to Converting DVDs to iPod Format
iLounge, November 21, 2005
Rip DVDs To Your Mac To View On AppleTV And iPod.
Mac360, Friday, April 13, 2007
When it comes to music, I normally try to do the heavy lifting around here — writing about and recommending a new or beloved artist, or discussing whatever it is I happen to be listening to at the moment.
Tonite, something a little different.
I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU GUYS — What’s new and interesting? What old favorites have been replaying? What are you listening to right now? What concerts are you going to — or hoping to see?
What say ye?
UPDATE: Februrary 22, 2008 9:42am
Wow, thats quite a list!
TBP readers are quite an eclectic bunch;
All of the various FNJ recs readers made can be found here;
Most of the discs mentioned are linked to via Amazon or MySpace or some other site (after the jump):
By now, you should have some feel for my taste in music, and the wide ranging and eclectic flavors that live on my iPod. But unless you are a fool or a wizened old pro, any attempt at doing a Friday Night Jazz on Billie Holiday is likely to fall flat on its face.
Lucky for us, Nat Hentoff — formerly the Music critic of the Village Voice, and now the Jazz columnist of the WSJ is just such an old pro. In this week’s WSJ, he looked at a few new reissues of Lady Day’s music:
"Billie must have come from another world," said Roy
Eldridge, often heard accompanying her on trumpet, "because nobody had
the effect on people she had. I’ve seen her make them cry and make them
happy." Lady Day, as tenor saxophonist Lester Young named Billie
Holiday, still has that effect through the many reissues of her
recordings, including the recently released "Lady Day: The Master Takes
and Singles" of the 1933-44 sessions (Columbia/Legacy, available on
Amazon) that established her in the jazz pantheon.
I grew up listening to those sides, which infectiously
demonstrated — as pianist Bobby Tucker, her longtime pianist, noted –
that "she could swing the hardest in any tempo, even if it was like a
dirge . . . wherever it was, she could float on top of it." But none of
the previous reissues, as imperishable as they are, have as intense a
presence of Lady as in the truly historic new five-disc set "Billie Holiday: Rare Live Recordings, 1934-1959" on Bernard Stollman’s ESP-Disk label.
This is a model for future retrospectives of classic
jazz artists of any era because researcher and compiler Michael
Anderson, in his extensive liner notes, provides a timeline of her jazz
life — describing the circumstances of each performance in the context
of her evolving career. One example: a live radio remote from Harlem’s
Savoy Ballroom in 1937 when the 22-year-old singer "began a special
association with her comrade, ‘The Prez,’ Lester Young" — grooving
with the Count Basie band in "Swing Brother Swing."
As far as albums go, there are lots of choices, but they pretty much come down to a) Boxed Sets; 2) Early work; 3) Later years.
If you want to start with something basic, go for A Musical Romance - agreat duet with Holiday and her long time friend and msucial collaborator, Lester Young. You can also go to the 2 disc All or Nothing at All. The 2 CD Complete Decca Recordings is also quite good.
The set Hentoff refers to above is the 5 disc set Rare Live Recordings, 1934-1959
Students of her latter work will be interested in:
Videos after the jump . . .
We’ve mentioned Jack Johnson many times over the years.
I was surprised this week, when not one, but 4 copies of Sleep Through The Static arrived in the mail from Amazon.com (AMZN).
I thought it was an ordering glitch, but actually, its a bit of a flaw in their wish lift system. I ordered a copy for myself, and several of you sent it as a holiday present. But because the CD wasn’t released until last week, I never removed it from the wish list.
You would figure that Amazon would/should pull a wish list item once its been ordered and sent to the wish list holder’s address.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to listening to this — thank you for the gift(s)!
click for Video
Taylor (from On And On)
amusing video with Ben Stiller