70s Miles Davis and fusion: brilliant or boring?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike Broadman, Apr 17, 2002.

  1. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Yep, I've decided to bring up an old argument in the music world. Though I've listened to Bitches Brew and In A Silent Way for a while now, I've just started to get into some of Miles' work after that. Live-Evil, Black Beauty, and today I picked up On The Corner.

    This stuff is quite daunting. It certainly has a lot of energy, you can't deny that. On the one hand, a lot of it seems incredibly simple, something I'm not used to from Miles. Yet, it can be very hard to listen to. Overall, though, I'm enjoying it. It's very hypnotic. I find that I like it more if I listen more passively. That is, with his acoustic music, I really dig in to it and like to snap up all the little details. With the electric stuff, it sounds better if I take it as a whole, greater than the sum of its parts.

    And there are lots of crazy noises.

    NP: Frank Zappa, Civilisation Phase III , CD, which is also some really weird and confusing stuff.
     
  2. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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    Mike, I really enjoy Miles Davis a lot, I have a lot of his earlier stuff.

    All of my Jazz material is on vinyl, it sounds simply amazing. If you enjoy Jazz, check out a great Tenor sax player, Gene Ammons-Boss Tenor album, or Johnnie Griffin-The little Giant. Don't forget Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane.
     
  3. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    I have the Special Edition(anniversary) of Bitches Brew, that is about as far as I have went with him. I have always found this album both brilliant and important. He IS the birth of modern fusion. Without that album, there wouldn't be Return to Forever or Weather Report. I feel it had that much impact (imo, of course).

     
  4. Chris Madalena

    Chris Madalena Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Mike,

    Check out the "Tribute to Jack Johnson" cd. It's pretty good. I believe John McLaughlin is on there. There's also a cd out called "Panthalassa: The Music of Miles Davis 1969-1974" by Bill Laswell. It's a "remix" of that period's recordings. He does it in a very tasteful way. I love it, and every Miles fan I've played it for loves it too.

    N.P. Bill Bruford's Earthworks- "Footloose and Fancy Free Live in London." AWESOME!!
     
  5. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Chris, I actually just got the Jack Johnson the other day. The first track is really nice, the second is a little slow.

    I do plan on getting the remix CD, but after getting the regular albums first.

    The SACD of Live-Evil is cool and I will get the Black Beauty SACD also (I already have the regular CD).

    I also plan on getting the Earthworks CDs, as I'm starting to collect as much as I can from DGM. There's also a DVD out.

    Goddamn, why is there so much good music out there?!

    NP: Frank Zappa, The Perfect Stranger, CD
     
  6. Chris Madalena

    Chris Madalena Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike, I can't wait for that Bruford DVD to arrive in my mailbox!! I don't think it comes out til the 23rd. I'd RUN to the store and buy the new earthworks disc. It's my new favorite jazz cd in a long time. Great recording and spectacular performance. Best 20 bucks I've spent in weeks.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. PaulHeroy

    PaulHeroy Stunt Coordinator

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    One word: Agharta. And Pangaea.
    Ok, two words: Agharta, Pangaea. And... nah, no Monty Python today. [​IMG]
    These 2 recordings, both 2 CD live sets like many of the 70's releases from Miles, were made in Japan in 1975 just before Miles "retired" for 5 years. They are uber fusion, a mix of funk/rock/African/jazz/minimalist groove that has often been admired, sometimes attempted but never matched. IMO, natch. There are many jazz fans and Miles fans who draw a line at 1969: thou shalt have no electric instruments. Horse pucky, say I; he still made incredible music from 1969-1975. The real line is 1980, when he just played pop songs and other people's compositions because of disagreements with record companies.
    Anyway, yeah. I love 70's Miles. I'm not a purist, and this era is about as mongrel as it gets, but it's filled with gems. The worst I can say is that 3-4 steps removed there was some pretty lame fusion that come out, and then it got watered down even more and spawned that abomination hellmusic, "smooth jazz".
    Interestingly enough, there has been a resurgence in the last 5 years of electronics being used by jazz musicians coming from the traditional side of jazz. Medeski Martin & Wood is the archetype; I was just talking to a friend about how their association with the "jam band" scene leads some to write them off as a strictly groove/jam band, but they are seriously so much more. (Check their Live at Tonic CD on Blue Note, which ranges from boppish to soul jazz to Cecil Taylor and more.) And I think it all goes back to Miles opening that door, grooving and mixing different elements that you're "not supposed" to mix, but showing that there was something appealing to both the booty and the brain.
    That's my ramble and I'm sticking to it! [​IMG]
     
  8. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  9. PaulHeroy

    PaulHeroy Stunt Coordinator

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