…..I have to wonder how many friendships have been forged over mutual love of Miles Davis’ album, Kind of Blue. The one I want to tell you about came to pass in an unlikely setting back during the winter of 1963…...
December 19th, 2018
I have been fortunate – thus far – to have avoided the many summer colds going around this season, but I have been afflicted, once again, by “Miles Fever.” Every so often, I am struck by an irresistible urge to dig into the catalog of this artist so present during virtually every season of my life, and rediscover the thrill of his sound, and of his cultural significance.
I contracted the virus this morning, and spent the morning (in bed, of course) listening to Miles Ahead, the 1957 recording featuring Miles Davis and 19 musicians under the direction of Gil Evans – his first collaboration with Miles since the Birth of the Cool sessions of 1950, and one of his earliest recordings for Columbia Records. An early example of...
July 23rd, 2018
An early interview I conducted as publisher of Jerry Jazz Musician was with Stephanie Stein Crease, whose 2002 biography of Gil Evans, Out of the Cool, was an illuminating history of a man the jazz writer Gary Giddins refers to as “one of the great figures in American music, a composer and orchestrator of breathtaking originality.”
In the interview, Crease talks of Evans’ life as having...
May 14th, 2018
Aaron Copland, the mid-century classical composer whose work was greatly influenced by American life, had an interest in jazz, particularly, as he told Don Gold in a May, 1958 Downbeat article “the marriage – the fact that the young jazzmen are composers, often bridging the gap between fields. “ He also had some sympathy for jazz musicians because “they have the same trouble getting a big audience we have.”
The article, titled “Aaron Copland: The Well-Known American Composer Finds Virtues and Flaws in Jazz,” is of special interest because...
April 13th, 2018
In a March 29 post on Slate, Fred Kaplan writes about the newly released bootleg recording of Miles Davis’ quintet (featuring John Coltrane), The Final Tour, a four-CD box set of live concerts in Europe from 1960. The tour happened a year after the release of Kind of Blue, so many of the tunes played during it is from that classic album. According the Kaplan, the music found on this Columbia/Legacy set is “radically different” and such a “jarring departure” from the album that “it demands we revise the conventional wisdom about these two musicians (Miles and Coltrane) and fills in some blanks…in the story of jazz, and where it was going, in those pivotal years.”
Kaplan’s essay includes a critique of the music itself – but of particular interest is his reminder of the...
April 1st, 2018
Recognized as jazz fusion’s most prominent drummer, he was a key contributor on some of the genre’s most successful early recordings – including with Miles Davis and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Who is he?
Go to the next page for the answer!...
February 3rd, 2018
Miles boils his bitches brew
in a night of worlds much blacker than black
His demons and angels let out slack
January 14th, 2018
In this June, 1964 Down Beat Blindfold Test hosted by pianist, composer, producer and journalist Leonard Feather — who created this famed feature and first published it in the late 1930’s in Melody Maker — the ears of Miles Davis are tested.
Although Feather writes in the introduction that Davis “does not have an automatic tendency to want to put everything down,” he appeared to be in rare form on this date. His remarks are brilliant, blistering, biting, sarcastic, insulting…and that’s just in his comments on the first record! Miles take aim at artists and record companies, musical styles and...
November 27th, 2017