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2 Responses to “MILES DAVIS / “So What””

rich Says:
September 30th, 2007 at 8:52 pm

thanks for the great writing and insight. just a thought to continue the discussion about miles and trane – who was the ‘better’ bandleader?

     kalamu sez     

no contest. miles was the better band leader. now if you want to really start an argument ask the question who had the better band? as is to be expected, i’d vote for the classic coltrane quartet but of course there is a major argument to be made for the shorter/hancock/carter/williams quintet that miles led (or for that matter for miles’ trane/garland/chambers/jones quintet). i think trane’s classic quartet has the edge in influential album production. but you know this is the stuff of endless discussion/debate among jazzheads, fortunately for all of us, regardless of our opinion, we have both miles and trane to discuss. can we imagine jazz without miles and without trane?

rich Says:
October 1st, 2007 at 3:06 am

Who had the better band? very tough decision and you’re right, it is great not to have to make it. dropped an extract below from Hancock on Davis. He talks about ‘So what’ and gives some insight into Davis’ awesome ability to pull something together… Do you have a specific favorite memory of playing with him? One of the most important ones to me — we were playing, I believe, in Stuttgart, Germany. This might’ve been in 1965. It was one of those nights when the band was particularly on. I mean, it started with the first note. We were burning. And during the middle of "So What," Wayne Shorter played this great solo, Miles built his solo up to this peak, Tony Williams was firing away on drums, and we had the audience in the palm of our hands. Miles blows up to this peak, and all of a sudden I played this chord that was so . . . wrong [laughs] — it just came out of nowhere. I thought I’d destroyed the evening. It was horrible, and I was stuck with it, because I played it. Miles took a breath, and played some notes that made my chord right. It was like alchemy — "How did he do that?" Did you talk about it later? I probably did, but he probably gave me some strange answer [laughs]. But after many, many years, I figured out the answer myself. One of the great things about Miles was that when he played, he was not judgmental. If it happens, it was supposed to happen. He tried to figure out a way to make it work. I try to apply that to my music. And when I began practicing Buddhism, it clarified that this concept is not one that’s just relegated to music. This is a great lesson for life — to take circumstances, whatever they are, without judgment, and try to figure out how to make them work.

      kalamu sez     

speaking of "wrong notes" and making things right, and speaking of budhism, one of my favorite jazz stories is about monk who is reported to have said: there are no wrong notes, it all depends on what you put before it or put after it!

i believe the masters are the masters not because they are perfect or because they are always correct but rather because they accept all and work with the reality of what is, or as another master said, this time stevie wonder (and it helps to hear his cadence and how he emphasizes the different words): you GOT to WORK with WHAT you GOT!

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