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  1. #76
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Thanks, nobody. I'm glad it's helpful even if only a little. As I mentioned I felt this was the best way to get myself to really listen to this monster of a box set. Now that I'm about 1/3 of the way, I'm certain I made the right decision. I don't think it will turn me into any jazz expert, but it does deepen my appreciation, bit by bit; especially, as I try to listen until I have my own thoughts on the albums and try not to just parrot what has been written many times before. It's certainly an interesting journey for me to do this chronologically. I hope the site is still here before I get to the end!

    And thanks also, poppa. I found an NPR audio review of the Plugged Nickel set here. It certainly peaks my interests. The review highlights some interesting moments and certainly calls out the importance of the set. I'll keep my eyes out for it. Certainly it emphasizes that even the Complete Columbia don't capture Miles' output adequately. amazing. It looks like the next 5 albums in my series are all live concerts through 1965. I'll see if I can listen for the context to appreciate it as I proceed along.
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  2. #77
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    #19: In Europe (Live at the Antibes Jazz Festival, 1963)



    -A- -B-

    Introduction by Andre Francis
    Autumn Leaves
    Milestones
    I Thought About You
    Joshua
    All Of You
    Walkin'

    Line up:
    [i]
    Line up: Miles (trumpet), George Colman (tenor), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), Tony Williams (drums).

    It certainly has been a while since #18. Since then I have listened to no other Miles Davis album but for this one. Jazz fell off my radar for a long while due to lack of interest. I’ve had brief binges where I’ve cued this one up and listened to it a few times over a week and then put it away again. Each time, I’ve failed to find something to say about it. But, I’ve been recently hitting my jazz collection and even moving my dial from local NPR news talk radio to local NPR Jazz (WICN). WICN doesn’t always play what I want to hear, but I have to say they are about the most earnest and informative jazz station I’ve ever listened to. I really need to support them more.

    So. In the interest of advancing to #20. Here’s my comment on In Europe. If I were there in 1963 I would have been blown away. It’s a terrific line up and the selections are great. However, I still can’t find something in it to make me want to call it great. Is it possible to put great musicians, great performance, great set *(albeit non-surprising) together and still not achieve magic? Maybe it’s the recording? I can’t figure out why this doesn’t excite me more. Going from I Though About You to Joshua is probably the highpoint of the album for me.

    This is the first recorded performance of the group with Tony Williams (age 17 !!) on drums. Tony’s great. Really amazing. Everyone is great. Technically, probably amazing. It’s a solid performance. I'm giving it 3 noddin's but feel like it should be 4.

    2 part links on mediafire, you’ll need them both

    Next up: My Funny Valentine – Miles Davis in Concert (1964)
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  3. #78
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    #20: My Funny Valentine - Miles Davis in Concert (1964)




    My Funny Valentine
    All Of You
    Stella By Starlight
    All Blues
    I Thought About You


    Line up:
    [i]
    Line up: Miles (trumpet), George Colman (tenor), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), Tony Williams (drums).

    Same Line up at #19, recorded about 7 months later in the Lincoln Center as a benefit concert for voter registration in Mississippi and Louisiana and sponsored by the NAACP Defense Fund, The Congress for Racial Equality, and the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee. According to the booklet:

    “Just before going on stage, Miles informed his companions that the quintet’s purse would go to the three civil rights organizations supporting voter registration of Blacks in the the South. The musicians contested this charitable gesture forced upon them. Miles, who liked to provoke his collaborators, never doubted that the concert’s intensity originated in the musicians’ negative feelings.”

    I’d recommend this album. Well recorded, well played. Good set of standards and a full 60 minutes of long tracks. As per usual, I listened to it casually probably a dozen or more times, but it really took a dedicated close listen to really appreciate it. I’ll attribute this to a generally more subdued and understated tone that was, however, well executed.

    To me, My Funny Valentine is an odd jazz standard but one I always find myself absorbed in when I hear it. Searching. Moody. Full of longing. Shot through with awkward tenderness. This is a nice recording. For this track and the concert I think Herbie on piano brings the magic to the show. It’s quite possible I’m getting tired of Miles, but I didn’t find him terribly engaging on the opening track. Certainly he was good; just wasn’t emotive enough.
    However, the rest of the band was solid. Herbie, Ron Carter and George Colman give the album plenty of soul. Tony Williams is a phenomenon but working behind the scenes here.
    All of You is OK. It takes up quite a chunk of the album and might be the weakest of the set.
    Stella By Starlight is a winner; possibly the one track where Miles shines appropriately, especially his soaring intro phrases in the first couple minutes. Nice and emotional before easing back off into a swing and letting the band take it. Tony and Herbie keep the rhythms interesting in the background. George has a nice solo, followed by HH etc.
    A good up tempo All Blues, another standard that I never tire of. Some fire-y licks throughout.
    The closer, I Thought About You is a tender one.

    256vbr

    Next up: 'Four' & More – Recorded Live in Concert (1966)
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  4. #79
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    #21: ’Four’ & More – Recorded Live in Concert (released 1966)




    So What
    Walkin'
    Joshua
    Go-Go (Theme And Announcement)
    Four
    Seven Steps To Heaven
    There Is No Greater Love
    Go-Go (Theme And Announcement)


    Line up:

    Line up: Miles (trumpet), George Colman (tenor), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), Tony Williams (drums).


    I started spinning this one and my first thought was, “Wow, this is a sharp departure from that previous concert release (My Funny Valentine).” The band is uptempo, they really seem to be challenging each other, everyone sounds on their toes. For example, the moody So What from Kind of Blue gets a blistering treatment to start the album. Then I looked at the notes and saw that, huh… this release is from the exact same concert—recorded live at Philharmonic Hall, Lincoln Center, NYC on Feb. 12, 1964…benefit for voter registration… a completely different album? What’s the heck?

    Columbia released 60 minutes of ballads from the set in 1965 and then released the uptempo stuff here a year later.

    Still, This disk is a ‘must have’ album in my book.
    I can’t help but think that the 2 hour concert would be fantastic to hear in the order is was played. I did a little Googling and found that it’s actually pretty hard to get the whole concert. From this nice blog about this concert (worth the read as it really puts context on these albums. For the record, all the quoted texts below are from this blog - LINK> Miles Davis Quintet - The Complete Concert, 1964

    “CBS did not do very well in the way they released this music. Neither “My Funny Valentine” and “Four and More” nor “The Complete Concert, 1964” (which bundles “My Funny Valentine” and “Four and More”) allows the listener to hear the whole concert. At some point, perhaps desperate for album releases from Miles Davis at a time when he was reluctant to comply, Columbia extracted for release as “My Funny Valentine” most of the ballad material from the concert. The more up tempo material was extracted and released as “Four and More”. Along the way the version of “Autumn Leaves” was not released. (Perhaps this was in response to the release of versions of this song in the earlier live recordings of the quintet). So “The Complete Concert, 1964” could rightly be called the ” Almost Complete Concert”. Indeed the only way of hearing the entire concert is to invest in the seven CD box set “Seven Steps: Complete Columbia Recordings 1963-1964” (released on Columbia Legacy) and to listen to discs 4 and 5.” link

    The blog is worth the read as it really puts context on these albums. For the record, all the quoted texts come from it - Miles Davis Quintet - The Complete Concert, 1964


    The Complete Concert, 1964 lists the track order as:
    Part 1: Introduction [Mort Fega], [Autumn Leaves], So What, Stella by Starlight, Walkin', All of You, The Theme;
    Part 2: Introduction [Billy Taylor], All Blues, My Funny Valentine, Joshua, I Thought About You, Four, Seven Steps to Heaven, There is No Greater Love, The Theme

    I may just have to make my own virtual ‘almost’ complete concert. It’s still a shame to leave off Autumn Leaves though.

    From the my previous post you’ll recall that Miles agreed to play for free and didn’t consult the band…
    As Miles recalled: “When we came out to play, everybody was madder than a motherxxxxxx with each other and so I think that anger created a fire, a tension that got into everybody’s playing, and maybe that’s one of the reasons everybody played with such intensity.” link

    The result…
    Miles Davis: “We just blew the top off that place that night. It was a motherxxxxxx the way everybody played – and I mean everybody…… George Coleman played better that night than I have ever heard him play…….” link

    Like I say ‘must have’. Actually the ‘almost’ complete would be the real must have. But this is really good.

    About 15 years ago I came to the realization that I was a Tony Williams fanboy and didn’t know it. I never really paid much attention to drums and rhythm. I certainly didn’t have a foundation for appreciation. Then, if I remember right, I was seated close to Brian Blades at Yoshi’s in Oakland and had a holy-sh*t-that’s-what-an-amazing-drummer-does revelation. From there it wasn’t long before I discovered that a lot of the Davis and Hancock jazz that grips me has Tony Williams sparkling away. Tony sounds like some omniscient octopus floating gems of rhythm in all directions at once. Master of the ride cymbal. And, here in this concert is Tony Williams in his TEENS.

    “The new driving force of the quintet was the discovery of drummer Tony Wiliams: “He just lit a big fire under everyone in the group….. I was beginning to realize that Tony and this group could play anything they wanted to. Tony was always the centre that the group’s sound revolved around. He was something else, man…..Tony played to the sound, and he played real hip, slick **** to the sounds he heard. He changed the way we played every night and played different tempos for every sound every night. Man, to play with Tony Williams you had to be real alert and pay attention to everything he did or he’d lose you in a second…… All of this from a seventeen-year–old who nobody had heard of before the beginning of the year… nobody ever played with me as Tony did. I mean it was scary, but then Ron Carter and Herbie Hancock and George Coleman weren’t no slouches either, so I knew we had a good thing going.” link

    On toes describes this album.

    256vbr

    Next up is another live one recorded the same year 1964 but released in 1969.

    Next up: Miles in Tokyo (1969)
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  5. #80
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    #22: Miles in Tokyo – Miles Live in Concert (1969)

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    Introduction by Teruo Isono
    If I Were a Bell
    My Funny Valentine
    So What
    Walkin’
    All of You
    Go-Go (The Theme)

    Line up:

    Line up: Miles (trumpet), Sam Rivers (tenor), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), Tony Williams (drums).


    I need to move on. I stalled out on this album way back. I’ve listened to it on and off. Various bits written about this album highlight the replacement of George Colman on tenor with Sam Rivers as an effort by Miles to up the risk taking in the band. For the followers of line ups, we’re currently one member away from the ‘second great quintet’ that will come into being with Wayne Shorter on tenor. Apparently, Coltrane had recommended Shorter to Miles but when Colman left Shorter wasn’t available. According to my booklet:

    The young rhythm section of the quintet dreamed of a saxophonist more avid to join them in their audacity, and Tony William recommended Eric Dolphy. Miles found the playing of this young avant-garde musician careless and lacking in elegance. He let himself be persuaded to hire Sam Rivers whose musical tastes were still ambiguous; although he was three years older than Miles, Rivers still had the body of his work ahead of him. Rivers had grown up with bop, but showed an inclination for free jazz, which he never abandoned. In his company, Miles visited Japan for the first time and showed a special respect for Japanese audience, for whom he temporarily gave up his habit of leaving the stage during other musicians’ solos. Some even saw in this deference, an explanation for the moderation of the quintet’s risk-taking. The remarks that Sam Rivers made on the bebop nature of the group—although he himself seemed relatively conventional—corroborated the hypothesis of a lack of understanding between two avant-gardes, each indifferent to the other and each with a different perspective. Their confrontation, however, remains no less gripping.

    To make a long story short. This is marked as a transitional line up and, despite the suggestion of shaking things up, this album doesn’t come across as much of a departure to me. I kept trying to hear some of this departure and couldn’t find it. It’s a good recording and a decent date. Fine versions of My Funny Valentine and So What and a solid performance overall.


    I’m giving one more listen while browsing comments on the web. A few point to Rivers entry on If I Were a Bell as being a bit more avant-garde than the band was expecting. With that in mind I can hear how he frees the phrasing up to a point where the band sort of stalls out…almost. His phrasing, in retrospect does contrast with Miles’ more straight up intro. Actually, Rivers solo midway on So What starts out mostly conventional but then does shred and howl (starts at 3min, but then rips starting 3:45). The bands seems a little shell-shocked while trying to recover at 4:30, poor Herbie isn't sure where to go after that brief fire storm. I don't know how I missed this before. This leads me to concede that I’m not a scholar of Miles, and if I were I’d hear a lot more than I do.

    So, comments along the lines of how Rivers ‘nudged’ the band in a future direction are probably spot on. If you listen hard you can hear the nudge. Casually, it’s easy to miss.

    256vbr

    Next up is another live one recorded two months later, the same year 1964, but released in 1965 (four years earlier) than in Tokyo.

    Next up: Miles in Berlin (1965)
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