My introduction to Miles Davis was Bitches Brew. The cover blew my mind & the contents were challenging, exciting & inspiring. He was already a legendary jazz master now breaking new sound with the dense soundscapes he created on Brew. He was a constant innovator up to his death. Purists were disappointed often, hip-hop, trip-hop & techno were inspired.
In my collections are stand-alone’s & a couple of mp3 collections Birth of Cool; Mp3: Best of Blue Note/Kind of Blue/with Stitt Mp3: Miles/Cookin’/Relaxin’/Steamin’/ Workin’/Allen/Somethin’ Else; ‘Round About Midnight; Mp3 Blue Haze/Live in Stockholm’60 Stitt Carnegie61/Siesta/Live Evil/Under Arrest; Sketches of Spain; Porgy & Bess; Milestones; Miles & Coltrane; Ballads; Some Day My Prince Will Come; Love Songs; My Funny Valentine 1 2; Quintet: 65-68 6cd; in a silent way 1 2 3; Bitches Brew 1 2 3 4; Agharta 1 2; TuTu; Live at Montreaux; Live Around The World; Tribute
Over the years I have added to my Bitches Brew considerably. From Birth of Cool, his early work as a big band sideman, his bop 50’s, his impressionist 60’s & then Brew & beyond. His big band work is sweet, state of the art; his bop is hard, exploratory but rarely strayed into dissonant free jazz (like Don Cherry) – he was always aware of harmony. With Kind of Blue, Silent Way he enters a different sonic sense & mood; Sketches of Spain takes him into impressionism. Working with Davis changed Coltrane. Blue, Silent & Sketches are amazing lps that everyone must at least hear if not own.
Like most jazz musicians of the time he did lps of pop music but these were never mere instrumental versions but complex explorations of themes and structure. The expanded CD sets of Quintets, Silent Way & Bitches Brew are amazing – out takes, alternate versions & things that didn’t make the lps versions of the time. Exhaustive & rewarding.
In Brew he expanded the use of studio in the same way the Beatles did with Sgt Pepper. Brew uses sampling, layering, looping in ways that changed how jazz is recorded, creating a path for groups like the Avalanches. Brew also blew the door open for jazz to rock out & launched Herbie Hancock, Mahvishnu John McLaughlin & others. I’m a fan.
Mike still had to repress the urge to warn others after he had had one of his mental flashes. In school the urgent need to warn got him into more trouble than it was worth. He was often seen as the cause of the event.
He remembered clearly the time he had called out to his grade four English teacher, Miss Beamly. In class she had pressed his arm while complimenting him on his essay. At her squeeze he’d seen her in a hospital bed, leg in a cast. After class he saw a car move towards her in the school parking lot and had called out.
The car missed her but she felt his look out call put her in greater risk.
Each time he had warned he had regretted it. He never knew what words would convey his meaning without seeming to be in on it somehow.
So now he suppressed the urge to warn. The events couldn’t be avoided. He’d also learned that. Miss Beamly broke her leg skiing later that winter.
For a time the flashes ceased but once he hit puberty they came back full force.
For a time he couldn’t handle objects others had handled lest he get a vision from them. The day he had used his older brother’s shaving lather, not that he had that much yet to shave at fifteen but his dad said practice makes growth.
That day he could barely hold the can of foam. He saw his brother in a fist fight with two other boys. Nose bloodied and laughing.
Later that day his brother came home bloodied.
‘What you staring at sook!’ his brother had snapped at him. ‘Someone’s gotta be the man around here and it sure as shit ain’t gonna be you. Is it?’
That hadn’t been something he’d foreseen. In fact he never saw anything for himself. Just for others. Others he was powerless to help. Pain he didn’t know how to avoid on their behalf. All he could do was wait to see it happen. Sometimes within hours, sometimes months later, an event would happen that he had seen would happened.