Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Couple of Miles Davis Records

I haven't uploaded a record in a while and I was sort of struggling to figure out what to upload. I don't know why found it such a struggle but nothing sort of clicked. I wanted to get out of this funk, so, while perusing my itunes playlist and I came across an album that my friend Jacobo had shown me about five years ago. The album, Miles Davis's Agartha, had a particular effect on my guitar playing, the wailing, fuzzed out guitars of Pete Cosey really blew my mind. His playing really resonated with me, it was like, if you can imagine, an expressionist take on Hendrix, like if all of Hendrix's playing attributes were heightened, the tones and fuzz are more wild, more visceral, even less tamed. In fact the whole album is like this. The band weaves in and out of cosmic jungle jams; at times it's sloppy, it's crazy, but it's always trippy. It's no strange fact that Miles Davis was a huge Hendrix fan, he compared his improvisation skills to that of John Coltrane, and wanted his subsequent guitarists to emulate Jimi's playing style. The Miles Davis bands of the late 60's and early 70's might have sounded like the late Jimi Hendrix's bands had left the songs behind and proceeded to straight jam. It's a Hendrix band on amphetamines along with acid, double the rhythm section, and keep the break neck speeds and jamming going and going.

Miles Davis had a great number of psychedelic jazz-fusion records in the 1960's and 70's, including of course, Bitches Brew, Water Babies, On the Corner, and In a Silent Way. Another interesting album is before Miles went electric, Miles Smiles. This is when you can begin to hear the influence of rock and street music within Miles' music. The young band features Wayne Shorter on Sax, Herbie Hancock on piano, and the rhythm section of Ron Carter on bass and Tony Williams on drums, laying down some very funky grooves, at times it's almost four to the floor. These recordings are much tighter and focused than the later more visceral fusion recordings. This style of acoustic funky-jazz reached its apex with the album Filles de Kilimanjaro, before Miles dived full on into the age of electricity and never looked back.

I hope you enjoy these records as much as I have, they are an ever-constant flow of inspiration for me, and I can only hope you will begin to hear the genius of Miles Davis, easily one of the most important musicians of all time.





Ryan Kirk said...

This stuff is really awesome. Jacob and I have been listening to Black Beauty: Live at the Fillmore West a lot lately.

I just downloaded Electric Ladyland the other day too, I never really delved deep into Hendrix before. It's really good, way more psychedelic and 60s sounding tracks then I would have guessed from his radio hits.

Zachary Devereux Fairbrother said...

no shit!