Saturday, January 25, 2014

Miles Davis overcame limitations to revolutionize jazz

I'm reading RICHARD COOK'S biographical discography (or discographical biography) "IT'S ABOUT THAT TIME: MILES DAVIS ON AND OFF RECORD" again for the first time in several years.
Early in his career, Davis played in the revolutionary BEBOP idiom of JAZZ, but Cook writes that the trumpeter and his sublime, middle-register style never really fit comfortably among his contemporaries.
Cook explains how the rigors of playing bebop delineated jazz players of the late 1940s:
"The musical language and style of bebop was, from the beginning, bitterly demanding on a musician's technique: That was part of its nature, devised by its principal architects -- Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke -- to keep lesser players in the shadows, and leave the stage to the real champions. When Charlie Parker came along, the idiom gained its most particular voice, a virtuoso whose musical grasp and intensity of delivery personified bop itself. Young musicians such as Davis were dazed and spellbound."
In his book, "KIND OF BLUE: THE MAKINGS OF THE MILES DAVIS MASTERPIECE," ASHLEY KAHN explains how Davis overcame his technical limitations on the trumpet to launch his own particular, influential sound:
"Miles could not launch into the virtuosic high-register fury of a Dizzy Gillespie, but he could plumb the emotional depths of a melody with economy and intensity."
Able to so fully explore melody with emotion, Davis was poised to begin his seemingly continual reinvention of jazz once bebop's initial popularity had waned by the mid-1950s.


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