Saturday, February 22, 2014

I've just completed a wonderful musical journey

I've finished reading RICHARD COOK'S "IT'S ABOUT THAT TIME: MILES DAVIS ON AND OFF RECORD," and with it a couple of weeks of immersing myself in the ever-progressing work of MILES DAVIS.
We have amassed a notable collection of Davis albums over the past decade or so, and I enjoyed listening to them in order during the course of the book, a biographical discography.
There was "BIRTH OF THE COOL," the nonet sessions that featured unique arrangements and helped launch the "cool jazz" movement.
There was "WALKIN'" and its relaunch of Davis after a period of drug-induced, limited activity.
The remarkable quintet recordings follow soon after, as Davis gathered John Coltrane and "The Rhythm Section" of Red Garland, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones.
The Gil Evans orchestral collaborations that began with "MILES AHEAD" remain some of the most beautiful musical pieces I have ever heard, and ever expect to hear.
"MILESTONES" and the modal style of "KIND OF BLUE" will forever remain musical landmarks, too.
I've always been a real musical geek, and I probably get more excited than I should for the George Coleman-era Davis group, the one inaugurated by "SEVEN STEPS TO HEAVEN."
The fabulous Wayne Shorter era follows and included the superb piano contributions of Herbie Hancock.
I've taken longer to warm to the "Electric Miles" period, but "A TRIBUTE TO JACK JOHNSON" is a powerful and fun listening experience. I can appreciate the other albums of that era as well.
We only have a handful of tracks from Davis' final period of music making, when he added his fabled trumpet sound to pop-jazz songs. I love his version of "Human Nature."
It's hard for me to believe, but we have 31 Miles Davis albums, not counting compilations featuring his work.
I enjoy them all for different reasons, and I'm thankful I've become so acquainted with them.


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