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Ascenseur pour l'échafaud...

Trailer of Louis Malle's film Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows, France 1957), featuring Jeanne Moreau and the original soundtrack by Miles Davis.
This is not Electric Miles, but one of the highest points in the Music/Music for films history, and deserves a little space here too...

Ascenseur pour l'echafaud 2

Miles Davis playing 'Generique' in Louis Malle's Ascenseur pour l'echafaud, 1957 plus an interview with the director. Sadly, one of the most perfect pieces of music ever has been used for a shitty TV ad. That's the world, folks...

Bill Laswell & Miles Davis

"Miles post mortem". Un court documentaire de Pierre-Yves Borgeaud sur le producteur Bill Laswell qui remixe (recontruction & mix translation) dans son studio à Brooklyn les bandes originales de Miles Davis 1969-1974 pour l'album "Panthalassa". Diffusé dans ler magazine Tracks, Arte (1998, 5').

Electric Miles' Era - The Music of 1969

Harvey Brooks talks of Bitches Brew

Harvey Brooks played Electric Bass on the Miles Davis classic, Bitches Brew. In this edition of his "View from the Bottom," video blog, Harvey shares his memories of Miles, and the session itself.

Miles Davis live at the Teatro Sistina, Rome, October 27, 1969

Miles Davis (trumpet)
Chick Corea (keyboards)
Wayne Shorter (saxophone)
Dave Holland (bass)
Jack DeJohnette (drums)

Disc 1 (first set)
1. Directions (J. Zawinul) 6:51
2. Directions/This 4:31
3. This (C. Corea) (incomplete) 5:02
4. ‘Round Midnight (B. Hanighen-C. Williams-T. Monk) 10:47
5. I Fall in Love Too Easily (S. Cahn-J. Styne) 1:47
6. Masqualero (W. Shorter) (with applause) 12:17

Disc 2 (second set)
1. Bitches Brew (M. Davis) 15:06
2. Miles Runs the Voodoo Down (M. Davis) 15:08
4. Agitation (M. Davis) 8:16
4. I Fall in Love Too Easily (S. Cahn-J. Styne) 2:06
5. Sanctuary (W. Shorter-M. Davis) 3:44

FM radio broadcast

Info Only

Bookshelf: Miles by Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 15, 1990)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0671725823
ISBN-13: 978-0671725822
Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches

by Mike Zwerin

It's too bad "Miles," the autobiography of Miles Davis, wasn't a compact disc. There's some good shit there but...please excuse the four-letter word. Reading this book gets you accustomed to being in their company. You would like to be able to program only half the tracks.

"Miles," though written "with" Quincy Troupe, does not lean on a ghost. It does not go begging for the mass market and it is anything but one of those "I love everybody and everybody loves me" puff jobs.

The musical passages deserve to be collected into a pamphlet for required reading in conservatories. There's material about racism in music that everybody knows but few people come out and say. The progammable half also contains some stranger than fiction information about colleagues and stars and ex-wives and girlfriends. There's enough gossip and sex, drugs and violence for one and all.

But you would expect somebody called the "Prince of Silence" to choose his words with more care. He calls it "no respect" when Ornette Colemen first "tried to play trumpet and violin. ...He couldn't play either one of those instruments. That was an insult to people like me and Diz [Gillespie]. I certainly wouldn't walk up on stage and try to play saxophone if I couldn't play." Whatever happened to the benefit of the doubt?

"Miles" is riddled with redundancy (we are told he learned phrasing from Frank Sinatra and Orson Welles at least three times), unnecessary detail ("'Freddie Freeloader' was a song named after this black guy I knew who was always seeing what he could get from you for free") and crippled prose ("my only connection with the outside world was mostly through watching television"). All of it buried under a heavy load of scatology.

Lenny Bruce taught us that there are no dirty words, just dirty minds. But the tone here is sour; sheer quantity offends. Irony, ambiguity and grace rarely enter the picture. The relationship of spoken to written words is like that of live improvisation to a recording. This reads like the first take of a master who doesn't want to bother hanging around the studio. (Word was out that he hasn't read his book and doesn't intend to).

It would be easy to criticize the editing but you can understand a collaborator not wanting to push the personality presented here too hard. People are afraid of him, he admits, "because of my reputation for bluntness and liking to be left alone."

After firing his manager, David Franklin, after the latter negotiated a seven-figure recording contract with Warner Brothers that gives the recording company publishing rights (without explaining why he himself signed it), the prince proves his mastery of revenge (which, as we have been told by Archie Bunker, is the best way to get even): "That's why you don't see my songs on my new albums: Warner Brothers would get the rights to use those tunes, not me. So until we renegotiate that point, you're going to always see someone else's tunes on my records."

Toward the end of his relationship with his wife - the actress Cicely Tyson - they had an argument and she "jumped up on my back and pulled my hair weave right out of my head." He slapped her and "before I knew it I slapped her again." He "punched out" his road manager Jim Rose "upside the head" in a dispute over money. Obviously, both deserved it.

He fired his nephew, the drummer Vincent Wilburn, because he kept "dropping the time." (Is that really essential public information?) Miles's sister and her husband both called asking that he at least wait until after a concert in Chicago, their home, so it would be less embarrassing for their son. Miles refused: "Music don't have friends like that." He admits to not being a "proper father, but that just wasn't my thing."

He used every drug from the Golden Triangle to Medellin by way of Cognac and Virginia (four packs a day). He stopped because he had a stroke and anyway it was getting boring. Which rings true. There is, thankfully, no moralizing. However, when he says that the only thing wrong with cocaine is that you can get busted for it, this is inconsistent at the very least. But he's even up-front about copping out: "I have few regrets and little guilt. Those regrets I do have I don't want to talk about."

So many people disappointed him - Bird, Duke, Blakey. This insomniac seemed to spend his time with his valet in his Central Park South apartment and Malibu beach house, brooding and stroking his ego: "Some of the critics were talking about how aloof I was, but that didn't bother me; I had been this way all my life." He and John Coltrane did not get along at first because "my silence and evil looks probably turned him off."

The author looks in the mirror and says to himself how handsome he is.

"Many people he's known don't call any more," Quincy Troupe told Vanity Fair. "I saw Max Roach and Sonny Rollins the other day. They said 'How's Miles?' They used to all be like brothers. Miles still says 'Max is my brother.' But they don't see each other."

Only music - and Gil Evans - never let him down.

About the present vs the past: "When I hear musicians today playing all those same licks we used to play so long ago, I feel sad for them. I mean, it's like going to bed with a real old person who even smells real old. Now, I'm not putting down old people because I'm getting older myself. But I got to be honest, and that's what it reminds me of. Most people my age like old, stuffy furniture. I like bold colors and long, sleek spare lines."

Take a look inside here

Miles Davis' It's About That Time: 'creativity' and music

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a professor of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago... and an authority on creativity.

The way his theory of creativity works - is that if you have what you feel is a great and novel idea... and potentially you get these ideas all the time... and maybe you also happen to dapple with art and have done some paintings recently that your friends like, and you're a good cook, etc.... this sort of 'stuff' doesn't make you creative. It makes you interesting and talented:
- one who experiences the world in novel and original ways
- has 'fresh' perceptions / insightful judgments
- an innate ability to do something very well, etc.

What separates this type of person from someone truly Creative (with a capital C) is that a Creative person leaves a trace in the cultural matrix... does something that allows humankind to go beyond it's present power... more specifically, he or she:
1. masters a domain (i.e. art, physics, law, music, etc.) and develops something 'better' within that domain that is understandable to others

"The old Italian saying applies here: Impara l'arte, e mettila da parte (learn the craft, and then set it aside). One cannot be creative without learning what others know, but then one cannot be creative without becoming dissatisfied with that knowledge and rejecting it (or some of it) for a better way."

2. that 'development' then needs approval of the experts in the field, and finally,
3. it must be included in the cultural domain to which it belongs -- a very difficult task, obviously.
So, Steve Jobs is creative, Bill Gates, Edison, Picasso, Einstein, Nobel Prize winners, John Lennon, etc. whereas a 'personally creative' individual contributes nothing of permanent significance -- sad, but true.

So, yes, by this definition, "van Gogh's creativity came into being when a sufficient number of art experts felt that his paintings had something important to contribute to the domain of art... w/o such a response, van Gough would have remained what he was, a disturbed man who painted strange canvases."

It's therefore so ridiculously difficult to develop something of 'lasting significance' -- would we be better off primarily listening to music by these truly Creative people who are so unique? Or should we just stick to what we 'like'...

There was a study done that measured the happiness of people who favored trying new foods versus those who mainly ordered meals they knew they liked. The result: people that simply ordered what they knew they liked were happier with their selections, overall... but that's just a random study I remember from college -- and I don't think it applies here, because when someone tried a new meal, it wasn't from a Creative chef.

In terms of music -- I'm not sure there is an answer. However, this week I have a song (actually, part of a song) from one of the most influential musicians of our time, Miles Davis. If you listen and don't like it, all I think it means is that you haven't heard enough of his stuff -- that's about it. But, given Miles Davis is who he is - the burden is on us to figure out why it's good. I personally happen to like this song because of the way he builds the tension... the song is sort of like going up the front part of a roller coaster - the further up you go the greater the suspense, as you're waiting anxiously for something drastic to happen. Same thing with this song, only rather than there being a steep cliff to release the tension - there is a symbol hit at the apex of the tune... and they tease you a bit as well, making it sound as though you're about to reach 'the top' when you haven't just yet. Quite honestly, it's one of those songs where in order to get the full effect you kinda need to just chill on your couch and close your eyes. They build it up really slowly though -- whenever I pay close attention to the entire tune the tension they build can be quite fascinating.

Miles Davis live at De Doelen, Rotterdam, November 9, 1969

Miles Davis (tpt)
Wayne Shorter (ss, ts)
Chick Corea (el-p)
Dave Holland (b, el-b)
Jack DeJohnette (d)

1. Directions (J. Zawinul) / Bitches Brew (M. Davis) / Sanctuary (W. Shorter-M. Davis) /Masqualero (W. Shorter)
VARA radio broadcast (intro and outro announcements included)

Info Only

A Miles Davis' Exhibition

The Miles Davis Drawing Art

A montage of paintings created by Miles Davis and an interview with his collaborator.

Miles Davis Quintet - Antibes Jazz 1969

Miles Davis live at Antibes Jazz Festival, Antibes, France, 1969: Spanish Key
Miles Davis (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ss, ts); Chick Corea (el-p); Dave Holland (b, el-b); Jack De Johnette (d)

Bookshelf: Miles Davis, The Definitive Biography by Ian Carr

Paperback: 688 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press (December 20, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1560259671
ISBN-13: 978-1560259671
Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 1.8 inches

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews
In the 17 years since Carr's biography of the mercurial trumpet genius was published, Miles has died and lots of new material has surfaced (including Davis's hilariously profane autobiography). So Carr has produced a new life, nearly twice the length of the original. Throughout his career, Davis seemed an enigmatic genius, brusque to the point of rudeness, yet capable of a warm lyricism in his art. Although he was the product of an affluent, upper-middle-class family, he cultivated the demeanor of a surly street hustler. Carr sums up the legendary Davis temperament nicely: ``The inscrutability, the unpredictability, the refusal to be pinned down, the sudden juxtapositions of gentleness and violence.'' The same qualities could be found in his art, as he moved restlessly from the pioneering days of bebop and a youthful apprenticeship with the music's founder, Charlie Parker, through his own rapid-fire series of innovationsthe brilliant ``cool'' and orchestral recordings with arranger Gil Evans, the development of modal-based post-bop with his excellent small groups of the '50s and '60s, his developing interest and work with electric bands, right up to his fascinating, if uneven, post-modernist works of the '80s. Carr recounts these developments intelligently. A musician himself, he is particularly good on the micro-level analysis of recordings and concerts, but his macro-analysis is plagued at times by odd generalizations about ``Western'' and ``non-Western'' elements ostensibly struggling for the upper hand in Davis's music. Though some fans may think he overrates the late recordings with their funk/pop backings, he offers a useful corrective to other writers' casual dismissal of those experiments. Finally, this leviathan would have benefited from some judicious cutting; Carr lets interviews run on too long, and there is a certain repetitiveness that strains the reader's patience for the new material. Despite minor flaws, a generally thoughtful and perceptive reading of the turbulent life and singular work of one of the giants of American music. (40 b&w photos) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

This exhaustively researched, revised edition of Ian Carr's classic biography throws new light on Davis' life and career: from the early days in New York with Charlie Parker; to the Birth of Cool; through his drug addiction in the early 1950s and the years of extraordinary achievements (1954-1960), during which he signed with Columbia and collaborated with such unequaled talents as John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly and Cannonball Adderly. Carr also explores Davis' dark, reclusive period (1975-1980), offering firsthand accounts of his descent into addiction, as well as his dramatic return to life and music. Carr has talked with the people who knew Miles and his music best including Bill Evans, Joe Zawinul, Keith Jarrett, and Jack DeJohnette, and has conducted interviews with Ron Carter, Max Roach, John Scofield and others.

About the Author
Ian Carr was born in Scotland and educated at Kings College, Newcastle. He is a professional musician who has done regular jazz broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and has written for the BBC Music Magazine. He is the author of Music Outside (1973) and Keith Jarrett, the Man and his Music (1991).

You can look inside the book here
You can find it here

The Electric Miles Official Discography 1968-1979

Miles In The Sky 1968

Filles De Kilimanjaro 1968

In A Silent Way 1969

Jazz Greatest Hits 1969

A Tribute to Jack Johnson 1970

Black Beauty: Miles Davis At Fillmore West 1970

Bitches Brew 1970

At Fillmore: Live At The Fillmore East 1970

What I Say, Vol. 1 1971

Live-Evil 1971

On The Corner 1972

In Concert: Live At Philharmonic Hall 1973

Dark Magus: Live At Carnegie Hall 1974

Big Fun 1974

Get Up With It 1974

Agharta 1975

Pangaea 1975

Water Babies 1977

Circle In The Round 1979

Directions 1979

Miles Davis Quintet - Berlin, November 7, 1969

Philharmonie, Berlin (Germany)
Sender Freies Berlin TV broadcast
Miles Davis Quintet

Miles Davis (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ss, ts); Chick Corea (el-p); Dave Holland (b, el-b); Jack De Johnette (d); Joachim-Ernst Berendt (ann)

The program:
Directions (J. Zawinul) 6:46
Bitches Brew (M. Davis) 13:39
It's About That Time (M. Davis) 14:11
I Fall in Love Too Easily (S. Cahn-J. Styne) 3:44
Sanctuary (W. Shorter-M. Davis) 3:51
The Theme (M. Davis) (with applause) 1:14

Miles Davis live in Central Park, New York, July 7, 1969

Miles Davis (tpt)
Wayne Shorter (ss, ts)
Chick Corea (el-p)
Dave Holland (b, el-b)
Jack DeJohnette (d)

1. No Blues
2. Miles Runs the Voodoo Down
3. Masqualero
4. Spanish Key
5. Sanctuary
6. The Theme

Miles Davis Quintet - Copenhagen, November 4, 1969

Tivoli Konsertsal, Copenhagen (Denmark)
Danish Radio broadcast
Miles Davis Quintet

Miles Davis (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ss, ts); Chick Corea (el-p); Dave Holland (b, el-b); Jack De Johnette (d)

Directions (J. Zawinul) 6:57
Miles Runs the Voodoo Down (M. Davis) 8:58
Bitches Brew (M. Davis) 15:35
Agitation (M. Davis) 10:25
I Fall in Love Too Easily (S. Cahn-J. Styne) 3:40
Sanctuary (W. Shorter-M. Davis) 3:28
It's About That Time (M. Davis) 18:55
The Theme (M. Davis) (with applause) 0:35

The Electric Miles Concerts: 1969

The full concert's list

March 11-17, 1969 Duffy's Backstage, Rochester

May-June 1969 Village Gate Club, New York

June 4-14, 1969 Plugged Nickel Club, Chicago

June 21-29, 1969 Blue Coronet Club, New York

June 21-29, 1969 Blue Coronet Club, New York

July 4, 1969 Festival Field, Newport

July 7, 1969 Central Park, New York

July 25, 1969 La Pinède, Juan-les-Pins

July 26, 1969 La Pinède, Juan-les-Pins

July 27, 1969 Rutgers University Stadium, New Brunswick

August 4, 1969 Davis's House, New York

October 26, 1969 Teatro Lirico, Milan

October 27, 1969 Teatro Sistina, Rome

October 31, 1969 Stadthalle, Vienna

November 1, 1969 Hammersmith Odeon, London

November 2, 1969 Ronnie Scott's Club, London

November 3, 1969 Salle Pleyel, Paris

November 4, 1969 Tivoli Konsertsal, Copenhagen

November 5, 1969 Folkets Hus, Stockholm

November 7, 1969 Philharmonie, Berlin

November 9, 1969 De Doelen, Rotterdam

Miles Davis Quintet - Rome, October 27,1969

Teatro Sistina, Rome (Italy)
Radio Televisione Italian (RAI) radio broadcast
Miles Davis Quintet

Miles Davis (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ss, ts); Chick Corea (el-p, wood fl); Dave Holland (b, el-b); Jack De Johnette (d)

1 Directions (J. Zawinul) (incomplete) 6:45
2 This (C. Corea) (incomplete) 9:15
3 'Round Midnight (B. Hanighen-C. Williams-T. Monk) 11:02
4 I Fall in Love Too Easily (S. Cahn-J. Styne) 1:30
5 Masqualero (W. Shorter) (with applause) 14:29
6 Bitches Brew (M. Davis) 14:41
7 Miles Runs the Voodoo Down (M. Davis) 15:02
8 Agitation (M. Davis) 8:20
9 I Fall in Love Too Easily (S. Cahn-J. Styne) 2:59
10 Sanctuary (W. Shorter-M. Davis) 4:02
11 The Theme (M. Davis) (with applause) 0:33

Bookshelf: Miles on Miles

Legendary trumpeter and St. Louis area native Miles Davis is one of the most talked-about and written-about musicians of the late 20th century, and he's now the subject of yet another book, Miles on Miles, which collects 30 interviews from various periods of Davis' storied career.

The blurb from publishers Lawrence Hill Books describes the volume as "essential reading for anyone who wants to know what Miles Davis thought about his music, life, and philosophy. Miles on Miles reveals the jazz icon as a complex and contradictory man, secretive at times but extraordinarily revealing at others. Miles was not only a musical genius, but an enigma, and nowhere else was he so compelling, exasperating, and entertaining as in his interviews, which vary from polite to outrageous, from straight-ahead to contrarian. Even his autobiography lacks the immediacy of the dialogues collected here. Many were conducted by leading journalists like Leonard Feather, Stephen Davis, Ben Sidran, Mike Zwerin, and Nat Hentoff. Others have never before seen print, are newly transcribed from radio and television shows, or appeared in long-forgotten magazines."

Edited by Paul Maher Jr. and Michael K. Dorr, the hardcover tome has 320 pages and a list price of $24.95. Lawrence Hill Books is a division of Chicago Review Press that "specializes in mostly nonfiction on topics of African American and Latino interest, progressive politics, civil and human rights, and feminism." (For what it's worth, they've also published a book on Davis' longtime arranger and collaborator Gil Evans that looks interesting...)