Saturday, May 22, 2010

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
New views of Miles Davis

Next Wednesday, May 26 is the 84th anniversary of Miles Davis' birth, and to commemorate the occasion, today we've got several video clips of the legendary trumpeter that have recently became available online.

First up is the beginning of a 1964 concert in Milan, Italy, featuring what has come to be known as as Davis' classic quintet of the 1960s, with Herbie Hancock (piano), Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Ron Carter (bass) and Tony Williams (drums).

According to the YouTube annotation, the tune is "Autumn Leaves," but it's a highly abstracted take in which the familiar melody is never explicitly stated and substitute harmonies predominate. The performance continues into the embedded window below, which also shows the beginning of the next tune, "My Funny Valentine." You can see the end of that song and the other parts of the Milan concert here.

The next clip is from 1967, and shows the same five musicians performing "Agitation," a Davis composition that was recorded for the 1965 album E.S.P. and was a concert staple for Davis during the mid-1960s. (This is a different version of the tune than the one spotlighted here back in 2006.)

UPDATE - 3:30 p.m., 5/27/10: YouTube has removed the clip of "Agitation," citing a terms-of-use violation, and so I've deleted the now-useless embed code from the post.

Below that, we move on to November, 1971 and a performance of "What I Say" recorded at the Philharmonie in Berlin by a lineup including Davis, Gary Bartz (saxophones), Keith Jarrett (keyboards), Michael Henderson (bass), Leon "Ndugu" Chancler (drums), Don Alias (percussion) and James "Mtume" Forman (percussion).

For the penultimate clip, we fast-forward all the way to 1988, and an excerpt from another show in Germany with Davis, Kenny Garrett (saxophone), Robert Irving (keyboards), Adam Holzmann (keyboards), Joseph "Foley" McCreary (six-string bass), Benjamin Rietveld (bass), Marilyn Mazur (percussion) and Ricky Wellman (drums).

Finally, we wrap up with an audio-only clip of "So What" from Kind of Bloop, the 2009 tribute to Davis that recreates pretty much every note of his landmark album Kind of Blue in the "8-Bit" style of electronic music. While this obviously isn't going to be to everyone's taste, I found it an entertaining curiosity, so perhaps you'll enjoy it too.

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