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Sunday, March 6, 2016

[Jazz of the Week] MILES DAVIS SEXTET - "Call It Anything" (1970)

Last week I posted the rare "jazz" album "Kawaida" by Albert Toudie Heath, Mtume and their excellent group. That post got really good response and since I for the last month has been listenin at least equally as much to "jzz" as Hip Hop I intend to intodce y'all to more gems that might make a skeptic a believer. For me the connection between Jazz and Hip Hop is a very strong one, and though I can see how the 1940s, 1950s and early-to-mid 60's might turn some people off if they dive right into it, but like with any other musical style there's plenty of different jazz styles out there. Especially the late '60s and up to about 1974 was an incredible time in the history of this music as musicias were constantly experimenting with new sounds, combining the Hard Bop they grew up on, with african rhythms, bass vamps and electronic instruments from the burgeoning rock scene and so on. This type of music is sometimes called "fusion" (or Jazz fusion) or "Jazz rock", neither which I think really does the music justice. Instead of trying to force them into a label, let the music speak for itself.

No man changed the course of music as many times as Miles Davis - sure there were "jazz rock" records before but not many of them were all success. It was with Davis' "In A Silent Way" and even more so "Bitches Brew" that literally blew the doors open for jazz artists, who had previously been limited to playing half empty clubs, now were filling large stadiums. Bill Graham, the concert promoter and owner of The Fillmore clubs, played a large role in that but anyone who heard Davis and his band knew that tis was really something else. There's a great story by one of the members of celebrated psychedelic rock band Grateful Dead who headlined an event at Fillmore East while sharing the bill with Davis and his sextet. Even the Grateful Dead, with their massive live show brilliance, was in awe what just happened and actually quite scared to go up on stage and try to follow up on what they just heard.

Miles Davis is my favorite artitst, I own most of his records (there's at least 40in my collection), andhe put out so many classics it is ridiciolous. However I promise that this new section of The Lost Tapes will focus on more rare material, but for this week I am presenting you with one of the greatest performances of all time - all captured on video in great soumd/video quality. In August of 1970 Miles and his band took the stage in front of 60,000 people and played a short 35 minutes set that is both as powerful, technically brilliant and straight up cool to look at. The ensemble consists of Gary Bartz on alto sax, Keith Jarrett on electric organ and piano, Chick Corea on electric piano, Dave Holland on bass and Airto Moreira on all kinds of percussion. 

The venue was the Isle Of Wight festival and the aduio portion of the concert can be found of Columbia Records "Bitches Brew" live which you can purchase from Amazon. The concert video first appeared in full form on the excellent documentry "Electric Miles: A Different Kind Of Blue" which is strongly recommended. The medley consists of "Directions", "Bitches Brew", "It's About That Time", "Sanctuary", "Spanish Key" and the regular set closer "The Theme" before leaving the stage as it hadn't even been invaded by some of the most mind blowing music many of that cro

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