Miles Davis this Sunday. Playing favorites. Legends and important voices this weekend. And one of the most important of the 20th century was Miles Davis, no question. I am going back and thinking of hearing music that stopped me dead in my tracks throughout my life; music that produces the collective “whoa” – music that suspends time and place because what it has to say and how it’s going about saying it is an imperative – you’re powerless to stop it; you can’t turn it off. I remember having that feeling when I first heard Sketches Of Spain, Bitches Brew, A Tribute To Jack Johnson – that memorable earth-stopping collaboration between Davis and John McLaughlin. The list goes on and on. What I always found interesting about listening to Miles Davis was the fact that, listening to him impacted and enhanced what I heard from other people – other genres. He was an eye-opener and he prompted you to listen to music in different ways than you heard it before. I remember having that “ah-ha moment” listening to the Bach unaccompanied cello suites after sitting down with his music from the film Ascenseur pour l’échafaud and hearing it differently – as if another wrapping of gauze was removed. That’s what the music of Miles Davis did for me – I am dead-certain people have been affected in other ways by his music – that was the power of it.
This concert, considered by many to be part of the “Lost Quintet” recordings, which features Dave Holland on bass, Chick Corea on piano an Jack DeJohnette on drums, comes from a concert in Berlin. It was recorded and preserved by RBB Berlin Radio on November 7, 1969 – part of the Berliner Jazztage festival. Because Miles Davis was such a widely admired and revered artist, particularly in Europe, there are most likely tons of broadcast recordings which were made and are either available through various channels, or are waiting to be dusted off and put on a tape machine. In any event, every note is worth exploring; every shade, every phrasing – there are messages and answers to be found.
Have a sit-down and a listen.