VInyl Vlog 607

VInyl Vlog 607

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Thursday, 25 May 2023
COLUMN

Miles Davis
Live: What it is
Montreal 7/7/83

There’s this story of Miles David being confronted by a fan in the 80s or whatever and the fan saying to him that he can’t really get into the new style and direction of his music. Miles supposedly replies, “Should I wait for you, motherfucker?” By all means, Miles. Artists should be allowed to pursue their art the way they want to. They should be allowed to express themselves the way they should.

I am a big fan of Miles Davis’s music, especially because Birth of the Cool was my first album into the genre of jazz. Did it make me a jazz virtuoso or snob? By no means. I still reckon with the genre. I know what I like, but I can’t tell you why I like it. I stick mostly to the bebop era, or most of Thelonious Monk’s output. Then there’s the kind of jazz fusion stuff that Davis was doing in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. I’ve tried getting into Bitches Brew. I think I remember it being OK. I can’t recall a single song off it, because it just melded into the background of whatever I was doing when I put it on my rotation for 6 months. The 80s were a weird time for music, and certainly jazz could not have been an exception. What it is Live in Montreal is my first exposure to 80s Miles Davis, and after repeated listens, the feeling is a bit mixed. I’ll just get right to it. This sounds like the kind of jazz people are referring to when they make fun of it. It’s synth heavy, reminiscent of ageing beatniks swaying to the sounds while scatting along. It goes on for 80 minutes and I’m not quite sure anything sounds “cool.” It’s funky, discordant, and makes you laugh a little. And not in a good way. I’ve been listening to this album every week for almost 5 months now. It’s not bad, but I don’t exactly look forward to it. I think I’m expecting some revelation to hit me at some point. It hasn’t yet.

I’m perfectly fine with not getting this album or this era of Miles Davis. I’m glad he didn’t wait for me. There’s music that I don’t get that’s compelling to me, and music that clearly isn’t meant for me. I can be at peace with that.

Oh, and you know Davis hated every second of the crowd clapping along like children, right?

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