Sunday, May 4, 2008

Jazz Library 3

Davisquintetwinterineurope196771394In recent posts I have been describing how I began building a more or less coherent jazz library. I began with the first Miles Davis Quintet, and jumped ahead a bit to just before the second great quintet was formed. Below is an older post from SDP on that second great combo.

Here is a nice clip from 1967, featuring Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter on bass, and Tony Williams on drums. The venue is in Stockholm. The Quintet is interpreting Thelonious Monk's Round Midnight. But it is only during Miles' opening solo that you can detect that lovely melody, and even then he plays so coyly around it that, well, you have to know what you are supposed to be hearing. All of the solos are elegant and interesting, but I am not sure that this really has much to do with Round Midnight.

I think that hard bop jazz, between the mid fifties and mid sixties, was clearly the center of genius in twentieth century music. This clip represents the end of that fertile period. Still, it's wonderful to watch my hero, Wayne Shorter, doing what Miles told him to do. Jazz more or less died when the Beatles came on the scene, and only came back to life later. This clip shows us how much genius and how much confusion was present just before the eclipse.

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