Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-04-26 - 12:10 p.m.

This Amazon Review of Miles in Berlin hit’s the spot:

‘Finally this classic set by the Second Quintet is widely available in the US. This recording (Sept. 1964) predates those captured of the quintet at the Plugged Nickel (Dec. 1965) by a little over a year, and is the very first recording consisting of the Shorter/Hancock/Carter/Williams line-up. With the addition of Wayne, this group coalesced into what many consider to be the finest jazz band ever, and this recording testifies to that. The sound quality of this disc is excellent- it truly does the music justice. The playing is of the stellar calibre one expects from this group, which is essentially just to say that Ron is Ron, Tony is Tony, Wayne is Wayne, Miles is Miles, and Herbie, well, Herbie is uber-Herbie. Seriously, this album contains some of the best piano work I've ever heard with this group. Now that Miles In Berlin is so widely available and affordable, no music lover should be without it. This group occupies a seminal place in this history of jazz, and this recording occupies a seminal position in their creative oeuvre. ‘

Some people think that the earlier Lincoln Centre Concert - where George Coleman plays instead of Wayne Shorter is a best-ever. The Plugged Nickel set was originally a single CD but at some point a lot more of the material was released - by this time they are really doing cubism with standards - any by the 1967/8 live records they are doing the abstraction on the amazing compositions they have written in the interim.

I read in the Wire that someone has finally done a detailed book on the last ten years of Miles’ work - where some think he ‘sold out’. The new book - Last Miles - argues the opposite. As always what he was doing then - from this distance - looks much more sensible.

Here’s the details:

‘The Last Miles is the first book to center exclusively on the music Miles Davis made in the last decade of his life.

Author George Cole spotlights the final period of Davis's career, when Davis emerged from a five-year hiatus. The focus is on the music Davis recorded and played and how it evolved in the eyes of the musicians with whom he played.

Thousands of new facts are uncovered, including a lost Miles Davis album, how Miles got into hip-hop, and how he worked in the studio and on stage. Cole devotes at least one chapter to each album Davis recorded during this period, and the full track-by-track descriptions contain the stories behind the songs.

Sure to satisfy the most serious Miles Davis fans, The Last Miles offers nearly 100 interviews with some of Davis's closest associates and musical friends, including Paul Buckmaster, George Duke, Chaka Khan, Branford Marsalis, Easy Mo Bee, Steve Porcaro, Wallace Roney, David Sanborn, and many more, as well as interviews with thirty-one of the thirty-six band members Miles had in this period, including Bob Berg, Robben Ford, Darryl Jones, Marcus Miller, John Scofield, and Mike Stern, among others.
In addition, the book includes new photos of Miles, a discography, details of unreleased material, Davis's guest recordings, soundtrack recordings, tribute albums, artists who covered Davis's 1980s music, compilations, and more.

George Cole was educated at Homerton College, University of Cambridge. He is a freelance music and technology journalist whose work has appeared in Music Week, Jazzwise, Financial Times, Sunday Times, Newsweek, Guardian, and other publications.’

1. Prelude
2. Introduction
3. Miles - The Man
4. Miles - His Life And Music Before 1973
5. Into The Shadows
6. The Man With The Horn
7. We Want Miles
8. Star People
9. Decoy
10. You're Under Arrest
11. Aura
12. The Road To Tutu: The Background
13. The Road To Tutu: Rubberband - The Lost Miles Davis Album
14. The Road To Tutu: Miles And Prince
15. Tutu
16. Siesta
17. Amandla
18. Doo-Bop
19. Miles Alive
20. Live Around The World
21. Miles's Other Recordings
22. Miles's Guest Recordings
23. The Verdict On The Music Of The 1980s
24. Notes
25. References
26. Compilations
27. Tribute Albums
28. The Eighties Music - Cover Versions
29. Unreleased Miles - The Music In The Vaults
30. Miles's Live Repertoire 1981-1991
31. Miles's Band Line-Ups 1981-1991
32. Miles's Album Discography 1980-1991
33. Books And Websites
34. Index

Meanwhile I am trying a Scots trot (lowland farmed) in my new steamer - its been quite a hard day. Keith-Mice-Beefheart and I stormed our brains this morning. Then this afternoon there was a management review which went on later than usual. So maybe I will crack a bottle of Grand Vin de Bordeaux if it looks promising

More thoughts on the watershed - arguably the main spine goes down via the navel of England across the FoA to Stratford.

Good to read about Robin unloading her outboard to rely on software processing and HW’s probs with relying on that approach.

I enjoyed the C4 programme last night on UK WMD of the 50s and 60s - esp the secret rocket testing plant in the middle of Cumberland. I have looked up more detail on some of this stuff - the early history of the missile eg the gliding bomb the Luftwaffe pioneered in 1943. I have a thing about the subsequent history of the V2 engine in UK weapons like Blue Steel and Dark Knight.

Interesting C4 programme on post-democratic politics.

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