Via Kottke check out this bit of Mile Davisness over at Noise Made Me Do It.
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Wow. Miles was one *sour* MF, wasn't he.
He's a titan of music though--I never stop studying him and he shows why in this piece:
"You have to think when you play; you have to help each other – you just can’t play for yourself. You’ve got to play with whomever you’re playing. If I’m playing with Basie, I’m going to try to help what he’s doing – that particular feeling."
And I like Stan, because he has so much patience, the way he plays those melodies – other people can’t get nothing out of a song, but he can. Which takes a lot of imagination, that he has, that so many other people don’t have.
Miles couldn't play high or fast and his tone wasn't even the conventionally popular sound, but he dominated in a field that prized those things (esp. for trumpet players). It was because he understood melody & phrasing, had great patience and, above all, knew how to shape a group into much more than just an assemblage of talent.
I guess part of it was his uncompromising sourness keeping his sidemen focused. They always seemed to play their best on his records.
Heh. Just Miles being Miles. Reminds me of this quotation from his autobiography:
“I remember one time - it might have been a couple times - at the Fillmore East in 1970, I was opening for this sorry-ass cat named Steve Miller. Steve Miller didn't have his shit going for him, so I'm pissed because I got to open for this non-playing motherfucker just because he had one or two sorry-ass records out. So I would come late and he would have to go on first and then we got there we smoked the motherfucking place, everybody dug it.” ― Miles Davis
Baddest MFer that ever lived and one the top-5 greatest musicians of the 20th century.
 Love that story. What a time, Miles and his band opening for Steve Miller! Those Fillmore recordings really are smoking, too. Going to put that one on tonight!
I heard a radio documentary about Miles Davis once and one of the session players was talking about how Miles would sort out everybody playing and take apart the arrangements and generally make people flat play better. The guy called Miles "a high level of cat" which is something I never forgot.
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