Sunday, December 12, 2004

miles ahead and miles behind

Listening, both today and yesterday, to Miles Davis, Filles de Kilimanjaro.

Hadn't listened for a while but have been reading the late Ian MacDonald'sThe People's Music. Published in 2003, the book has a number of short essays and reviews which mainly point to the 1960s as the time when the big changes in music happened.

OK, debatable but supportable, but I agreed with his discussion on this album, that it 'remains relatively underrated and ripe for reevaluation', and it leads directly to both the cool (In a Silent Way) and the hot (Bitches Brew) of Miles late 60s 'revolution in the head' (to totally misappropriate the title of MacDonald's book about the Beatles).

I've always loved the reference to Hendrix's 'The Wind Cries Mary' in 'Mademoiselle Mabry', the last track on Filles de Kilimanjaro. Ian Carr, in his biography Miles Davis: The Definitive Biography says that: "During this whole period, Miles's friendship with Jimi Hendrix flourished. ... The two spent much time together, and Dave Holland is convinced that Hendrix influenced Miles in many ways ..." And, of course, Carr speculates the influence probably went both ways.

I am always fascinated in the way that Miles Davis seemed to arrange his recording sessions so casually, yet amazing work resulted. Says a lot about what goes on in 'the head'. By that I'm thinking of that part of the body where thinking is said to reside and also thinking about the body, the whole body that thinks, connection and flow between brain work and the other systems - blood, lymph, chemistry, electrics. Action is internal as well as external.

And memory as thinking and action. I'm doing a bit of 'going back' at the moment. Very refreshing. Good for future stuff.

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