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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Miles Davis early albums
    Posted: December 23 2014 at 12:57
When I look at who the compositions are credited to, it will rarely be the man himself, but rather someone else in his band or another musician altogether. This has been the reason for which I have not acquired these albums yet. What influence does Miles actually have on the music being played, if the compositions aren't his own? Is it big enough to make it worth me having the albums? 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 23 2014 at 13:16
Hi there

I have to be honest here. Even if I have a couple of his early albums (which I absolutely adore btw), I'd never really paid attention to the creditsEmbarrassed
Either way, I'd say go for it. I love his early period about as much as I do his fusion years.......just don't expect the same - or even something close.

Oh and I took the liberty of moving the thread to general music discussions. Miles is featured here on PA, but I doubt anyone will assign prog credentials to those early years of his - even if he indeed was immensely progressive for the time.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 23 2014 at 13:41
Originally posted by Guldbamsen Guldbamsen wrote:

Hi there

I have to be honest here. Even if I have a couple of his early albums (which I absolutely adore btw), I'd never really paid attention to the creditsEmbarrassed
Either way, I'd say go for it. I love his early period about as much as I do his fusion years.......just don't expect the same - or even something close.

Oh and I took the liberty of moving the thread to general music discussions. Miles is featured here on PA, but I doubt anyone will assign prog credentials to those early years of his - even if he indeed was immensely progressive for the time.



I appreciate your reply. I thought I had put the thread in general discussions - the prog/music middle part must have eluded me. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 23 2014 at 13:45
No worriesSmile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 23 2014 at 13:50
My impression is that jazz reputations are (or were, at least) primarily built on performance and interpretive skills rather than composition skills.  A lot of the material used for early jazz albums was just interpretations of popular songs of the day, made by people who were known as "composers" or "songwriters"; jazz "players" and "bandleaders" then took these familiar tunes and put their own stamp on them - but rarely took a composing credit themselves.  This tradition is still alive today - there are some very highly regarded recording artists who rely on others for source material, yet put enough of their own stamp on it that it feels as much their own work as the composers', if not more. 

edit: Oh yeah, my point:  just because an early jazz album doesn't feature composing by the album artist, there's no reason to presume that it's an inferior product, the way one might presume if presented with a prog rock album featuring all covers.  Jazz demands to be consumed differently.  That may be why I haven't really learned how to dig it yet.


Edited by HolyMoly - December 23 2014 at 13:58
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 23 2014 at 13:56
^Steve's right. In general, jazz is a tradition where people take what others have done and warp it, from different versions of the song to contrafacts (writing new melodies over old chord progression) to widely recognized forms (blues, rhythm changes) to quoting melodies of other tunes in solos. Even original compositions play upon the language of previous pieces, although many artists would go on to expand the language as well.


Edited by Polymorphia - December 23 2014 at 13:58
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 24 2014 at 10:23
You run the risk of missing some of Miles' best music by overlooking the early stuff.  Yeah, not much credited to Miles as a composer, but that's mainly 'cause jazz musicians back in the day would stuff themselves in a studio for a day or two and cut any tunes they knew to fill two album sides, or they were part of a touring band that played the standards so that fans would stick around and listen to the new stuff, so they knew the numbers by heart.  Everyone knew Stella by Starlight and You Don't Know What Love Is, so they'd thrash thru those numbers a few times over the course of an hour, then they'd focus on a Miles composition, which they'd learn on the spot.  There's always an original or two in the mix, but the Walkin', Relaxin', Workin', et al are some of the best music bop ever produced.

Edited by Intruder - December 24 2014 at 10:24
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 24 2014 at 12:24
I have refrained from obtaining the music of several jazz artists based on this principle... Count Basie, Bill Evans, Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson to name a few. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 25 2014 at 02:42
Originally posted by ProgPassion ProgPassion wrote:

When I look at who the compositions are credited to, it will rarely be the man himself, but rather someone else in his band or another musician altogether. This has been the reason for which I have not acquired these albums yet. What influence does Miles actually have on the music being played, if the compositions aren't his own? Is it big enough to make it worth me having the albums? 

As the others have said, your problem is a result of not understanding the difference in culture between rock/pop and jazz. In rock/pop playing other people's compositions is looked down upon and shoved into a category of its own; in jazz interpreting and rearranging other people's compositions is the norm, and often requires just as much artistry as writing their own compositions. 
Miles has a great deal of influence over the music being played; he's directing the interpretation. Even on his classic albums not all of the material is by Miles, e.g. Zawinul and Shorter on Bitches' Brew. 

More importantly, though, does it matter? Miles is not the only good jazz musician. The tracks on Round About Midnight, for example, are classics (Thelonious Monk!!)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 26 2014 at 08:17
Originally posted by Polymorphia Polymorphia wrote:

^Steve's right. In general, jazz is a tradition where people take what others have done and warp it, from different versions of the song to contrafacts (writing new melodies over old chord progression) to widely recognized forms (blues, rhythm changes) to quoting melodies of other tunes in solos. Even original compositions play upon the language of previous pieces, although many artists would go on to expand the language as well.
 
Yes, no and OK ... but not altogether correct, I think, though some can be taken from it.
 
Go watch the Tomn Dowd DVD, before saying or agreeing to this! You guys are ignoring a very important part of music history and development in the 20th century, specially jazz and free form music! I do not believe that a lot of it was just that simple. It's like saying that we're all stupid and not smart enough to one day say ... I wanna do something else ... and then go do it.
 
I find that a bit offensive, specially for the black music history in America in the 30's, 40's and 50's, before the movie studios accidentally killed it ... but then, Detroit didn't believe in that music any more than NY or Chicago ever did, because they dumped it and you can see it today on old recordings that have somehow survived. They never made recordings or sold it as they could, or should to develop their work and business!


Edited by moshkito - December 26 2014 at 08:18
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 26 2014 at 17:39
I'm still not sure, lol Tongue
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 26 2014 at 22:10
Originally posted by HolyMoly HolyMoly wrote:

My impression is that jazz reputations are (or were, at least) primarily built on performance and interpretive skills rather than composition skills.  A lot of the material used for early jazz albums was just interpretations of popular songs of the day, made by people who were known as "composers" or "songwriters"; jazz "players" and "bandleaders" then took these familiar tunes and put their own stamp on them - but rarely took a composing credit themselves.  This tradition is still alive today - there are some very highly regarded recording artists who rely on others for source material, yet put enough of their own stamp on it that it feels as much their own work as the composers', if not more. 

edit: Oh yeah, my point:  just because an early jazz album doesn't feature composing by the album artist, there's no reason to presume that it's an inferior product, the way one might presume if presented with a prog rock album featuring all covers.  Jazz demands to be consumed differently.  That may be why I haven't really learned how to dig it yet.
 
Not necessary true HolyMoly, Miles Davis in the 50's recorded and wrong few songs/compositions with other outstanding musicians inc. Gerry Mulligan. Very complex arrangements not used in jazz like adding the French horn and tuba, which paved the way for other jazz musicians to experiment with new things too. All these compositions were later released on the album Birth of the Cool (much earlier then when the Beatles made it cool to use the French horn hihihi Wink) the music consisted of innovative arrangements influenced by classic music techniques such as polyphony.
 
Hughugs xxx
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 26 2014 at 22:15
Originally posted by ProgPassion ProgPassion wrote:

I have refrained from obtaining the music of several jazz artists based on this principle... Count Basie, Bill Evans, Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson to name a few. 
 
Now you mentioned some of the greats, we should not forget Charlie Parker as one of the greats, Miles Davis got his first break when he at the start of his career started playing with Parker in Charlie Parker's Quintet during the mid 40's :) hugs Hug
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