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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Miles Davis - “Get Up With It” (2 x Vinyl LP, CBS)

For the longest time, I avoided Miles Davis electric albums for reasons I truly don’t understand.   I think my mind-set was perhaps that his work was the best from the 1950s and the rest …was, not that important.  I’m clearly an idiot.  For example, just by chance, I purchased “Get Up With It, ” which seems by the packaging as an album of loose-ends and recordings.  Stuff that didn’t make it to the final album.  Therefore, probably not that interesting.  As I mentioned a few sentences ago, I’m an idiot.

“Get Up With It,” is in many ways, a wrong title for this collection of moody reflective and kind of down orientated music.  What it is, and clearly so, even after the first listening experience - a masterpiece.  “He Loved Him Madly” a song dedicated to Duke Ellington, is just like floating on a dark moist cloud.   Miles plays organ (pretty much through the album) with block minimal notes, that adds a certain intensity to the whole sound landscape.   As an homage, it’s a dark piece of music.   It’s an odd track to launch off an album.  The next track on the other side, “Maiysha” is more upbeat.  At this point and time, I don’t think Miles was thinking jazz, but just ‘music.' Or to be straight forward ‘funk.’  

I have read that Brian Eno’s favorite Miles album is this one - and I can clearly hear the Miles influence on some of Eno’s work as a solo artist as well as a producer - for instance Talking Heads.  For me, the track that makes me go ga-ga is “Calypso Frelimo.” Miles’ playing the organ on this one is such a sweet melody that comes in and out of the mix.  “Billy Preston” is another standout track for me.  The mixture of Miles’ version of funk, with the addition of sitar and Tabla is just the right combination.  Superb album.