Miles Davis on Sun Ra, 1968

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#1 Mon, 1994-09-12 07:43
Brett Mizelle
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Miles Davis on Sun Ra, 1968

Greetings Saturnites:

I found this Down Beat Blindfold Test while killing time at the library the other day. Assuming some of you are unfamiliar with this, I thought it'd might be provocative to post it to the list...

Sun Ra. Brainville, from Sun Song (Delmark). Dave Young, trumpet; Sun Ra, composer (rec. 1956).

Miles Davis: That's gotta come from Europe. We wouldn't play no shit like that. It's so sad. It sounds funny to me. Sounds like a 1935 arrangement by Raymond Scott. They must be joking--the Florida A&M band sounds better than that. They should record them, rather than that shit. They've got more spirit than that. That ain't nothing. Why put that on record? What does that do? You mean there's somebody around here that feels like that? Even the white people don't feel that sad.

Leonard Feather: Do you think that's a white group?

Miles Davis: The trumpet player didn't sound white...I don't know, man. You know, there's a little thing that trumpet players play to make a jazz sound, that if you don't have your own sound, you can hear an adopted jazz sound, which is a drag, especially in the mute. I mean you can tell when a guy's got his own thing.

People should have good friends to tell them, "Man, that ain't it, so don't play trumpet," you know what I mean? Or "Don't play drums, 'cause you don't have anything." I'd rather have that said to me than go on playing trumpet when it doesn't sound like I want it to sound. I know he doesn't want it to sound like that, so he should work at it, or play another instrument--a lower instrument.

When an arrangement's tight like that, you have to play every chord, because the background parts when they record, like they play them single, instead of making it smooth--and it's hard to play like that. You have to play each chord, then play the other chords or you never connect anything, and in between it's just blank.

To me it's just like canned music. Even canned music sounds good sometimes, but not shit like this.

from: Miles Davis, Blindfold Test with Leonard Feather, 1968, cited in The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies, edited by L. Feather and I. Gitler, Da Capo, New York, 1976.

Brett Mizelle "The splinter in your eye John's Black Dirt / Sullen Teen Rekkids is the best magnifying glass" P.O. Box 13153 Dinkytown MN 55414 USA Theodor Adorno mize0002@gold.tc.umn.edu