Thursday, November 04, 2010

Miles Davis “My Funny Valentine” (1965)

Never has there been such a perfect example of the difference between what we might call the Apollonian and Dionysian (if we were utterly pretentious). In February 1964, Miles Davis and his then band -- Tony Williams on drums, Ron Carter on bass, Herbie Hancock on piano and George Coleman on sax -- played a concert at New York's Philharmonic Hall that was subsequently split for release on two LPs. The fast numbers went on Four and More, a fun little album but no great shakes; there's plenty of power, but not much else. The ballads, though, wound up here, and the end result is one of the most beautiful and moving jazz records I own. It's stunningly delicate; the five musicians play with almost ESP-like sensitivity to each other. Listen, though, to Miles; he has rarely played with such lyricism, such emotion. "Stella by Starlight" in particular sounds like a direct connection to a place far deeper than any he has gone before. Naked, and necessary. –Brad

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