RARA-AVIS: Jazz Nonsense

From: Ted White ( tedwhite@compusnet.com)
Date: 09 Jan 2002

Okay, that did it. I'm de-lurking. I know this post appeared last November, but it Sets Me Off.

dave < birdlives@earthlink.net> wrote:

> I'm sorry to git down, but you sound like one ignorant
> motherfucker. To call Miles overrated is to know nothing
> about jazz. I don't know how he "damaged" Coltrane's
> either. Cecil Taylor holds no candle, and Ornette does
> genius, but he also shows no respect, by playing trumpet
> violin, without ever taking a lesson. Miles talks alot
> how he dug Ornette, btw.

The ignorance appears to be yours. You appear to be incredibly ignorant of Cecil Taylor's work, and that nonsense about "Ornette does show genius, but he also shows no respect, by playing trumpet and violin, without ever taking a lesson" doesn't even make grammatical sense, much less any other kind.

> Miles is almost single handedly responsible for John
> career. Not to mention how close he was to Gil Evans, the
> one white man he loved. (And did countless albums with.)
> "Birth Of the Cool" sides invented third stream in
> Everything afterwards came outta those sides.

1. You are also incredibly ignorant about John Lewis' career -- which, if he owes anything to anyone outside the MJQ (Milt Jackson, in other words), he owes to Dizzy Gillespie, in whose band he first played and in which he met the fellow members of what was originally the Milt Jackson Quartet. I don't think Lewis's career was advanced much, if at all, by Miles, and I wonder how you can make such a preposterous claim.

2. Miles owes more to Lewis (and Evans) than they do to him for the "Birth of the Cool" sides. Davis fronted the group, but it met in Gil Evans' appartment and was a composers' co-op. As for "invent[ing] third stream in 1948-49," more ignorance. I guess you never heard the early works of Robert Graettinger, much less the mid- and late-'40s Claude Thornhill Orchestra (for whom Gil Evans and George Russell wrote arrangements) -- the direct precursor of the "Davis" Nontet.

3. Davis didn't do "countless albums" with Gil Evans. There were exactly *4* Columbia albums.

> Likewise, Miles invented "fusion" in the sixties Why?
> Because he felt music should be alive, and not exist
> some mausoleum. Yeah, "jazz" was dead, then. But Miles was

> totally into Sly and the Family Stone, and he was chasing
> Sly throughout this period. Every great jazz musician of
> this late stage apprenticed with Miles -- Keith Jarrett,
> John McLaughlin, Chick Corea ... the list is endless.

So Davis was "chasing" another junkie, eh? But jazz was
*far* from dead during Miles' fusion period. Look at the careers of Charles Mingus and Sun Ra in that period, just for starters.

> I'm sorry, but I will brook no criticism of Miles. No
> what Dizzy said. Miles always respected and loved Dizzy,
> I saw them all in the last years, and Dizzy's music,
> always sucked. Miles, at least, had some moments. But in
> sixties, and early seventies -- those Miles sides are ...
> total motherfuckers.

To each his own, but you've placed Davis on a pedestal and made yourself just another guy who bought the hype and helped make Davis the most overrated (and underachieving) jazz musician of his era.

Back to lurking....

--Ted White

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