I'm Tony Miceli, and I'm a vibe player in Philadelphia, Pa. I play, teach and I run

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Check out this insight on the Miles Band

I recently did a vibe talk podcast with Wilson Moorman. I've emailed him for about a year now. He's a total historian. He knows so much! He plays classical percussion and jazz. He's worked with lots of people including Chick Corea, Ron Carter and Larry Young. Sooo anyway, he was telling me about Sam Rivers playing in the Miles band. Here's an excerpt from our email. I didn't know any of this.

If I were a Bell on track one of that CD has never ending III VI- II V cadences that extend the form in an experimental way. That group was so advanced!!!
Miles was very challenged by that band and Sam's "freedom" was a perfectly favorable contrast, since it was so unabashedly wild! Sam felt that Miles was too "straight" and conservative, but he enjoyed playing with Tony and Herbie. The 1st time I heard that new quintet live at the original Birdland was with Sam, and they were so hip until they nearly ran Miles off the bandstand, but he would always "front" by walking off the bandstand anyhow!!! Sam was then only slightly more conservative than Dolphy. After slamming Dolphy in a Downbeat blindfold test with 4-letter words, Miles begged Dolphy to join the band, and Dolphy probably told him to shove the trumpet up his arrogant pinstriped ass!!! Sam's "outness" prepared Miles for how Wayne would later solo in the last 2 years or so of that infamous acoustic quintet. Tony persuaded Miles to hire Sam until Miles could steal Wayne away from Art Blakey, because 'Trane recommended Wayne ahead of Joe Henderson, who was an occasional auxilliary. Wayne and Herbie would have everyone lay out on certain tunes and they would play extended stratospheric cadenzas before bringing everyone back in. There are some JMY CDs of bootleg Miles Davis Quintet performances with George Wein that are outrageously creatively abstract and all of these occurred after the sessions at the Plugged Nickel in Chicago, which, when I first met Herbie, he described as being "etherial". The player I knew the best, on a professional level, was Ron Carter. When I gigged with him and Mabern, his Fender basslines sounded and felt very acoustic. Ron was and is reclusively introverted, but he knew the whole scene like a mathematician in a chess match. I wasn't going to be dumb enough to ask him very personal questions about his former employer.

I'm almost positive that this scenario is accurate, but transferred details can easily get exaggerated.


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