Why was Miles Davis so reviled for his electric period?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Kavorka, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Chevelle Ma Belle

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    You answered your question above. Miles let Teo edit the albums as he saw fit so he didn't have to go back to the studio or have them record more concerts. This was clearly the case for In A Silent Way where Miles and the group didn't record enough usable music to fill an LP. So Teo just created a Da Capo repeat by copying the beginning section to the end.

    Apparently Teo was forced to become even more interventionist later. I assume that was by necessity rather than preference. So you are right that Miles was becoming less concerned about finishing the album himself and letting Teo take care of it.
     
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  2. Kavorka

    Kavorka Chief Bottle Washer Thread Starter

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    Which would explain how come Miles allowed those mischievous atonal guys (Corea, Holland et al) to get away with some free jazz on his records -- it was Teo's choice.
     
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  3. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly...

    Somebody like my wife:laugh: She's finally admitted that she actively hates Miles' electric music: "Stones and Beatles are one thing, I can even handle yer g-ddamn Led Zeppelin concerts with the half hour drum solos. But, please, don't play any of that weird f--kin' Miles Davis music when I'm at home, okay? It drives me nuts!"

    Good thing she wasn't home a couple of weeks ago when I went off on an evening long Tony Williams Lifetime/Trio Of Doom/Mahavishnu Orchestra tangent, she woulda loved that:laugh::laugh::laugh:
     
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  4. ianuaditis

    ianuaditis Evil Twin

    I've thought Spanish Key was one of the coolest things ever from the moment I first heard it.

    I remember I'd just gotten a new CD of it, and coming back from somewhere out with my girlfriend (of 6-8 months or so at the time, now my wife,) putting it on in my apartment. I went into the other room, and when I came back in she was like 'what the hell is this? Do we have to listen to this?'
     
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  5. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly...

    Precisely my wife's (we were still engaged at the time actually) reaction to Bitches Brew the first time she heard it and her attitude towards it hasn't changed in the last six and half years either!:laugh: It was actually when I put Bitches Brew on last Friday while I was making dinner that caused her to lose her sh-t and go on the rant I quoted above- though to be fair, my wife is going through a bit of a "thing" at the moment, call it a midlife crisis, but because I'm a nice guy I will spare her the electric Miles stuff when she's at home, even though she's outnumbered: the kids like Electric Miles too!:righton:
     
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  6. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

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    But they did it every night live for a year or more. If Miles didn't like it, he would have put a stop to it.
     
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  7. Mook

    Mook Forum Resident

    Ha ha, I reckon we should get married.
     
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  8. PIGGIES

    PIGGIES Forum Resident

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    Room for one more? :D
     
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  9. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

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    Lawrenceville, NJ
    Miles diminished skills in Agharta/Pangaes period made less difference as he was alway as much about what he did not play as about what he did play. A Trane with diminished chops would have been a lot less worthwhile.
     
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  10. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

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    Lawrenceville, NJ
    When I had a car that let you choose among 5 playlists to randomly select from, one was the "stuff to play when my wife is not in the car" list. Post divorce got repurposed to a "stuff to play when kids not in the car" list.
     
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  11. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly...

    :laugh::laugh::laugh: Sorry, guys, my wife might be acting a little nuts right now but for the most part the marriage is still good (I think. I hope...). Besides, I feel like I'd be getting hitched to Johnny Boy and Christine from the GTO's:p
    Like I said, though, my kids like Miles Davis.In the name of keeping the peace in the family I'll spare my wife but when she's not around...hell, I still need to try and find the time this weekend to do my "listening to On The Corner under the influence of legal weed" experiment!
     
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  12. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

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    Electric Miles never made the list. Zappa, King Crimson, Residents and Beefheart were the mainstays
     
  13. Kavorka

    Kavorka Chief Bottle Washer Thread Starter

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    ^^^This!
     
  14. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Chevelle Ma Belle

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    Miles was quite ill during the 70s aside from the drugs and lifestyle issues and it certainly shows up in his playing. Without Teo not much would have been released and the music would sound even less finished than it does. It made a big difference that Teo was a classically trained composer.
     
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  15. Kavorka

    Kavorka Chief Bottle Washer Thread Starter

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    Not sure if I agree. For example, much as I adore "Live/Evil", it wasn't until I got the uncut "The Cellar Door Sessions 1970 Box set" that I finally understood what a brilliant band that was. Teo's ham fisted cuts did Miles a disfavour, in my opinion. Miles was much better when left alone to fully develop the band dynamics.
     
  16. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Teo, on editing those records:

    Later on, with Miles' music, I must say, you could do anything with it. He said to me, "Do whatever you want." I say, "Oh yeah, okay, I'll take care of it." So you could use the front in the back, the back in the front, the middle somewhere else, or you didn't have to use any of that. Many times when I was working on a Miles album, and editing it, I would take everything from the very beginning of the session, any little fragment, I would mix it down and put it all together. And then finally (I'd) cut the material and put it all together using the three-machine splice technique with a lot of reverb machines and all kinds of techniques that we had at that time. One guy said he was going to take a record back because he heard the music going back and forth, left and right. Well, we had a machine that did that with Miles. I mean, if you listen to some of the tracks, you hear the shifting. You say 'what the hell is going on?'

    You know, even on Bitches Brew and all that stuff, that was all mechanically done in the editing room. All subject to Miles' approval. He came to the session, I mean the editing room, about six times in his lifetime while I was with him at CBS. And the one time that he did come when we were doing In a Silent Way, and everybody says that's a classic record. Sure it is a classic record. I said, "Look at it, I've mixed everything now on this particular record, I think you'd better get your ass down here because," I said, "I'm really bewildered, because I've got 30, 35 reels of quarter-in masters, and I said, I gotta cut it down to two, an A side and a B side." And I said, "If you don't come, I'm gonna make the cuts anyway." He said, "Aw, ****, I'll be right down." So he came down, and he stayed with me most of the day, and what happened was that he, we, cut out everything down to two reels of tape with eight and a half minutes on each side, and then he started to leave. I said, "Where the hell you going?" He said, "That's my record." I said, "Wait a minute, you can't do this. They're going to skin you alive, they'll do me in." They wanted to do me in anyway, because we were kind of rebels at the time.

    And I said... "give me a couple days and I'll see what I can figure out," because we've got these two reels with one eight and a half, nine minutes on one side, and something on the other side. So what I did, I copied little excerpts of the very, if you listen to it very carefully, you'll hear a lot of repeats, but you don't know that they're repeats, because it sounds like a continuous song, and a continuous performance. I bridged... I made 18 minutes... I mean the eight and a half minutes or nine minutes come up to eighteen and a half, nineteen or twenty minutes on that side. I said, "I'm home free." And I did the same thing on Side B. And then, the record became a classic. But the critics wouldn't know that. I mean, that's why... I love critics, but I don't like them to review my records.

    I would do all kinds of devious things, subject to Miles' approval, because every record I ever made with him, he heard before we went to press. If he didn't like it, I said, "we could change it." There was some talk on On the Corner when they had the nine bands, nine different titles, and they said, "the first pieces sounds like one band, why do you have all those titles?" Well, I was so devious in those days, that I wanted the artists to make some money. The only way the artist can make any money on his mechanical royalties would be to split up the song that the album- in the eight or the nine tracks, list 'em, he gets three cents for each side, or each track, or four cents for each track, instead of the usual four cents for 16 minutes, or whatever it might be. So I was trying to make them – I did this for Brubeck on a number of projects, and I did this on Miles whenever I could. And sometimes when I would just make up a funny foreign-y kind of cue sheet and say it's twenty minutes, so the guy gets... you paid for minutes of music. I mean, it was fun. I'm sure CBS didn't like it because they had to pay the extra money, but I didn't give a damn. I mean, I was out for the artist. That was my problem with CBS, because I would tell the artist what to do in terms of the contract.
     
  17. Olompali

    Olompali Forum Resident

    I read once, somewhere, that the Grateful Dead created a clause in their WB contract that they would be paid by recorded minutes rather than sides or tracks and this precedent initiallly helped the Jazzers more than rock groups.
     
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  18. ianuaditis

    ianuaditis Evil Twin

    I was replying in a similar vein to @chervokas last post.

    IIRC Rock Scully, GD manager, said they consulted some jazz artists, who said they got paid by the minute rather than by the track.

    The GD had to add spurious track names to Anthem of the Sun so they would get paid for it, The Other One was all one suite, they broke it down into four parts with different authors for royalty/publishing purposes.
     
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  19. ATR

    ATR Forum Resident

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    IIRC Rock Scully, GD manager, said they consulted some jazz artists, who said they got paid by the minute rather than by the track.

    The GD had to add spurious track names to Anthem of the Sun so they would get paid for it, The Other One was all one suite, they broke it down into four parts with different authors for royalty/publishing purposes.[/QUOTE]


    Indeed, all you have to do is google 'mechanical royalties sound recordings' to learn how mechanicals are actually calculated. Rock Scully is correct. Royalties are paid by the composition or by time, whichever is greatest. I found that about 80% or more of what Teo has to say in that monologue above is bluster and b.s. There is quite clearly only one repeated section on In A Silent Way, the title track played at the beginning and end of Side 2 with It's About That Time in the middle. And once again, we are far from the question that begat this discussion.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
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  20. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Chevelle Ma Belle

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    Record companies back in the day were not putting out LP box sets. Even two records sets were an indulgence for top artists mostly so Teo had to edit. I understand that strong fans have relaxed attitudes about their favorite artists. For me, Teo could have done much more editing on all these albums to good effect. But I am more concerned about overall form than the average fan.
     
  21. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Chevelle Ma Belle

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    Not sure I agree that the Teo editing questions are irrelevant to the reception that these albums got back in the day. Yes Silent Way had a Da Capo section added as I stated above. The significance though is that Miles didn't even bother to record enough material to fill an LP. Otherwise Teo wouldn't have been forced to do anything (although formally it is an improvement). So Miles' life issues were impacting these albums forcing Teo to do things he otherwise wouldn't have done. Doesn't that affect the final product and thus the reception however you feel about them?
     
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  22. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    The answer to the OP is change. People don't like change.
     
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  23. ATR

    ATR Forum Resident

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    I guess this video hasn't appeared here yet and that people haven't seen it.
     
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  24. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

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    There was other material recorded at the time that they could have included (such as "The Ghetto Walk" recorded only a few days later), but I don't think it would have fit the mood.
     
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  25. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Chevelle Ma Belle

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    Well it proves the point about Miles disengagement right at this point in time and continuing forward. I have the Mosaic boxes of the 1965-68 group and the Silent Way sessions. The playing on the Kilimanjaro songs are not only tight; it is clear that the attention of Miles was stronger. They did two takes of only one song Tout De Suite and it is clear why they decided to take a second try at it (it was not due to mistakes). Things become looser and looser on all the other Silent Way material that didn't make the album and it suggests that Miles was not as actively directing things..

    It is instructive to compare these albums with the Grateful Dead's Anthem of the Sun referenced above which mixed studio and live material through heavy editing. With Anthem the live playing is subjected to extreme selection and editing to fit within a planned formal structure. Teo didn't and couldn't go that far without Miles very active involvement. Garcia and Lesh did commit the necessary time to supervise the editing for Anthem.
     
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