Nels on Miles

Posted by: admin on May 27, 2010 @ 11:19 am
Filed under: Listening, Music

A cool new podcast just posted over at with Nels Cline talking about his introduction to Miles, the electric years with John McLaughlin, and it’s lasting influence on his own playing. Always great to hear artists talking about artists. Especially when it’s one of my favorite guitar players talking about my favorite Miles period.

And that reminded me of a post from awhile back that Dave wrote on the Complete Cellar Door recordings — one of my favorite of the Artist Thoughts posts. The archives of this blog have 5 years worth of these great posts. It’s been on my list of things to do to go through and repost some of these. Here’s a start anyway.

Illuminations on the Cellar Door
April 25th, 2006 | Author: Dave Douglas

I was listening to Miles Davis’ 1970 recordings from the Cellar Door, a space in Washington, DC. These recordings went into making the album Live Evil in 1970. It is an absolute classic of an album, and yet it falls in that controversial zone that separates lovers of early Miles from those entranced by the second half of his recorded tenure, the electric years.

Much has been said about Miles Davis and his music. Sometimes too much, and for that reason I have hesitated to jump in. But in the words of trombonist George Lewis, music doesn’t speak for itself. We have to talk about it because it doesn’t talk. I imagine Miles having the last laugh because like it or not everyone is still talking about his music. I’ll at least try to be concise.

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  1. Thanks so much for the link. I just spent the last hour over there checking out the Miles podcasts. Good Stuff.

    Comment by MailCarrierMike — May 30, 2010 @ 7:14 pm

  2. Here’s another comment about the Cellar Door. When I was in high school, the local library had a copy of Live/Evil LP. This would have been around 1985. Never mind the artistic awsomness that was the cover art, the music really struck me. Around this time I was moving away from Heavy Metal and into Jazz and College Rock. Pat Metheny’s Travels got a lot of play. As did REM. But Miles just really blew my mind open. I think it was the very fact that it was electic and raw and rhythmic allowed me to “connect” with it as a Heavy Metal Kid. John is shredding on guitar. It allowed me to move further into the music that has more or less sustained me for the past 25 years. I then moved both forward and backwards in his catalog (Agharta,Miles Smiles, Decoy). It was like discovering a whole new neverending world of music that encompassed all musics. Not just Miles, but the sidemen as well. I will leave you with the fact that Rated X from Get Up With It is one of my favorite pieces of music.

    Comment by MailCarrierMike — May 30, 2010 @ 7:29 pm

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