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Miles In Tokyo
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"Reedición del álbum editado originalmente en 1969. Sonido remasterizado, incluye textos y fotos adicionales no incluidos en la edición original en vinilo producido por Kiyoshi Itoh. Concierto grabado en directo en el Kohseinenkin Hall, Tokyo (Japón), el 14 de julio de 1964. Miles Davis: trompeta, Sam Rivers: saxo tenor, Herbie Hancock: piano, Ron Carter: bajo, Tony Williams: batería".
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On sent le désir et la recherche d'une musique qui n'a pas d'équivalent.
Et pour les disques de cette époque je préfère Sam Rivers à George Coleman, plus personnel, plus indépendant et plus musical. (Il y a des sessions avec Coleman qui sont extraordinaires d'énergies (voir :FOUR and MORE)
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Well, George Coleman's time to leave the band came. So, with amounted to a promissory note for Wayne Shorter from Art Blakey, Miles need a tenorist yesterday. Sam Rivers, newcomer to the scene, was selected and to Tokyo the band. Here, available in an American pressing for the first time ever, is the concert date at Kohseinerkin Hall on July 14, 1964.
The sound was different here than any other date Miles did.
The sound is the question, right? Well, if you listen to My Funny Valentine, Live At Plugged Nickel, Seven Steps To Heaven, or Live in Berlin; you know the sound of the early quintet. They are developmental, experimental, polyrhythmic, fluid and (the difference in the early performances) conservative. Everyone, including Miles, is using the musicality of space to enhance his motifs and thematic material. Herbie is, as always, turning the melody into a song length harmonic experiment. Ron Carter is following behind the group with some early elements that would become know as `funky'. `Ant' Williams (R.I.P.) makes the whole song his solo. Tony always had a way of developing his approach to the tempo through the entire piece.
One final note is the presence of Sam Rivers. Well, if you have any of his early works (Fuchsia, Fuchsia Swing; Countors, Inventions and Dimensions, Trio Live) then you already know what to expect. His playing is punchy, dynamic, employing much staccato and almost paying to attention no any time restrictions.
Any fans of the second quintet or Sam Rivers will love this album. Also, give a hard listen to the album Countors (Freddie Hubbard, Sam Rivers (lead), Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams).
Not for the novice, this is jazz as only Miles can do it.
Rivers was recommended by the young Tony Williams. Note that Tony had also recommended Eric Dolphy but Miles was having none of that. What's interesting is Rivers and Dolphy, while they sound nothing alike and don't even play the same horn, approach the sax in much the same way. Both have a very expressive way of playing each and every note.
While it's true that Rivers wasn't the player Miles was looking for, it is clear that his presence changed the way Miles' band listened to one another and played. Just listen to the version of "So What" on Tokyo and compare it to the recording made in Berlin a couple of months later with Wayne Shorter on sax. It's as if Miles made a giant leap forward on Tokyo and then took a step back. The rhythm section on Tokyo sounds much closer to what we hear on ESP than the first recording with Shorter (Berlin). Rivers is positively outrageous on So What, you've never heard a Miles Davis band that sounds like THAT.
Another good reason for purchasing Tokyo is that is includes what biographer Chambers calls the essential performance of Funny Valentine. I have to agree with that assessment.
Rivers might not have been the sax player Miles had in mind but it's clear that Rivers is the person who managed to nudge open the door to a much more flexible sound for Miles' 2nd great quartet.
This is great stuff! Buy it!
Now, I love Rivers' work, but clearly this was not a match that Davis was ready for, and Rivers sounds out of place. The set in the summer of 1964 was largely unadventerous, Davis had not recorded regularly with his small group in several years (1963's "Seven Steps to Heaven" being the only date during between March 1961 and January 1965), and there was a lack of new material (attributed by Davis to having "nothing left" after recording "Sketches of Spain"). As a result, the music Davis was playing was rather tame compared to what the Ornette Colemans and the Cecil Taylors (and for that matter the Charles Minguses and John Coltranes) were doing by this point. While his young band was far more schooled in free jazz, Davis was not ready.
So what we have is Davis playing a bunch of tired pieces with a rhythm section that pushes the level of energy up-- Davis plays well enough, railing away agressively pretty much throughout, but he's nothing compared to Rivers. Rivers' soloing is explosive, fierce, energetic, and unpredictable, often eschewing standard time and rhythmic ideas ("So What"), and yet sometimes surprisingly lyrical ("If I Were a Bell"), so far beyond what the rest of the band was doing that he sometimes loses them. And certainly Davis was unhappy with him, not allowing him to state the themes.
It's really an interesting record, and certainly everyone plays well enough, but Rivers was a square peg and it shows.
Sam Rivers' playing style is perhaps the most adventurous of any saxophonist who ever worked with Miles Davis, and Rivers' first appearance on "If I Were a Bell" will prove jarring after Davis's lulling introduction. When you hear his solo later on "So What", you might mistake it for something Coltrane recorded a year later. Indeed, Rivers began playing unabashed free jazz once he left this short-lived Davis quintet. MILES IN TOKYO is therefore something of a glimpse of what might have been, had Davis too moved toward free jazz instead of sacking Rivers for Wayne Shorter, not just a saxophonist but also a composer of finely crafted bop.
With the exception of Rivers' appearance, MILES IN TOKYO is not an especially great entry in the huge Miles Davis discography. It's a fairly short performance and consists of repertoire that Davis had already recorded a number of times before and sounds bored with. I wish I could say that the other, fairly new musicians were already showing off their talents, but only Williams managed to really shine (especially on "So What"). Still, the concert is entertaining enough, and the sound is great for a 1960s live recording. I'd recommend this to Miles Davis fans who have already collected the studio recordings on both sides of the 1964 date, and who will therefore understand the transitional (and tantalizing) nature of this lineup.