Sometimes there are artists who influence others in a truly profound yet unexpected way. So is it in my life with the music of Miles Davis. I grit my teeth in angst that I never saw him in person. Indeed, I was not even a follower back when he was alive. I thought Dave Brubeck, who happened to live near me in Fairfield, CT, when I was growing up, had it all. But throughout the years, Miles kept popping up in my cd collection. I kept returning to “Sketches of Spain”, mesmerized by its beauty. I had yet to discover “Kind of Blue.” In fact, that happened by chance when I spent an afternoon jamming at Jazz Central in Minneapolis, and someone challenged me to learn his solo from “So What.”
Well now I listen to a steady stream of Miles’ music. Some I like, some makes me cringe, and some leaves me breathless, such as the solo about 5 minutes in on the “Live Around the World” version of “Time After Time.” I am hooked. I like being immersed. I am becoming transformed.
But I realize with a truly painful sensation that I had been studying the wrong discipline, the wrong modality, and the wrong tonality. I was classically-trained, whatever that means. I studied with Sid Zeitlin, the perpetually disgruntled perfectionist who was at that time the Principal Flute of the Minnesota Orchestra. I was not completely comfortable, but I didn’t know why. Now I do.
I never liked having to play the same thing twice. And I was never able to equate those who do with anyone who was truly creative.
And so, I am absorbed in learning Miles’ language. And in interpreting it in my own way.
Here is the first piece — a simple working track on my CDbaby page that I call “My Miles…Autumn Leaves…” 🙂
Oh, by the way, “Miles” is also the name of my horse…his gaits are incredibly smooth, and he is quite the cool character too…