I’m certainly impressed that Darcy spent the weekend going back through all the Miles Davis 70s albums, and then had the time to write a very thoughtful piece about it, complete with sound clips. His labor is well worth everyone’s time.
One footnote I wanted to add, to end my poor bit in the DJA/Bad Plus extravaganza. While I didn’t listen as heavily as Darcy, I did check out Dark Magus (really for the first time), and also some of the late 80s live stuff. And thought, no one talks enough about Miles' time feel. It’s perfect, picture perfect. My high school sax teacher used to talk about Sonny Rollins having “perfect time” the way some musicians have perfect pitch. I don’t know if it’s a gift or a skill (more likely some of both) but there are certain musicians who know exactly where in the time to put everything, where it feels the absolute best it could possibly feel. Along with (in my view anyway), Monk, James Brown and Prince, Miles laps the field here. Even in “Tutu” on the Time after Time discs, where his chops are a fraction of what they are in the 70s, every time he plays a note everything feels sooo good. Horn players rarely get enough credit, or take enough blame, for how they play the time (as opposed to just playing in the time), and it’s something that’s always worth mentioning. And, as in many things, Miles is the master. (Will add examples soon.)
This also puts to rest the notion TBP propose (for me, anyway) that Miles’ trumpet playing is less important to his legacy than his bandleading. You can’t separate them. How he plays the time is at the center of everything, in every band he ever had, and without it nothing feels the same way.
That said, blogwar ceases, with everyone winning. And, to show I’m not simply being bitter about TBP, I promise this week I will get Suspicious Activity, listen with virgin ears, and report back, hopefully favorably. (Tomorrow Prince’s 3121 is also on the menu. Yippee!)