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Friday, May 07, 2010

Comment of the Moment: Miles Davis and Neil Young

Recently, we linked over to a great analysis of the musical complexities and similarities of Miles Davis and Neil Young.

The Comment of the Moment is by Mr Henry:
Thanks for highlighting this article. Lots of good comparing and contrasting can be done when it comes to Miles and Neil. I especially enjoy the observation that both are not true virtuosos with their instruments in the traditional sense, and how their awareness of this becomes one of the key factors to their enduring genius and artistry.

I saw Miles Davis many times from 1973 to the late 80's. His mid 70's band with Pete Cosey was an absolute monster...they were a couple decades or more ahead of their time. Their set at Newport in 1975 was completely staggering...and most of the audience was looking bored or confused! This was one of the last shows before Miles took a five year vacation. When he returned, I was at the club show where he stepped off the stage into the audience and played a solo for Cicely Tyson.

Fortunately there is an amazing abundance of recordings that we can now enjoy again and for the first time. And with the passage of a few decades, we can see that all of the work is worthy and interesting, but there are certain periods that still have a total immediacy to their work. In this way, Miles and Neil are artists of a true and similar nature.

Thanks Mr. Henry!

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At 5/08/2010 06:36:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The remark about the audience looking bored at the Davis gig is particularly salient. I saw Neil perform Greendale at Manchester solo. I thought it was the most mesmorising performance I have ever seen in my life and also one of the most important as the stories Neil told that night gave a great insight into the Horse recording processes, his relationship with his father and Neil's own childhood. He went off script a few times which was real insightful. Also the story was spell binding, the narrative structure which underpinned the Greendale story shows that Neil is different to other artists. He was akin was to a medievil minstrel delivering the news from outside the village boundaries to the villages through music and rhythm. However, going back to my point I could not understand the boredom expressed by some of the audience. It seemed everyone was getting up between songs to go to either the bar or the toilet. This can also be seen on the Vicar st. DVD. The lady next to meet complained to her husband all the way through that he was playing songs no one knew. Then ironically fell asleep. Between Greendale and the closing set loads of people just left and missed a rendition of expecting to fly that was nothing but hypnotic. Between the sets I went from a smoke and all I heard were disgruntled comments, people were extremely puzzled by it. Looking back it was odd. However, I think with hindsight people now see Greendale as one of the most important periods of Neil's career but ultimately at the time it was (by some) treated with disdain.

Mr. Clean


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