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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Welcome to Straight No Chaser, the Award-winning Podcast hosted by Jeffrey Siegel

Jun 5, 2011

Almost twenty years after his death (the anniversary will be September 28), there seems to be no end to the public’s – and music industry’s – interest in all things Miles Davis. Last year saw epic box sets on the market, and this year seems to be no different. A long promised film on the great trumpet player’s life starring Don Cheadle has been shelved until 2013, but a number of musical projects either have appeared or will appear shortly. A well received book, Miles: The Companion Guide to the Autobiography, was published in February, and you can click here for a free sampler to check it out.

Podcast 217 takes a gander at some of these projects, which range from tributes to unreleased gems to mere repackaging, including:

Lewis Soloff and the Harmonie Ensemble – “Solea” from Sketches of Spain. Trumpeter Soloff and conductor Steve Richman recorded this moving, if slightly reverential, complete performance of the Davis/Gil Evans collaboration in New York three years ago.  It takes the talented Soloff, who played with Evans orchestra for a number of years, all the way to this ending tune before he really cuts loose and shows the spirit inside this moody masterpiece. Recording the concert version held the previous night in New York’s “Jazz Church” (St. Peter’s) might have been a better idea.

Miles Davis – “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down“ from Bitches Brew Live. There are seemingly endless electric Miles live albums, but this CD includes Miles’ set from the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival (catch him in the DVD of “Message to Love” when you get a chance) and three fascinating and previously unheard tracks from the 1969 Newport Jazz Festival. The recording of Bitches Brew was still a month away when David, Jack DeJohnette (drums), Dave Holland (bass) and Chick Corea (keyboards) hit the stage at in Rhode Island, bringing some of the most shocking electric moments since Dylan plugged in his guitar five years earlier on the same stage.

Animation -"Spanish Key" from Asiento. Bob Beldon (sax), Tim Hagans (trumpet) and Scott Kinsey (keyboard/synthesizer), as well as Matt Garrison (bass), Guy Licata (drums) and DJ Logic (turntables), are behind this reimagining of material from Bitches Brew. Given that Beldon produced the 4 disc Bitches Brew reissue, this is man who knows his Miles. This version of  a song that was actually released as a single may bear little resemblance to the original in some ways, but it captures the adventurous heart of the piece.

Miles Davis – “Walkin’“ from The Unissued Japanese Concerts  This CD completes  the only recorded appearances of saxophonist Sam Rivers with the Davis Quintet, which embarked on Miles’ first tour of Japan in 1964. The July 14th performance was previously available as Miles in Tokyo, but this version of one of Davis’ greatest pieces comes form the July 15th show in Kyoto. The rest of the band is the familiar Second Great Quintet members – Miles on trumpet, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass and Tony Williams on drums.

Allman Brothers Band – “Spanish Key” from unreleased recording at the Beacon Theatre in New York, March 14, 2011. The ABB has functioned as a de facto jazz band since their inception, and from time to time they'll pick up a jazz tune and throw it into their set list for kicks. This year's Beacon Theatre run featured this Miles tune opening a number of sets. For this version, the core band is joined by Bill Evans on sax and John Ginty on piano, sitting in for Brother Gregg.The song showed up on the set list again on March 21, wiht the Asbury Jukes Horns and Randy Brecker joining the band.