Happy New Year 2019

WordPress advises me that this is my 500th post. Thanks to all who visited this blog in 2018 and especially to those who commented frequently. Here’s to a great 2019.

His shit was the most exciting music I was hearing in 1982. – Miles Davis on Prince as quoted at Pitchfork. 

Jazzman Miles Davis was a fan of Prince. Or I should say it was a mutual lovefest. What Prince really related to about Miles was his character,” Prince’s saxophonist Eric Leeds told The Last Miles, “his legacy, his mystique and everything that Miles represented as a personality.

Prince saw in Miles so much of what he thought of himself – the person that goes against the grain, that’s opinionated, that doesn’t allow himself to be controlled by any aspect of the industry for his own artistic vision. And that’s very much what Miles saw in Prince. He saw a young version of himself.”

The feeling was mutual. “There are multiple pages in Miles: The Autobiography where Davis focused on his appreciation for the Purple One, comparing Prince’s vocal delivery to Sonny Rollins’ saxophone-playing and musing on his funk pedigree like a learned aficionado. When the folks at Davis’ then-new label Warner Bros. informed him mid-decade that labelmate Prince considered him among his musical heroes, you can envision the smile beaming from the trumpet great’s face as he penned, “I was happy and honored that he looked at me in that way.”

Miles saw himself in Prince—a man who always wanted to push his art in new and challenging directions despite what was considered proper within the confines of such superfluous terms as “jazz,” “pop,” or “R&B.” For both men, it was all just varying layers of “social music,” as Davis termed his craft during a 1969 interview in Rolling Stone.

“He’s got that church thing up in what he does,” Davis continued in his autobiography. “He plays guitar and piano and plays them very well. But it’s the church thing that I hear in his music that makes him special, and that organ thing. It’s a black thing and not a white thing. … He’s the music of the people who go out after ten or eleven at night. For me, he can be the new Duke Ellington of our time if he just keeps at it.”

Despite a few failed attempts at collaborating with each other in the in the mid-1980s, the two did come together to play a show at Paisley Park on December 31, 1987, where Prince rang in the new year with a benefit concert for the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless. Tickets were $200 per person ($450 in 2018 dollars), with 400 people in attendance that night at Paisley Park.

Although Davis wasn’t on stage with Prince the whole time, the two played together on a rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” and Davis remembered his experience visiting Paisley Park in his autobiography, where Prince actually hosted him overnight, a rare honor.

“When Prince asked me to come to Minneapolis to bring in the new year of 1988 and maybe we could play a song or two together, I went. In order to become a great musician, the musician has to have the ability to stretch and Prince can certainly stretch,” Davis wrote. “Me and [bassist] Foley went out to Minneapolis. Man, Prince has got a hell of a complex out there. Record and movie equipment, plus he had an apartment for me to stay in. The whole thing seems like it’s about a half a block.”

Ok, so this isn’t “Auld Lang Syne” but you’ll probably get enough of that tonight. And really, who cares when you have these two greats together for the first (and only) time:

Sources: Wikipedia; Pitchfork; Diffuser; The Current (online mag)

30 thoughts on “Happy New Year 2019

  1. I have to admit I’m usually not listening to Miles Davis, but that clip is just friggin’ awesome!

    And what a great background story – I had no idea of the mutual admiration Prince and Davis had for each other. Once again this shows great musicians like to play with other great musicians.

    Congrats to the 500th post and Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My prediction for you for 2019 – More Miles! Also more tribute bands. I just found out that there’s a tribute band called Tramps Like Us playing in town. Alas, it’s tomorrow night so, not happening for me. Maybe next time. But there’s also a Petty tribute band that I might see later in the year. Anyway, yeah that’s a great clip. Miles could not possibly have been more complimentary of the Purple One.

      Happy New Year to you too

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks, Jim! That Springsteen tribute sounds familiar. Not sure whether I have seen them. The other night I saw Promised Land. In addition to Springsteen, they play other Jersey rock like Southside Johnny, Little Steven, etc. The vocalist does a nice job at capturing Springsteen’s voice and band is impressive as well with a cool horn section. There’s another long-time tribute to the Boss called the B Street Band. They’re pretty good as well.

        Last but not least, is the Tom Petty tribute by any chance called Free Fallin’? I think they’re a national band. I saw them at a tribute festival in late September and thought they were great.


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    1. Yeah, it’s hardly his prime but he still gets off some funky stuff. BTW, I have a suggestion for a guest spot over at your crib. Want me to mention it here or get it to you via back channels, secret handshakes code phrases? (“The crow flies at midnight” or “Do you pick your toes in Poughkeepsie?”)

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        1. Hey Doc. CB really lived it up last night. Watched a couple flicks then watched an Austin City hall of fame show. A few people we’ve been discussing lately were on. Chris Isaak hosted. Marcia Ball, Ray Charles and Los Lobos were the inductees. Boz Scaggs joined LL on stage for an encore. Lobos was the treat for me. They thanked a lot of folks. They threw our Doug Sahm in there. So guest appearance from Miles.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I think they get it right as far as deserving folks. You go from Willie/Charles to Radio Head/Nick Cave and everything in between. It’s about the music. Isaak said last night it’s the longest running music show, even longer than your Philly Bandstand.
          It wasn’t the best show but nice to see people like Marcia get the nod. Lobos can rock.


        3. I didn’t post about this but we saw Los Lobos sometime after I posted about them. Good show but I recall being in a funky mood that night. I’d like to see ’em again. They attract some of the Deadheads so it turned into one of their trippy little dance parties at the end.

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  2. 500 posts? That’s what I call prolific! Congratulations! (And look forward to many more.)

    As far as this clip goes – although I realize it’s only a New Years Eve lovefest between musical celebrities- I’ll have to go against the grain and be opinionated, and say: “snore.” Like CB said, a definite James Brown vibe, but merely a vibe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, weirdly I didn’t realize I was anywhere close to that. A note popped up on WordPress and told me. Interestingly, I have cut way back on posts from 180 in 2016 to 118 in 2018. Less is, I think, more.

      Yeah, it’s not the greatest collaboration of all time for sure. But that is largely true whenever I see musicians jam. It’s almost always pointless and almost never really goes anywhere unless they’ve actually rehearsed something. I do appreciate your honesty on that and other things though. I prefer that to people who, I guess, want to spare my feelings or something when they comment. Fuck my feelings – let ‘er rip sez I. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. [If I criticize, it’s never directed toward the writer or his essay, but toward the music (or whatever the subject is). I think a lot of commenters feel they have to always be positive, or their intentions might be misinterpreted.]

        You’re absolutely right about these spontaneous all-star jams. My favorite is one with Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Johnny Winter. All musical legends, but the bootlegged jam session (from Steve Paul’s Scene club, 1970) is pretty atrocious. Morrison was wasted, and just spews obscenities into the mic!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Densmore and Krieger say he was an alcoholic, and it got worse as time went on. Densmore says when he was drinking he became an asshole they referred to as “Jimbo.” They never knew if Jim or “Jimbo” would show up at the studio.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Yeah Jimbo had his demons. My brother seen The Doors back then and said “Old Jimbo” was drunk as a skunk. Just as drunk as CB would get. Some guys and gals could mail it in no matter their condition. Not Morrison.


        3. And so in one of those great coincidences, while researching Linda Ronstadt, I stumbled on a fairly recent video where she’s asked about how well she knew Morrison. Not that well she says as he was moody and distant. It also bugged her that people in the audience who seemed to have an “identity crisis” projected themselves on him in what she called a “narcissistic feeding frenzy.” She said he was a drunk but she dug the band and got along well with the other guys.

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        4. Drunks are a pain in the ass. I know that The Who were at their end with Moon before he kicked off.
          Ronstadt/Morrison reminds me of Emmy Lou Harris with Gram Parsons. He was mess and she held it together and got things half assed together. Similar to CB and his gal.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I never cared for Miles Davis that much, maybe because I never listened to him that much. Sure do miss Prince though.

    Addressing the previous comments about Jim Morrison, I saw The Doors live one time, at the brand new Long Beach Arena in California in 1970.. I was only 14 years old, and so looking forward to the concert. Morrison was so messed up he was hanging onto the microphone just to stand up. I do think he was an amazing talent, but all that fame, money and drugs was just too much for him.

    Sad, but still I love him for his words and the music he left us.


    1. Sounds like we’re about in the same age bracket. I never saw the Doors though, never even came close. I’ll have to do a piece or two on them one day. Anyway, welcome to my corner of the blogosphere

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Late to the party here, but Happy New Year, Jim. This stuff is a joy… I remember finding this footage after a Miles footage search after reading his book. Incredible stuff (the book).


      1. It was his autobiography I read, but I know So What and the Miles Davis ‘definitive’ bio are meant to be good. It’s just a case of getting to them. The autiobiography was particularly striking cause he didn’t gloss over things that some perhaps would. Compelling reading, that’s for sure.

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