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Posts Tagged ‘Miles Davis’

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Practically all great artists accept the influence of others. But… the artist with vision… by integrating what he has learned with his own experiences… molds something distinctly personal.

-Romare Bearden

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This morning, I came across this quote from Romare Bearden, a favorite of mine. It reminded me of a conversation I had with another artist last night at the opening for the Masterpieces exhibit at the West End Gallery.

This artist, who has a formidable talent level that was obvious to see in their past work, is in the midst of breaking loose creatively in a way that is establishing a distinct voice. It’s exciting to see the work blossom, thrilling to see an artist take their toolbag of acquired skills and transform them into something unique and personal, something that moves them out and away from their teachers and influences.

It is interesting to witness this artist’s enthusiasm for the new work balloon in a way that creates even more enthusiasm. Each new piece pushes the next forward and forms more and more energy. And that personal voice becomes stronger.

It’s a rare thing to experience and a hard thing to describe. But it is certainly fun to watch when it does happen.

To go with the Bearden piece at the top, Jazz II, from 1980, I thought I’d share the Miles Davis classic So What. Seems like a good way to start yet another dark gray Saturday.

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It’s a dark, damp day here that seems to sap the color out of the forest around the studio. All grays and browns and pale washed out greens.

It very much feels like the blues. The music, not the color.

I’ve got much to do today so I’m going to share a video that shows many of the works from one of my favorite painters, Charles Burchfield, set to the sound of one of my favorite Miles Davis songs, Blue in Green.

It’s a fitting song for a day like the one outside my studio windows.

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GC Myers- Signals 2006It’s Sunday morning and I want to play one of my all-time favorite songs, Nature Boy.  It’s an extraordinary song from an unusual character by the name of eden ahbez, who I have written about before here on the blog, who wrote the song specifically for Nat King Cole.  The story of ahbez and how the song came into the hands of Nat King Cole is really interesting but the result was a glorious rendition of the song by Cole that remained locked on the charts at #1 for eight weeks in 1948.

Spare and elegant, it is an absolutely gorgeous song which I think is evidenced by the many, many fine versions of it through the years by a wide range of artists.  I thought for today I would stray from the Nat King Cole performance, as perfect as it is, to focus on versions by two other giants of jazz, Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis.  The first video is a wonderful piece of animation from artist Ros Lukman that has the inimitable Ella Fitzgerald accompanied by guitarist Joe Pass.  Just a great version as is Miles Davis’ interpretation  which is immediately below it.

Relax and give a listen. Have a good Sunday…


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empathyAfter reading a recent Op-Ed piece in the NY Times from psychologist Daniel Goleman provocatively titled Rich People Just Care Less, which puts forward a theory that some of the problems caused by the growing inequality between the upper and lower classes may be the result of a lack of empathy by those in power, I was going to write once again about the the apparent empathy deficit in this world.  But this as far as I can go with it today.  It seems obvious to me that no amount of logic or evidence or words of shame can sway the actions of those lacking in empathy.  Need we  look any further for evidence than the current stalemate in Washington or the case now before the Supreme Court that will effectively take off all limits on campaign donations, further squelching the voice of the least powerful and most vulnerable?

No, I am not in the mood to go on with this today.  I throw up my hands and say “So what!”

Let’s listen to some music that fits the title.  Here’s one of my favorites, the great Chet Baker from 1964 with his version of the Miles Davis classic, So What.  Good music to chill to.

 

 

 

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I was looking earlier online for a video of the song Blue Christmas to accompany this little painting that I have used as a Christmas card in the past.  I wanted something other than Elvis’ version, which is the standard by which all other versions are judged.  I was amazed at how many different people have covered the song.  There are rock versions , big band and country versions from dozens and dozens of various artists from every segment of the musical spectrum that all seem to pay homage to Elvis’ particular take on the song.  There are different instrumental versions including a charming version on the harp played by a teen who is lamenting the loss of her homeschool teacher, versions from various handbell groups (I particularly liked the one from the Trinity University) and one on the ukulele from one of my favorites, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britiain.

It is an amzing array of sounds and styles that cover this beloved holiday song.  But I found one video entitled Blue Christmas that is another song altogether.  It’s features the trumpet of Miles Davis and the sax of Wayne Shorter and is even bluer in tone than the songs above.  Maybe it’s the odd little animation that accompanies it that gives it even a glummer feel for the holiday.  But it swings.

Take a look-

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