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The Studio Recordings of the Miles Davis Quintet, 1965-68 (Oxford Studies in Recorded Jazz)

The Studio Recordings of the Miles Davis Quintet, 1965-68 (Oxford Studies in Recorded Jazz) [Kindle Edition]

Keith Waters
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description


an extremely thorough, in-depth, and insightful analytical study. It is a major addition to the field of jazz studies Benjamin Bierman, Journal of Jazz Studies

Product Description

The "Second Quintet" -- the Miles Davis Quintet of the mid-1960s -- was one of the most innovative and influential groups in the history of the genre. Each of the musicians who performed with Davis--saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams--went on to a successful career as a top player. The studio recordings released by this group made profound contributions to improvisational strategies, jazz composition, and mediation between mainstream and avant-garde jazz, yet most critical attention has focused instead on live performances or the socio-cultural context of the work. Keith Waters' The Studio Recordings of the Miles Davis Quintet, 1965-68 concentrates instead on the music itself, as written, performed, and recorded.
Treating six different studio recordings in depth--ESP, Miles Smiles, Sorcerer, Nefertiti, Miles in the Sky, and Filles de Kilimanjaro--Waters has tracked down a host of references to and explications of Davis' work. His analysis takes into account contemporary reviews of the recordings, interviews with the five musicians, and relevant larger-scale cultural studies of the era, as well as two previously unexplored sources: the studio outtakes and Wayne Shorter's Library of Congress composition deposits. Only recently made available, the outtakes throw the master takes into relief, revealing how the musicians and producer organized and edited the material to craft a unified artistic statement for each of these albums. The author's research into the Shorter archives proves to be of even broader significance and interest, as Waters is able now to demonstrate the composer's original conception of a given piece. Waters also points out errors in the notated versions of the canonical songs as they often appear in the main sources available to musicians and scholars. An indispensible resource, The Miles Davis Quintet Studio Recordings: 1965-1968 is suited for the jazz scholar as well as for jazz musicians and aficionados of all levels.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4642 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; 1 edition (11 Feb 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004VEEO2G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #339,303 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review 22 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was ordered because of the first class quality of its sister book on Louis Armstrong, but it is certainly able to stand on its own merit. It is always nice to hear from experts on what makes a particular passage so good to listen to and I shall enjoy this book for years.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too serious 1 Jun 2013
By Duckman
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really wonder what Miles would have thought about this scholarly written analysis on the works by the second great quintet. Where is the fun?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for Serious Listeners 7 April 2011
By W. Joness - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Chances are if you have made it this far you are already aquatinted with Miles' second quintet, and you are a musician with at least some knowledge in thoery. And that is really all it takes to appreciate this book! The author has renewed my fascination for this music and helped me hear things I had not previously realized, despite countless listens.

The following is part of an email from the author that identifies specifically which parts of the recordings are analyzed:

"The book chapters are keyed to the individual studio recordings. The E.S.P. chapter deals with "Iris" (composition and Shorter solo), "Little One" (composition and Davis solo), "E.S.P." (composition and Hancock solo), and "Agitation" (composition and a portion of Shorter's solo). The Miles Smiles album examines "Dolores" (composition, Davis solo, and beginning of Shorter solo), "Orbits" (comp, end of Davis solo, Shorter solo, and beginning of Hancock solo), "Circle" (composition and portion of Hancock solo), "Ginger Bread Boy" (Carter accompaniment), and "Freedom Jazz Dance."

"Vonetta" (comp and Shorter solo)
"Prince of Darkness" (comp, Davis and Hancock solos)
"Pee Wee" (composition)
"Masqualero" (composition and form during improvisation)
"Limbo" (composition and alternate take)

"Hand Jive" (comp and Davis solo)
"Nefertiti" (as circular tune)
"Madness" (comp and Hancock solo)
"Pinocchio" (comp and Shorter solo)
"Riot" (form during improvisation)

Miles in the Sky and Filles de Kilimanjaro
"Country Son" (form)
"Paraphernalia" (form)
"Black Comedy" (form and Hancock solo)
"Stuff" (form during head statements)
"Petits Machins" (composition and Davis solo)
"Tout de Suite" (composition)
"Filles de Kilimanjaro" (composition)""

The next chapter on analytic strategies is almost worth the price of the book alone. The only drawback is the sparse analysis of Tony's playing, which the author acknowledges.

For the serious listener, The Studio Recordings of Miles Davis 65-68 is an essential tool for acquiring a more complete understanding of this wonderful music.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read For Those Who Love Miles Davis 3 May 2011
By msticdrumr - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is especially useful for musicians seeking some measure of understanding in the creative process and evolution of America's greatest cultural contribution to the world. The focus is on, in my opinion, the most intriguingly creative, consistently adventurous, and intrepid quintet Miles ever engaged in.

To read about the mechanics of creative processes in each of these most amazing musicians and how they coalesce into a single ever-changing musical entity with Miles navigating their journey into uncharted zones is insightful enough, but to then play the various tunes in the background or looped for closer comparison as you read about those tunes is an adventure.

It is technical and challenging to get through but, if you are really interested in getting inside the heads of these true geniuses, this is as close as it gets. It is a study in how five dynamic leaders, in their own rights, converged to make music history and magic that transcends time and space. I'm glad somebody took the time and effort to shine a light on this stellar quintet and the years they shone in the studio and in live performances during Miles Davis's incredible career!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding analysis 18 May 2011
By Steven Chall - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the best analysis I've seen of any of Miles's music so far. The author seems to have an excellent ear and superhuman diligence. It's not an easy book, but it's not an easy subject, and I've found my own persistence richly rewarded. To the limits of my understanding the musical transcriptions are completely accurate (a rare phenomenon, especially in light of the complexity of this music) and the author's reflections on them are consistently penetrating and enlightening, even if the language occasionally seems a bit academic for the subject matter. I suppose that's not unreasonable considering the likely audience. Besides, how else do you talk about this stuff, if you're going to talk about it at all? And I'm glad he's talking about it.

Thanks to this book I'm hearing new things in pieces I've been listening to for decades. Just one example: Wayne Shorter's "Iris" has a structure during the head that's augmented in the solo sections with the head structure appended at double speed, so that a solo chorus is 1-1/2 times the length of a head chorus. Shorter ends his solo, not where a solo chorus would end, but where the head would have ended, leaving Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter dangling. For the next several bars, they're not clear on whether they're starting over at the beginning of a new solo chorus or finishing the previous one first. I never realized this was happening, despite hundreds of listens, until I read this book.

What's even more remarkable, and a testimonial to the superb musicianship of the players in this group, is that it still sounds good anyway. And that's the ultimate value of this book for me, that the author's admirable scholarship is enlisted in the service of deepening our understanding and enjoyment of this magnificent ensemble.

One personal disappointment, but by no means a criticism, is that the author gives relatively little space to several of my favorite tunes, for example, "Eighty-One," "Footprints," and "Mood." I think that's not a coincidence, however: one big reason I like those songs so much is that they're relatively accessible (respectively, two blues progressions and a fairly simple form rigidly adhered to). As such, they're more easily understood and we thus might not benefit as much from the author's insights. Or you could say those tunes are just too easy for him.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real technical details! 29 Jan 2013
By Harold Carr - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
You won't get any "they play with passion, energy, blah, blah, blah" descriptions. Instead, real chords, notes, analysis - the real deal. Probably only interesting to musicians - but excellent!
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine Rigorous Analysis As With His Studies of Honegger's Music... 9 Mar 2013
By Robert Shapiro - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dr. Keith Waters work on Miles Davis is exemplary, as with his analysis of Arthur Honegger's music. See his article in "Les Six: The French Composers and Their Mentors Erik Satie and Jean Cocteau" published in 2011 by Peter Owen, ed. by Robert Shapiro. Also his book on Honegger published by Ashgate.
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