Miles' Denials - JazzWax

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September 25, 2007


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Ian Carey

Interesting post, and that's a great video of B.A.D. One important point, I think, is that although the tunes are similar in the ways you mentioned, So What's totally modal, non-bebop chord changes are in a different ballpark altogether than the fairly standard minor ii-Vs of Bohemia (although it does have a sus chord bridge, which is modal-ish). This, to me, is why I wouldn't consider the two tunes more than superficially related.

However, I was thinking recently about how devious Miles was, if you believe other musicians' stories, about credits. Just on Kind of Blue, for example, he claimed all the tunes to have come from sketches on napkins, but evidence is pretty good that a) the intro for So What was written by Gil Evans, b) Blue in Green was written completely by Bill Evans, and c) Flamenco Sketches came from a Bill Evans vamp. Then there's Eddie Vinson's claim to have written Four. Don't get me wrong, I love Miles something fierce; it just seems strange for him to insist on hogging the spotlight when he was still clearly the driving force behind the music.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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