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November 09, 2011

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Bill Kirchner

For those who write off Miles in the '80s, the CD "Miles Live Around the World" (Warner Jazz) is must listening. It was compiled from gig tapes after his death by his keyboardist Adam Holzman.

On that CD is a 13-minute 1988 version of "Human Nature" that is much superior to the rather perfunctory video you show above. By that time, Miles had figured out what he wanted to do with the tune, and largely turned it into a feature for alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett, who there delivers a jaw-dropping performance.

T.K. Tortch

Bill's comment above that ". . . Miles had figured out what he wanted to do with the tune, and largely turned it into a feature for alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett. . ." is part of Mile's talent that allowed him to endure as long as he did. He was a good talent-spotter, and even though he had more than a little ego on him, he let the talented run with it where it would enlarge the music.

Of course, that involved taking risks with the not so talented!! As Marc notes, there's a lot of so-so stuff to root through. I remember back in the mid '90's an early electric/funk Miles date - maybe "Dark Magus"? - was reissued and augmented with unreleased live material. A lot of it wasn't very memorable.

But there again, Miles always sounded smart when he actually played, as though he was showing the other chuckle-heads on stage how it was done, and with minimal effort!

Rab Hines

Try as I might, I just can't get enthused about this period of Miles. I bought (and almost got through) the 20 CD Montreux set, and the couple of times I saw him in performance was from this period; but he just doesn't move me.

A great article, though. As usual.

Thanks

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  • Marc Myers writes frequently on music and the arts for the Wall Street Journal. He is author of "Why Jazz Happened" (University of California Press). JazzWax has been named the Jazz Journalists Association's "Blog of the Year."
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