Strange title, don't you?
We all know Miles, of course… but: who's Enrico Merlin?
… and what about the a.m. 1000 records?
I knew Enrico since - it was years ago - on Yo Miles! 3-disks-series by Wadada Leo Smith and Henry Kaiser, when I, someway baffled, read about this apparently Italian Miles' expert and scholar who knew and catalogued every Miles' gig and recording session… proud, also… but further curiosity about this mysterious expert simply didn't click.
Then, some days ago, when visiting a friend at his place, he, Franco, was someway feverish at showing a book… a BIG book… 960 pages, actually…
I handled the book and… almost fell from my chair!
This guy knew them all… I began looking at the records quoted, pages and pages and pages of reviews of cool, famous and obscure, discs… I knew and recognized many, owning a good deal of them… but, hey… this man was amazing, I guessed…
From Peter Brtozmann to Art Ensemble of Chicago to any classic rock, progressive, avantgarde, classical… Steve Reich… I was mouth watering and in awe thinking at the immense opus I had in my hands.
Everything I always loved in adventurous music was here, for youngsters and posterity.
… and kudos.
My pal Edo immediately looked on Facebook for Enrico Merlin, the author… and immediately he found, sending him a friendship request, pronto.
While looking at the book, something clicked, at last…
… mumble, mumble…
Our host and landlord, Franco, looking at my interest, had a new ace in his hands and told me he knew mr. Merlin as an accomplished and nice guitarist and composer…
A quick shelf browsing and… voila'!
We were listening to Enrico Merlin's music… echoes of John McLaughlin, Michael Hedges, Hans Reichel, Henry Kaiser, Fred Frith, Derek Bailey, Richard Leo Johnson & Gregg Bendian… and Miles Davis' Bitches Brew atmospheres…
Got it… eureka… EUREKA!
… almost whispering, I asked, more to myself than my friends: … but is this the same Miles' scholar I read about years before?
Definitely so, folks…
This man knows, he knows…
Few hours ago, I met Enrico on FB, of course… he lives only a couple hundreds km from my hometown… we chatted and chatted and chatted… pure empathy.
He shared his superb SoundCloud profile and… wow… WOW!
No hypes: I consider this strange meeting - which, IMO, needed the above someway silly foreword to be believed - a true gift… a musical and human gift.
Enrico Merlin is a music teacher, a performing and recording artist, a multi-instrumentalist, a journalist and a writer, a music historian and a nice, humble, yet sooo clever, cat, as well.
All the above is - maybe - usually found in a bunch of cool people, not a single… you need a small team to find all these qualities and skills… finding in the very same guy, well… it's a four-leaves clover!
I guess a typical Enrico's day is made of 36 hours, at least!
Seriously… mr. Merlin deserves all the appreciation for all and every of his creations: I immediately bought my copy of his books, the above mentioned 1000 records and a previous one about the making and background of seminal Bitches Brew… ordered, directly from him, the limited edition disk I appreciated at Franco's… Unframed… Straight Ahead!
More, in a tour-de-force, feverish search, I listened to Enrico's SoundCloud music and… again, WOW… discovered more and more cool music, Enrico and Paolo Fresu playing Tutu by Miles, live and… WOW, listened for the first time to NAD… Niu' Abdominaux Dangereux (…) a duo made of Roberto Zorzi and Nicola Salerno from Verona, Italy… their "Ghosts" is quoted in Enrico's book… but listening to Roberto Zorzi… Henry Kaiser, Captain Beefheart, Hans Reichel and his Daxophone, acoustic guitars to die for… the disc was made in 1989… eons ago and it seems recorded and played tomorrow.
As you possibly understand, I'm in love, pals… with all the above, as a new world is opening to my ears and heart.
Enrico is italian, like myself… and, I dare, as great, late Giorgio Gaber once sang… I (we) hate being italians, but thanking this of by misfortune, we are… proudly or not, he's truly making something with his books and music.
Some practical notes: the books about Bitches Brew and the 1000 records for one century are in Italian-only… but, BUT… do you a favor: buy it also if you don't speak or read any italian, at all…
The discs titles are there, anyway and the coolest of cool and everyone will be able to enjoy and get the coolest music suggestions available; the small price-tag of EUR 39 will be the best 39 euros you'll ever spent, period.
Just trust in yours truly, folks.
Thanks, Enrico… thanks for your HUGE sharing work… and has been such a pleasure meeting you.