Search this Blog


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Magus Merlin, the Miles Magician

Yesterday I attended to a lecture by my friend and guitarist extraordinaire Enrico Merlin, about non-verbal signals, charisma and leadership of Miles Davis.

A seldom heard, witty, well-spoken, well-informed and researched letio magistralis about the gravelly voice Genius and how he kept virtually free and unlashed creativity of all his musicians who succeded in all his several goups incarnations, 'til his untimely passing away.

Empathy was Miles' plus... if someone wasn't up to par on this, he got fired, pronto!

Enrico, a worldwide known expert and scholar of Miles’ art and music, wrote - among others -  a superb book (with Veniero Rizzardi) devoted to Bitches Brew and his knowledge of live, unedited performances of Miles counts more than 700 unpublished hours of music in his personal collection and literally tons of papers and terabytes of related in his house.

He met and interviewed Teo Macero, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, John McLaughlin and wrote liner-notes for Wadada Leo Smith & Henry Kaiser’s Yo Miles! on Shanachie.

I already knew him and his so deep knowledge about everything Miles’, but…

… simply wasn’t prepared to one hour of commented, critically high-pointed listenings of some of the most representative Miles’ licks… not explained to an annoyed audience, but to a bunch of literally lost in Enrico & Miles’ world people!

Enrico, like dancing in his elegant tuxedo, showed and explained, untired and untiring how Miles was able without moving an eyebrow to communicate time and theme changes, in an apparent, wordless ESP exchange among his cohort.

The lecture represented for yours truly the azimuth of my recent… aehm, still going on, actually, full immersion in electric Miles’ music, made of extremely rewarding lengthy listening sessions of On the Corner, In a Silent Way, ecc. ecc. … oh, shit, I already annoyed you about this.

I already attended to  other music lectures – i.e. Bach’s Cello Sonatas as played by Fournier and Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas; both the interesting lessons gave to me a strange feeling, like the dissecting of a corpse in a morgue.

Lifeless and disturbing!

Music was loosing its inner power, notes dissected and emptied… a quite embarrassing evenience, if concerning the above mentioned giants and masterpieces!

Exactly the opposite happened with Enrico’s Miles: My Funny Valentine live at Carnegie Hall was soooo lively and full of trivia and wittiness.

I was also, while listening to Merlin, reminding what I only few hours ago read about Miles giving his back to the audience, during most of the last concerts… just wish to share with you: it wasn’t the hip, tough guy, the boxer don’t giving a fuck to audience… Herbie Hancock on On The Corner complete session box confirmed he was only in love with ALL the musicians who made is stellar groups and liked soooo much looking to them while playing!

Respect for an 18 years old Tony Williams or 24 Keith Jarrett or 23 Dave Holland… respect for everyone who contributed to create this brand new music, like also Enrico wisely pointed it out during yesterday lecture. 

Maybe respect, which is also a form of love, makes this music timeless and always modern… as it hits the very deep of human soul with its fractal, true, honest and straight nature.

Sincerely thanking Enrico for the great lesson... after one hour of this (see above)... he embraced his electric axe and played like a devil in disguise on-stage some cool improvisations a' la John Mc Laughlin or John Scofield, with a jazz combo, BUT not copy-catting the latters, yet with his unique voice, good taste and skill a-plenty and... just WOW!

While his cute Wall-E toy was blissfully standing on his bespoke guitar-amp.

Soul, knowledge, humbleness, intelligence and empathy... living music, folks!

BTW - Wish also to share and put everyone on  the wait for the IMPRESSIVE new book (series)… you’d bet it? About Miles, year per year per year… it will be a one-of-a-kind luxury, limited edition, 12” x 12” size, so finding its (their) place(s) among vinyl records…

High quality binding,  paper, BUT most of all HIGH quality and unobtanium info, pix and trivia about, for the first book to come, Miles in 1959 (Kind of Blue's year): gigs leafles, tickets, interviews, old magazines and newspapers articles… a huge, HUGE, H U G E  labour of love in the name of Miles’ genius.

I suggest everyone into this kind of stuffs to keep eyes open and wallet ready…  the years covering will be random, as per Miles’ most seminal masterpieces or, should I say, milestones;-) – everything will be properly advertised and shared at due time, when all and every copyright and legal aspects and knots will be settled.

I saw a preview of some pages on Enrico’s Macbook and I was in jaw-dropped mode for looong minutes.

A must to own and an effort seldom seen, everywhere!

Stay tuned.  

1 comment:

jackrozz said...

Thank you for this great review and your support, dear Stefano.