Sun. Sep. 26, 2021

Miles Davis – So What (Live Version)

Classics: Miles Davis – So What (Blue Note)

Celebrating the return to activity of Indamixworldwide. And this, with nothing else but Miles Davis‘s seminal ‘So What’!!! And what, to our humble opnion, stands as its best version ever. In other words, the one recorded on Apr. 02, 1959 at CBS-TV Studio 61, NYC with introduction courtesy of Robert Herridge. An exceptional live version that saw Davis jammin’ with some of the greatest Jazzmen of all time. You might recognize the late John Coltrane among other luminaries.

One of those very rare moments. Eventually bringin’ us back to the souvenir of the live recording of Vi Redd and Count Basie‘s version of ‘Stormy Monday Blues’ back in 1968 at Antibes/Juan-Les-Pins famous Jazz Festival… One hardly gets anything better than this. Don’t you think?

Meanwhile late Brit Jazz guitarist Ronny Jordan gave it a memorable cover version back in 1992. Thus bringin’ a real swing to it.

Missed it? Never too late to check it out as a matter of fact. Then let us know what you think…

– A New Jersey native, Robert Herridge most likely made his name as television producer and writer. As a writer, he’s responsible for the ‘Studio One’ TV series back in 1948. Meanwhile he created the CBS television program ‘Camera Three’, among more than 1,700 hours of TV programming which started in 1950.

Herridge produced one of the first American network television shows specifically about jazz. The one-hour The Sound of Jazz. It was essentially a broadcast jam session which welcomed many luminaries of Jazz, such Thelonious Monk and Billie Holiday. Not to mention Miles Davis to name a few.

He also produced and hosted ‘The Robert Herridge Theater’. A a half-hour dramatic anthology that ran in syndication circa in the late 50’s, primarily on educational television stations. One edition, ‘The Sound of Miles Davis’, which Herridge referred to onscreen as “a story told in the language of music”, consisted of an Apr. 02, 1959 Jazz concert. It featured Miles Davis along with John Coltrane, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb and the Gil Evans Orchestra at CBS TV’s Studio 61. It aired Jul. 21, 1960. There, they eventually played this memorable version of ‘So What’…

Robert Herridge sadly died of a heart attack at his home in Woodstock, NY on Aug. 14, 1981. He was 67. [More info…]

– Considering music not only as a myriad of different styles, but first and foremost as a whole will get us to evoke the existence of artists whose legacies just stand above the barriers. As many geniuses such as, in no order of preference, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and / or Santana. But also U2, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan. If not Serge Gainsbourg with Miles Davis makin’ no exception. But rather than comin’ up with an extensive bio which could be off the subject to a certain extend, we’ll focus on things in relation with our coverage spectrum.

A native of Alton, IL, Miles Davis is so to say to Jazz what Fela Kuti happened to be to Afrobeat. And / or Bob Marley to Reggae. In other words, an innovator, a pioneer. If not a prophet and most definitely an icon who spent his life redefining his art along with time.

As a result, Davis most likely belongs to the category of those we happen to love or hate. With some of us lovin’ him for what the others will hate and vice-versa. With the first objective reason being that he had a natural penchant for takin’ us – beginning with himself – from our comfort zone as a matter of fact. Something so many of us reacted in a negative way. Although it happened to give birth to some of the most unexpected things one could expect at the end. With this being nothing but the proper of free spirits per definition.

Yes, Miles Davis pretty much embodies this idea that first comes to mind when thinkin’ of Jazz… Freedom! This being pretty much how he managed to deliver so many different masterpieces. With the most surprising being the fact they didn’t have that much to do with each other. Although they pretty much had their effect at the end. Beginning with ‘So What’ and its mythic live recording at The Robert Herridge Theater back in 1959. With the latter standing as the definitive highlight of his ‘Kind Of Blue’ album. An effort which remains to date the highest selling jazz album of all time with six million copies sold. This following his recording back in November 1957 of the soundtrack to ‘Ascenseur pour l’échafaud’ directed by Louis Malle.

Exploring all the facets of Jazz brought Davis to embrace groovier territories in the 80’s. From his cover version of D-Train‘s ‘Something’s On Your Mind’ with production work courtesy of Robert Irving III back in 1985. To the recording of the magnetic ‘Tutu’ along with Marcus Miller in charge of the production. Not to mention collaborations with various artists. From Artists United Against Apartheid‘s ‘Sun City’ in 1985 to Sly & Robbie, Cameo and Quincy Jones. Not to mention Scritti Politti‘s vibrant ‘Oh Patti (Don’t Feel Sorry For Loverboy)’.

In early September 1991, Davis checked into St. John’s Hospital near his home in Santa Monica, CA, for routine tests. Doctors suggested he have a tracheal tube implanted to relieve his breathing after repeated bouts of bronchial pneumonia. Their suggestion provoked an outburst from Davis that led to an intracerebral hemorrhage followed by a coma. After several days on life support, his machine was turned off and he sadly died, aged 65, on Sept. 28, 1991.

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