The Jazzcat

Marcus Miller, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter with a Tribute to Miles

by on May.20, 2013, under News

Tonight is a sold out performance here at the Walt Disney Concert hall, I don’t think I have witnessed every seat filled up to the rafters in my many experiences here. Miles Dewey Davis, can you believe some 5 decades later still remains to be a top seller in jazz. There is definitely theory behind this notion that will open up a plethora of Pandora’s musical boxes. Perhaps we will take a good look inside this phenomenon and marvel at the multiple prospectives that lie inside, but for this moment, the evening is a shining star!

We are in for a celebration not only for the life and legacy that Miles left behind, but also for what the life, the creativity, the pride, the respect and the music represents to Generations X and Y alike.

Marcus Miller, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Vinnie Colaiuta and Sean Jones representin’. It was initially Marcus’ s idea to do this tribute since this year represents 20 years since Miles took the seven steps.  Miles may be in the sky but his music continues to stimulate extra sensory perception. Marcus realizes that there is no tribute without the presence of two specific cats! When asked, Cat number one said yes and shortly there after, cat number two concurred.

Of course we are talking about Wayne and Herbie who Marcus introduces like they were the new guys on the scene and describes their transitions from Art Blakey and Donald Byrd to the illustrious nebula of Miles. Of course you may never know it at the time but, Miles’ band was not just a bunch of available guys but an intentional idea of cognitive created sound formulated way before they were graciously snatched from entities that were already foraging new dimensions in the music.  Many have started, made and prolonged their careers by simply dropping the frequent flyer “I played with Miles” card. But I am sure Miles knew even back then that these two are young blossoms that would continue to germinate the future of sound. He did not want to control the growth, just wanted to add a little of his own extra water, sunshine and rich soil to reap the fruits of many great years of abundance.

Herbie took charge of the house and turned it into his own living room with a few brief words. As the initial sonics began to fill the room, we were saturated in the Marcus groove, Miles 2013 style! Groove and back beat to get you body and spirits movin’ in the right direction, straight ahead towards the future. Miles believed in that and if he had still inhabited the earth, I know for a fact that the way people categorize and approach music would be different for sure, “Miles Ahead”!

We listen as the band slings the colors of different Miles compositions so beautifully, exploring the caverns and crevices finding new gems of sound to bring forth. Many of these tunes actually belong to Wayne and Miles loved them, used them and made the book around them.

Just to take a look at the stage and see Herbie and Wayne continuing to bloom since Miles took them in as prodigal genius babies. Together they reminisce and continue to step on uncharted stones. There is space for each to seek and speak their own musical language in the name of Miles.

No need to call tunes, it is a menagerie of melody and harmonic implications on tap. We know this music and we only need to hear a few notes for our muscle memory to mix the joys of yesterday with the beauty of today. The best music has always been a mix of classic old school experience with the blood and thirst of the youth. You can run as fast as you can but you can’t catch up to experience. The music is mixed and blended in a multitude if dimensions. It reaches backward and forward at the same time creating a balancing effect on the apex of subconscious time. Hearing the past while experiencing the now automatically brings you up to new level of buoyant appreciation. The music is really alive, enriched with all of the energy and nutritional supplements to feed your body in the present, not leaving you with the feeling and notions of yesterday, Miles would have certainly not wanted that.

Tonight is a stream of consciousness. Watching Marcus pick up the bass clarinet and Wayne switch between horns is a small sample of how many directions the music can go and still leave the nebulas aura of Miles music in tact. Tonight everyone’s computer gets a fresh upgrade to the new version of Windows, which promises more vision.

Marcus, Herbie and Wayne sat down and contemplated, how do you look back and represent a cat who did not look back? Before they even started to have a conversation about music, they sat and told each other their own personal Miles stories. They all realized that Miles was a visionary and that this concert should be about creating the sound track to Miles’s dreams.

Sean Jones is holding the trumpet chair and representing properly. It is such a pleasure to hear Sean sound like Sean in the midst of Miles. There is no bag, only shear fluidity of new experience while reminiscing on past vibrations, now that’s respect. They continue dreaming, riding on the waves of a conscious imagined through a life of pursistant forward momentum.

Marcus is no doubt undisputed reining champ of the electric bass. There is an acoustic bass resting on stage but he may not even get to it. Not to diminish its importance to the sound but the celestial breeze is not calling for its fragrance at this particular moment. All good things happen in time and when it is right, I know he will light it up! It is a Miles road trip an the tour bus is traveling straight ahead in direction and conscious elevation and the Sorcerer has much more in store! 

Wayne my man! Only playing part of the phrase, not telling the whole story and being gracious enough to let you get some enjoyment in being a part of the music by letting you determine your own destiny. Now that is the way to dream! Sounds that dance around the time capsule, relishing is treasures without disturbing its contents. The cats are mashing the music as a DJ interjecting notes as implications for the next dance. The Miles Davis dance spans at least 70 earthly years and light years into the future. Recognize that this will never be over. The pools of sound will exist for an eternity.

Eventually Marcus does get around to picking up the acoustic and it is so right. 4/4 swing on a roller coaster of lush melodies and Vinnie kick ass rhythms. The space ship is visiting all heavens and all galaxies on a journey not a search. The performance gets a standing ovation.

“Miles Smiles” as I am sure he would love to know, “In a Silent Way”, that his contribution to music, to evolution, to thought, to righteousness, to culture has to a degree progressed. The past and the future, two menacing forces are the “Circle in the Round”.


LeRoy Downs

2 Comments for this entry

  • calvin

    JAZZCAT wow a really amazing review of the MILES tribute at DISNEY HALL you really put me there .

    JAZZCAT may the FORCE be with YOU


  • The Jazzcat

    My man Calvin. Thank you my friend. I just take in the music and do my best to return it. Hoping that the musicians feel the vibe and the folks who did not get a chance to experience the saturation of sound get some sort of glimpse into what they missed. We are blessed to love this music!

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