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Philosophy and Aesthetics Dept.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:24 pm
by Adam Blake
https://comparecontrastjazz.wordpress.c ... dtks-blue/

This is interesting. Apparently this group have re-created Miles Davis's "Kind Of Blue" album note for note, treating the original recorded performance as if it were a fixed score, like a bit of Beethoven or Bach, and performing it accordingly, arguably bringing to it their own personal nuances, much like classical performers bring their interpretation to bear on the music they play.

The question is: is this OK? To do this to improvised music? Jazzers are up in arms about it but it's not like the infamous Kenny G overdubbing himself over Louis Armstrong. Or is it?

My own personal opinion, without having heard it, is that it's an interesting idea but ultimately a bit of a waste of time and effort. I mean, why bother? The original is there to be listened to at any time and, unlike Bach or Beethoven, was not meant to be definitive.

Over to you, eggheads. (I put the same question on Facebook but they don't take music very seriously over there...)

Re: Philosophy and Aesthetics Dept.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:29 pm
by Adam Blake
I must say it made me chuckle to imagine what Miles would have thought of it!

Re: Philosophy and Aesthetics Dept.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 4:59 pm
by NormanD
Here's my reply again (from 'over there', more or less).

1. Is it being done as an art project, in the same way that Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" was later remade frame-by-frame, with the original script and, I think, set direction, musical score, camera direction and editing? As Gary Bellamy's Asian caller Khalid might say on radio's 'Down The Line': "What is point??"

2. Can it be compared with the re-creation of Dylan's Manchester Free Trade Hall Judas! concert by Robyn Hitchcock (no relation) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robyn_Sings#Disc_Dots

3. Is it an acknowledgment by one group of musicians of the work of another group of musicians? "Kind Of Blue" is clearly defined as jazz, and probably the best-known piece of work of that genre. It could well be performed, track by track, as a concert piece, quite ikely in The Proms. Does this mean that "Kind Of Blue" has been elevated from a mere LP to the loftier height of Formal Music? I've already seen the written transcription of one of the tracks - was it posted here? - showing the notation of each of the instruments, including the soloists, as an orchestral score. It's a good interactive piece as you're able to follow the music as the song develops. After nearly fifty years, maybe Miles (and the boys) are ascending into the music establishment. I think he'd have loved that.

Re: Philosophy and Aesthetics Dept.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:01 pm
by NormanD
Here's my reply again (from 'over there', more or less).

1. Is it being done as an art project, in the same way that Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" was later remade frame-by-frame, with the original script and, I think, set direction, musical score, camera direction and editing? As Gary Bellamy's Asian caller Khalid might say on radio's 'Down The Line': "What is point??"

2. Can it be compared with the re-creation of Dylan's Manchester Free Trade Hall Judas! concert by Robyn Hitchcock (no relation) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robyn_Sings#Disc_Dots

3. Is it an acknowledgment by one group of musicians of the work of another group of musicians? "Kind Of Blue" is clearly defined as jazz, and probably the best-known piece of work of that genre. It could well be performed, track by track, as a concert piece, quite likely in The Proms. Does this mean that "Kind Of Blue" has been elevated from a mere LP to the loftier height of Formal Music?

I've already seen the written transcription of one of the tracks - was it posted here? - showing the notation of each of the instruments, including the soloists, as an orchestral score. It's a good interactive piece as you're able to follow the music as the song develops. After nearly fifty years, maybe Miles (and the boys) are ascending into the music establishment. I think he'd have loved that.

Re: Philosophy and Aesthetics Dept.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:30 pm
by will vine
Jazz musicians have always fascinated me; The way they can just show up at a gig, often having never met before, and converse in an unwritten language. They can navigate a set of chord and key changes and sometimes improvise something quite wonderful, though just as often, they produce something quite aimless and humdrum. But My God! I'm impressed at their mere ability to be able to start and stop a tune at the same time.

I used to be very disappointed when they put up music stands and worked from a score. For me this was not the real thing, not clever enough, though now I know different.

Kind of Blue feels like it was conceived as a record, an LP, and is a very singular, iconic, piece. It may defy being taken to pieces and reconstructed, I don't know, but as a piece to recreate note for note I'd have thought it pretty pointless. However, I'm open to give it a listen.

Re: Philosophy and Aesthetics Dept.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:27 pm
by Adam Blake
A musician friend of mine over there characterized this as equal parts tribute and OCD and that sounds about right - without having heard the record. It is weird, though. After all, the original is famously spontaneous, even by jazz standards. Miles would not let the musicians do any re-takes and they had not seen any charts before arriving at the session. Interestingly, Miles himself felt "Kind Of Blue" to have been a failed experiment and never listened to it after the record was made.

To turn this into a formal manuscript score seems somewhat perverse, almost as though it was an attempt to look at the same material from the opposite end of the musical telescope. I would like to hear it, but one wonders where it will end. What next? A bunch of jazzers jamming on Bach? Oh yes, that was Jacques Loussier wasn't it? OK, how about the London Symphony Orchestra play "The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra"???

Re: Philosophy and Aesthetics Dept.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:58 pm
by NormanD
We did have Moondog at The Proms a couple of years ago. It was orchestral pieces he'd written and not interpretations of his 78s, though. How would we feel about the LSO performing some of the Ellington Suites? Would that be OK, but a performance of, say, "Money Jungle" would not be?

Re: Philosophy and Aesthetics Dept.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:06 pm
by Adam Blake
The difference is the same: Ellington's suites were committed to manuscript paper to begin with, "Money Jungle" was not. Similarly, I would imagine with Moondog.

Re: Philosophy and Aesthetics Dept.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 11:06 pm
by Nigel w
Adam Blake wrote:https://comparecontrastjazz.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/review-mopdtks-blue/

This is interesting. Apparently this group have re-created Miles Davis's "Kind Of Blue" album note for note, treating the original recorded performance as if it were a fixed score, like a bit of Beethoven or Bach, and performing it accordingly, arguably bringing to it their own personal nuances, much like classical performers bring their interpretation to bear on the music they play.


In my experience classical players seldom, if ever, "bring their interpretation to bear on the music they play." That is the conductor's role and the orchestra dutifuly follows the conductor's "interepration" of the score.