Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tradition In Transition

Miles Davis was striding between two worlds in 1970 and an invaluable clip like this is all you need to be convinced that the on-the-cusp tension brought out some of the great trumpeter's most invigorating playing. "Sanctuary" has him first intoning in "Sketches of Spain" fashion, the vaunted lyricism of the previous two decades fully intact. As things heat up and "Spanish Key" moves into funky overdrive, Davis, determined to match his plugged-in sidemen in intensity, unleashes glorious coils of rip snorting lines and jagged bursts of sound.
With intimations of the past still in plain sight, while being elbowed by visions of the fusion future, Davis's music, circa the start of the new decade, laid out his intentions clearly. Change was imminent, but old school beauty was not to be lost just yet.

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