The Albion Beatnik Bookstore website (or how a bookshop once changed a light bulb)

The web page of the Albion Beatnik Bookstore in Oxford, now closed (as usual) for business: muses and misspills on books, jazz, poetry, stuff like false flags and smoke screen: was randomly decrepit and proven to be more than neo-bankrupt: it was so analogue it was anal and now deceased.

Miles as Musical High Wire Artist

If any one track sums up Miles Davis, it might be Circle, recorded in October 1966 for the album Miles Smiles, by his quintet of the time – Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams – that disavowed the stability that straight-ahead jazz offered, that took on the responsive danger of free form without stepping into anarchy. ‘Time no changes’ was the term used to describe Miles’ style of this time. At the creative high tide of his career, when his playing relied even less on technique and much more on an intuitive and personal sound, Davis became a musical high wire artist, balanced in the wind on perilous shards of glass: he courted danger and revelled in it. Like Miles’ cracked voice (said to be the result of losing his temper after surgery on his throat, and heard at the end of this track addressing his record producer, Teo Macero), the frailty of this sound could be in turn amusingly quizzical or petulant, often the sound of emery paper rubbed against glass. Davis was a troubled man, referred to readily as the Prince of Darkness, not just because he frequently and famously turned his back upon an audience; stories of his intransigence, his peevish and capricious nature, his meanness and fits of violence litter his biography (though so too tales of friendship and loyalty). Davis’ face is a chiselled portrait of subliminal pain, a pitted intensity; his coiled silhouette too. His was a brooding persona that was menacing yet sensitive, anecdotally unrelenting and masterful yet, antidotally, fragile above all else. This track is proof.

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This entry was posted on 2nd March 2018 by in jazz, Miles Davis and tagged , , , , .

News of Albion Beatnik Press

Two new series of titles – American Vintage and British Vintage – 24 titles to be published in 2019

Sarah Gillespie’s Queen Ithaca Blues

“Dipped in song, these are dizzying poems in which lovers are skyscrapers and words walk on wires between them.Bright with horror and stricken with laughter, Sarah Gillespie’s lyrical collection lives in the extremities, dealing with loss, vertigo and joy.” – Caroline Bird


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