Miles Davis Quintet Live at Teatro dell’Arte in Milan, Italy on October 11, 1964


“The language of jazz can be so lofty — so full of chord changes, musical virtuosity, ‘feel’ and ‘pocket’ and other ineffables — that it can seem, to the uninitiated, like homework. There’s a sense of responsibility that attends many attempts to become a jazz listener: Am I getting it? Am I hearing everything? Here is a piece of advice for newcomers: Forget about getting. Forget, even, about hearing. Watch. Jazz entrepreneurs have always understood the genre’s visual appeal. … In the late ’50s and 1960s, television was spreading rapidly throughout Europe. Producers needed content, and it happened that American jazz musicians like Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong had been touring the Continent for decades, often playing to audiences better prepared to celebrate black artistry than those in the United States. The new stations — most of them state-owned — would present performances by jazz’s defining greats as major cultural events. Collectively they created a documentary record like no other: dozens of expertly staged and photographed concerts by heroic figures, captured at close range. … I watch him onstage now — perhaps at the Teatro dell’Arte in Milan, on Oct. 11, 1964, with his second quintet. Head down, he is almost in prayer. His subtly ballooning cheeks reveal the huge respiratory power behind that simmering, sneaky tone. His clothes are shadow-tight, his legendary band in thrall to his every movement. As a teenager, I was entranced by his intellectual power, the way he seemed to bend the air around him to fit his ever-growing vision. Now the man is more interesting to me than the god: I watch him and see someone who styled his hair and wore fine suits and took great care, like all his peers, to present himself exactly as he intended, exactly as he saw himself. His physicality completes the music, grounds it and makes it even more urgent. Thanks to a few European producers, he is alive again. …”
NY Times – Letter of Recommendation: Jazz on European TV
Disogs (Video)
YouTube: Miles Davis Quintet, Teatro dell’Arte, Milan, Italy, October 11th, 1964 (Colorized) 1:00:09

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Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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