Luca D. Majer
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"Man of few words, he [Miles Davis] chose to protest life's injustices and conformities through his art"
Airto Moreira. 2005


An essay on the complete recordings of Miles Davis sextet's concerts at the Cellar Door club - Dec 16-19th 1970, in Washington D.C.

The article was published, in Italian, for the RPM series on the Italian music magazine Blow-Up, Sept. 2013 issue.


MD fingers


EJH toad



You are free - to starve
(George Jackson - letter to his mother)

Two main types of disease can be identified: the ones that result from the introduction of a pathogen and those that result from the "loss of the soul". Their treatment is essentially different: in the first case it is required to expel the sickening agent, in the second case to find and re-integrate the fugitive soul of the sick person. In this latter case the shaman wins hands down, since he only can see and capture the soul.

(Mircea Eliade "Le chamanisme") 


Enigmatically published 35 years later that historical concert, the Cellar Door Club's 6 CDs are witness to the Sonic Apocalypse of a Negro Man and his five Alfèrezes - starting with a fade-in as if we were entering in the middle of the set.

The story accordingly to the liner notes goes that the Cellar Club had some 150 seats and that its small stage could hardly fit the band. So the tape recorder had been placed in a different room: when the first notes started the sound engineer was caught by surprise and had to go to the other room in order to hit the record button, once the set had already started.

We know of a different truth: this is the only way (un-completed, en passant, imperfect) to start recording music that ever was. You cannot capture such immortal music in its entirety: for this reason that evening the tape recorder was late, in respect of the music. You can never catch the infinite.


We are told of a few irritated remarks by sax-man Gary Bartz about the way Keith Jarrett used to accompany his sax solos. Indeed it would appear that Miles, having received in camera caritatis Gary's request to chill the pianist out, he went instead to Jarrett asking him to dig it in: " You know, Gary would really appreciate it - a lot".

This was Miles, after all. If you listen to the aural results of his direction, these four nights in D.C., you can trust that undoubtedly tension does move the world around.