Remembering Miles Davis On His 90th Birthday

first_imgOn May 26th, 1926, one of most iconic musicians of all time came into the world: Miles Davis. Born to rare black middle class parents, Davis would grow from boy to adult through some of the nation’s hardest times, and his music would help an exhausted post war country regain its attitude of hope. His innovations caused seismic shifts in the music world, as trends like Bebop, Cool, Hard Bop, Blue, and Fusion sprung from his need to seek something beyond what he heard around him.  Davis regularly went beyond his own boundaries, fearlessly looking for the next wave.  Sadly, a closer look at his life reveals he was likely searching for anything he could control in the midst of a runaway life.Davis wasn’t one for bending his notes, keeping vibrato to a minimum for most of his career.  His playing was so captivating because it was so honest.  You were seeing directly into him.  The rawness, the energy masterfully restrained into short, staccato flights of fancy held the jazz community’s attention for decades. He started playing live during World War II, when he was still in high school.  Though he would himself inspire many devoted fans, he idolized Charlie Parker, and in the fall of 1944, he finally managed a jam session with him and the some of the founding fathers of the Bebop movement.  The uptempo attitude, sunny sky songs caused a national stir, and many stars were minted. Not one to rest on helping create an entire wave of musical style, he soon went on to help bring around the birth of cool jazz. The cool jazz sound was an experiment to make the music a voice its own, with an emphasis on the organic and flowing rhythms, even in the solos. Davis went abroad in the early fifties.  While he had faced institutional racism in America, he found himself a well regarded genius and was treated accordingly in France.  He had a love affair with the country itself, which ended tragically when he returned to New York and fell into a heroin addiction.  The legend goes that he locked himself away for protracted periods, going through a painful and prolonged withdrawal.  It’s either amazing or tragic that he continued to perform through all of this. Losing his voice after the strain of an operation, he gained a raspy tone, that coupled with his haunting playing created an other-worldly air about him.  In his musical journeys around the world, he fell in love with modal forms of song structure, basing lengthy music passages around long sustained notes and tones, and expanded his free flow solos into entirely imporvised pieces, taking the entire band along for the ride.He was a rare player in all accounts.  A musician’s musician who also also held the public’s attention. Though the critical acclaim he fet he deserved was lauded on contemporaries, the players who took the stage with him is a parade of names etched into the walls of jazz History.  The aforementioned Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Gil Evans, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Thelonius Monk, Sonny Rollins, Art Taylor, Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, Bill Evans, Bennie Maupin, John McLaughlin to name just a few.  He was as proficient at recruiting existing greats as discovering diamonds in the rough.  His playing didn’t just elevate those around them, it inspired them to play beyond themselves.In 1959, Miles Davis released the highest selling jazz album of all time, Kind Of Blue, with pianist Bill Evans, drummer Jimmy Cobb, bassist Paul Chambers, and saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian “Cannonball” Adderley filling out his band. Employing his adapted modal techniques, the compositions were roughly outlined, and each player given a range of tone and scale that they were free to solo within.  His choice in musicians was an inspired one, as each lived up to the trust placed in them. The five songs that comprised the two sides of the album, “So What“, “Freddie Freeloader“,  “Blue In Green“, “All Blues“, and “Flamenco Sketches” were something of a culmination of all that Davis had dabbled in up to this point, and the freshness of the sound, the adeptness of the instrumentalists and the plain honesty of the voice caused the album to transcend considerations of race, taste and social standing.  It was art, and it was for everyone.  In 2009, Congress made possibly the most unneeded, though completely deserved, declaration, proclaiming the album a national treasure.“So What”As the sixties led to an explosion of psychedelia and funk in a response to a national unrest over continuing racial tensions and the long running war in Vietnam, Davis found his attention wandering yet again.  He formed a blended band of acoustic and  instruments, and led a funk oriented group that produced challenging, dense funk with compositions overflowing with jamming tangents and free form soul.  He played rock festivals and found a ready made audience, eager for something to stretch the boundaries that had defined bands like Parliament–Funkadelic and Sly & The Family Stone. His work of this period became known as “Space Music“, a label he did not fight.  He, as always, used his music to express his emotion, and again, like always, left a feeling of fury and abandon echoing in the minds of his listeners long after the last notes were played.  Isle Of Wight Festival, 1970As the seventies wore on, he honed his fusion of rock and jazz, releasing albums like Dark Magus, Agharta, and Pangaea which broke loose from the confines of the studio. With compositions both rock and jazz, the trio served as almost a musical Rosetta Stone, a secret code to an all new language that Davis was conceiving on the fly.  Challenged audiences were divided, with some instantly swept away in the sonic maelstrom, while others found the aggressive variances of tone and breakneck pace shifts occasionally bordering on atonal to be more than they could handle.  Though his music was breaking bonds, his mind was being slowly locked down, as he faced a deteriorating mental state and a devolution into near hermitage when not onstage.  His work in the eighties took a turn for the more superficial, as his own years of ravaged living had taken their toll.  His newer material did not satisfy new audiences, though, a true iconoclast to the end, he refused repeated, reportedly huge offers to re-embrace his older catalog.  He remained true to his belief that, as an artist, he should always be exploring, even if his steps led him down a path no one was willing to follow him on.His relevance superceded genre.  He wrote a songbook that stands up to anyone who ever lived, and played his instrument with an eloquence rare beyond value.  He was posthumously inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and for his influence of the very language of improvisational music it was an honor well deserved.  The list of musicians who would readily tell you how much of an influence Miles’ sound has had on them is likely longer than the amount of words in every column and blurb posted on this site today…and probably the entire week.  As under his masterful control his sound was…that’s how out of control his personal life became. The sad tales of addiction and the mental difficulties he went through in fighting them are oft and far better told than I could muster here.  He was a world wide phenomenon.  He was an ambassador of sound, telling tales of anger and anguish, hope and joy with a voice so unique that there was no mistaking it.  While it would be over stating that any fan of improvisational music further explored by bands like the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers and Phish should delve into the works of Miles Davis, it is surely true that the music they love was influenced by the work of the man. To celebrate this great man’s life, sit back and let the music of the following video, “Around The Midnight,” wash over you. You’ll be glad you did.last_img read more

Amazing reno: Century-old character home restored to former glory in Bulimba

first_imgThe bathroom in the house at 31 Brisbane St, Bulimba, before the renovation. A photo from 1920 of bullocks hauling logs during the transfer of the property from Norman Park to Bulimba.Fortunately, the Hills were no strangers to renovating, having done it eight times before.“It needed a fair bit of work,” Mrs Hill said.But that’s what she loved about it — and the fact Bulimba was such a desirable suburb.“The children were both going to school in Bulimba, and we really love the area,” Mrs Hill said.“I think Tehgan and Kuhpar have lived through every renovation we’ve done!“We absolutely love it.” The front of the house at 31 Brisbane St, Bulimba, before the renovation. The kitchen in the house at 31 Brisbane St, Bulimba, before the renovation. The back of the house after the renovation.Despite undergoing a major renovation, certain features of the original build have been retained so that it remains an authentic Queenslander.Many of the materials used in the renovation were sourced from across Australia or from the original house, such as exposed bricks saved from a South Australian warehouse facing demolition and timber beams from an old bridge near Ballarat.“This time we afforded ourselves the luxury of spending that bit of extra money on materials,” Mrs Hill said.The stained glass windows in the pool room, master walk-in wardrobes and at the entrance to the home were all designed and made by the now deceased previous owner, Nola Warry. “We’ve reused these throughout the home to ensure her history lives on,” Mrs Hill said. The kitchen is unrecognisable after the renovation.Mrs Hill’s favourite feature of the home is how the sliding bi-fold doors in the living area blend the inside with the outside, providing access to the outdoor entertaining area. “You don’t realise when you’re inside or outside because its so open,” she said.The doors lead to a timber deck and grassed alfresco area bordered by landscaped gardens, where you can sit back and watch your favourite TV shows on the remote-controlled projector screen overlooking the pool.The pool also has water jets around the seated area and remote-controlled lights.When the projector isn’t in use, a fireplace takes its place, which can be turned on with the press of a button. IT was 1976 when Nola Warry bought the house at 31 Brisbane St, Bulimba for just $18,000.The property had been dragged there by bullocks from Norman Park and was one of the very first homes on the street.Nola and her partner, Ian, were both married to other people at the time, but wanted a fresh start in a home of their own, so they moved in with their six cats and a Poinciana tree, which still stands proudly in the yard.Nearly 40 years later, Graeme and Kelly Hill became the third owners of the property, which was built in 1907.center_img The front of the house after the renovation.The renovation has been their largest, and most expensive, to date.And the transformation from a workers cottage to a two-level five-bedroom, four-bathroom home is quite incredible — especially the kitchen.“There was literally a kitchen sink and a stove — that was the kitchen,” Mrs Hill said. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus16 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market16 hours ago“There were no benches, no cupboards, and a built-in pantry off the side of the house that was aqua.”The pantry was one of the first things that went, but that was when the Hills stumbled across a handwritten letter that had been left to them by the previous owners telling them about the property’s history.“I took the letter and framed it along with photos of what the house looked like back then,” Mrs Hill said.“We’ll sell the house with it.” The property has been completely transformed.And while most people think they’re crazy, the Hills lived through the renovation process, which took place in three parts — and did most of it themselves.In 2010, they painted the entire house, installed a new bathroom and knocked down some internal walls.The next stage involved reconfiguring the house by moving around some bedrooms and the kitchen and installing an extra bathroom and office.It wasn’t until 2015 that they decided to engage a builder.This stage involved lifting the house and building underneath.“Everything else before that we did ourselves,” Mrs Hill said.“I do most of the design work and then don the boots to do some painting, and he’ll (her husband) do the rest.” One of the bathrooms after the renovation.Sharing access to the timber pool deck is the master bedroom, which features a Balinese style ensuite, dressing room and remote blinds.On this level, there is also a media room, a pool room with billiards table and bar, a second bathroom, a laundry, a wine cellar and a gym, as well as a guest bedroom with walk-in wardrobe and study nook.Upstairs in the original workers cottage part of the house, there’s a second living area with a kitchenette, fireplace and a Juliet balcony adjoining another master bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe and ensuite and two further bedrooms. Other features include an integrated sound system, fireplace with side seat in the kitchen, ducted airconditioning throughout, Vintec wine cooler, garage for two vehicles, store room and additional off-street parking for three cars.“Whoever does end up buying this house is going to have the best time,” Mrs Hill said.“Graeme and I are going to miss it.“Our children and friends hope it doesn’t sell because it’s an awesome entertainment house. “The amount of parties we’ve had there!”But the Hills are already looking ahead to their next renovation project.“We’ll have a rest from this one once we sell, but we’re already actively looking for the next project,” Mrs Hill said.“It’s in our blood!”The property is scheduled for auction through Joanna Gianniotis at Place – Bulimba on Saturday, November 3, at 10am.RENO FACT CHECKTime taken: 4 months plus 3 months plus 1 year altogetherTotal spend: Close to $900,000End valuation: Going to auction so cannot give a price guide. The back of the house at 31 Brisbane St, Bulimba, before it was renovated. The backyard of the property at 31 Brisbane St, Bulimba, before the renovation.last_img read more

WATCH PHOTOS:Samuel Inkoom unveiled by Greek side Platanias

first_imgSamuel Inkoom has been presented to the fans of Greek top-flight side Platanias .The Ghana international has moved from Ukrainian side FC Dnipro where he was being frozen by manager Juande Ramos.Inkoom is in search of regular playing time to boost his chances of making Ghana’s final 23-man squad to the 2014 World Cup finals.Last season, he spent the second half of the campaign at French Ligue 1 side Bastia but had limited playing time.last_img