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

Indy 500 rescheduled to August 23

first_imgSPEEDWAY – The 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 has been rescheduled to August 23 due to the ongoing health crisis.Tickets purchased for the originally scheduled race date are automatically valid for the newly scheduled race date. Please retain them for use in August. The updated IMS schedule, including a new date for the GMR Grand Prix, can be viewed by visiting“We’re confident we can deliver a world-class experience in August and are already working to do so. Making this announcement now gives everyone ample time to adjust and prepare for the new date. The new schedule will include many of the on-track activities that make the lead-up to the “500” so special. Fast Friday, Qualifying, Carb Day’s Pit Stop Competition and the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race will all take place, beginning with the first day of NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice on Wednesday, Aug. 12,” according to the press release.last_img read more

Westborough situation is complicated, but no one is solving the puzzle

first_img Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (24) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. -6 Vote up Vote down Paveyourownstreets · 392 weeks ago We paid “special” taxes in the development that I live in so that we could have streets, drainage, etc. However, the city didn’t put in proper drainage and our streets flood when we have a lot of rain. If the city decides to pay the $1 million to redo Westborough’s streets because it wasn’t done right in the first place, then it’s only fair to come back to our area and redo our drainage system (or put one in since there wasn’t one to begin with!) right? I hope the property owners realize that the $1 million wouldn’t be the “city” paying for the streets, it will be every property owner in town. The city will divide it over all of us. I already paid for the streets in my own neighborhood. Why should I have to pay for the streets in your neighborhood too? Our taxes are high enough as it is. The taxes (both property and car taxes) here are getting out of control and starting to make it impossible for people to live here. Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago -1 Vote up Vote down Jim · 392 weeks ago I have no problem with a 50/50 split as would be required on other projects in the city. We need South H street rebuilt and have for alot longer time than Westborough citizens who have had paved streets all along. WE HAVENT. We should not do any new paving until all existing roads have been done. Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago +1 Vote up Vote down cityresponsibility · 392 weeks ago It is the responsibility of the city to have a plan in place for roads, planning, zoning, future repairs etc. If fire trucks, cops, utility vehicles, etc use the roads then they are just as responsible meaning everyone has access to the roads. If the city didn’t charge specials or have it worked out in the begininng, then again, it is the cities responsibility. Why charge the homeowners in one neighborhood and not another. If the city will not repair the neighborhood, why should they be responsible for any road in town? Either don’t repair any roads or repair all the roads. Pretty simple solution or its called BIGOTRY! Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago +6 Vote up Vote down chip · 392 weeks ago Chip and reseal it. Move on and see how the oil money works. There are worse things in wellington. Try the ms parking lot. We need more facilities if we want to grow this town. Least they would have smooth streets and pay nothing as far as specials. Report Reply 1 reply · active 392 weeks ago +5 Vote up Vote down WHSFAN · 392 weeks ago Why can’t the city mill and asphalt it themselves? They do have this equipment sitting around. I have seen them using it on other street projects to save money. Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down Chip · 392 weeks ago The problem is one does not want to pay anything and the other does not have the money to pay for it all. It is like when you buy a car or remodel your home. You must drive what you can afford and you must stay within your budget when you remodel. I am not saying they do not need repaired at all. Maybe what the city could do is patch it this year the best they can. Put back half the money this year and then budget the other half for next year. Then it can be fixed right without the city digging into the emergency funds and the residents having to pay. Just a thought. A patch job could work for a year. Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago +10 Vote up Vote down Anon · 392 weeks ago First, the repairs would benefit everyone that drives these streets…it’s not just the Westborough homeowners…if Westborough were a gated community then ok but it’s not…every Wellington resident can, and most probably do, drive the streets of Westborough. As far as this Westborough resident is concerned, there is NO middle ground…this is a city responsibility, 100% of it…I’m not willing to pay a dime over and above the exorbitant property taxes I already pay. Report Reply 1 reply · active 392 weeks ago +11 Vote up Vote down Phil · 392 weeks ago My wife and I bought a home in Wellington over a year ago. It is a second home for us to be able to be close to grandkids. Wellington has the worst streets I have ever seen in my 65 years of life. It is a disgrace to the city for visitors and/or future residents to see the street system in such bad shape. It is a crime to expect residents to share the expense of correcting road problems when citizens already pay taxes that are high…..electricity/sewer/trash rates that are extremely high. It is no wonder the city seems to be in decline. Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago +4 Vote up Vote down Alternative Revenue? · 392 weeks ago The city actually has 3 different Local Sales Taxes sunsetting within the next two years: December 2013 – 0.25% city sales tax sunsets, April 2014 – 0.50% county sales tax sunsets, July 1, 2015 – 0.50% city sales tax sunsets The state sales tax rate is set to reduce this year on July 1st as well. Has there been any consideration made by the council on renewing any of these expiring sales taxes, and directed the revenue towards a Capital Improvement Fund specifically for Street Maintenance Projects? Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago +5 Vote up Vote down Alternative Revenue · 392 weeks ago I certainly feel it’s worthy of discussion, and could be a way to fund some of these projects withing “increasing” local taxes. I use quotes around increasing because while technically you aren’t increasing the sales tax, you aren’t reducing them either. This method also allows individuals outside the city limits to help fund such projects with their purchases within town. I don’t know what the local sales tax revenues are, so I can’t say how much a .25% increase would add to the revenues, but it’s a start. Asking homeowners to privately fund a public project is certainly not the proper way for a city government to function, and will also have an adverse effect on home prices in the area. Report Reply 0 replies · active 392 weeks ago 12Next » Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments The solution?…The city has an annual budget of $28 million. The budget is tight. However, there is the potential of additional revenue as Wal-Mart Superstore is placed onto the city tax roll because the Neighborhood Revitalization tax incentives have expired (see story here). Who knows what is going to happen with oil. The city has already received a chunk of change from oil mineral rights.And although the economy is unstable at the moment, things have the potential of turning around.One of the allegations I keep hearing, and I have no proof of this, is the city is making this proposal because Westborough property owners can pay the special assessments unlike anybody anywhere else in town. I think if that is true, and I’m not saying it is, it would be unfair and unethical.None of us know the financial status of Westborough property owners. Just because someone might look like they have money, doesn’t necessarily mean they have money. Besides, the government is made up of us. It shouldn’t discriminate based on economies of scale, but serve the greater good of everyone.So what is the solution?I suggest a third-party mediator come in and negotiate, much like those who settle union strikes. The Westborough Estate owners should have themselves a powwow away from the city and Sumner Newscow and elect a representative. The Wellington City Council could appoint a representative. I suggest a meeting with one representative from both sides, include Collins and sit down with a mediator or arbitrator who could render a decision.One thing is for sure. Nothing is getting done now. There are way too many egos on both sides of the ledger.Surely there is a middle ground here someplace.It would be a crying shame that one of south-central Kansas premiere sub-divisions, created by Joe Byler in the 1950s and continues to grow to this day, will forever be cursed with these inadequate roads.Westborough is one of Wellington’s crowning jewels, and is an example of the kind of class this community can imbue.Let’s get this issue solved. Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — While many chuckled over the “Rumble at Rotary” story this week, there is still one sad fact to this soap opera. The roads at Westborough Estates in west Wellington still stink!And with an approaching Valentine’s Day deadline in which the city is proposing to split the cost of the neighborhood street project 50-50, no sweetheart deal appears to be getting struck.The impasse is clear. Westborough property owners don’t want to pay anything for a project that wasn’t built right in the first place. The Wellington City Council doesn’t feel it can commit completely to a $1 million project that will benefit a specific group of people.A Sumner Newscow poll published this week showed that 61 percent of the readers sided with the Westborough property owners, and only 24 percent agreed with the current proposal of splitting the costs between the two parties (see poll here).Sumner Newscow has received several phone calls and e-mails outside the website comment section and the main concern from these people were, if the city is going to charge for street repair at Westborough, what will stop it from charging others for street repair elsewhere?It’s an interesting ethical question. Should the city charge special assessments taxes on streets that are already intact?Special assessments are usually placed on homeowners of new developments wanting to “add” onto city services. Those are legitimate taxes because new property owners are asking for city services that previously weren’t available.This, on the other hand, is different. There are Westborough streets intact, or gravel roads disguised as chip-and-seal oil streets.The specials aren’t about providing additional services, but funding an expensive reconstruction project.The city isn’t just repairing streets – but completely gutting the “curved” roads, building a foundation, providing proper drainage, dealing with the hassle of removing and reimplementing sprinkler systems, and implementing an alternative homeowner transportation system during a rather lengthy amount of time.I can most certainly see the city’s position. The Vandenburgh project in east Wellington will cost $2.19 million. But the city is only going to pony up $553,000 thanks to the sage financial direction of Wellington City Manager Gus Collins, who aptly turned this into a KDOT project.The $1.9 million roundabout intersection at A Street cost the city $170,000 because it was a KDOT project.Unfortunately, the state of Kansas nor the federal government will help with the Westborough Estate project unless Wellington City Economic Director Cody Sims can sniff out a grant someplace.Thus, the way it stands now, the Westborough repaving project will cost to the municipality more than Vandenburgh and A Street Roundabout combined! And that does not come into question the myriad of other street projects in need of attention around Wellington.last_img read more