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

How do the world’s tourist boards communicate at the moment? The main narrative is the dreaming and planning phase

first_imgHow do national tourist boards communicate in this time of crisis? For the end, both Portugal and Switzerland were the first to jump out and have just started communicating on social media and campaigning in the context of explore and dream, see you soon, so we will see in which direction the communication will develop. The Croatian National Tourist Board publishes via Facebook virtual travel through the publication of videos from our destinations, as well as photos. Also, the CNTB is joined the global campaign to help Zagreb hospitals damaged in the earthquake. So far, Portugal and Switzerland have reacted the fastest and shown us a positive example of how to communicate in times of isolation and crisis. We follow further and bring interesting promotional and communication concepts. Feel free to let us know other positive examples at [email protected], if you think they are worth sharing. But what is the fact that at the moment everyone is online, more than ever, and some in this situation see their opportunity to further position and expand their user base. That is why now is the time to take advantage of all the benefits that the internet brings us. In this situation where everyone is in self-isolation, everyone is online. So virtual museums and virtual tours of destinations are so popular. But Norwegian company Norled has taken it a step further. The entire film and fjord cruise from Bergen to Flåm will take 5 hours and 25 minutes. See how it turned out HERE Of course, this event was supported and shared by the Norwegian Tourist Board Visit Norway. Norled AS is one of the largest shipping companies and the company has over 80 vessels and operates ferries and speedboats from Oslo to Tromsø. It was Norled who organized a digital cruise “Digital Fjord cruise” through his social networks and invited his companions to join them on a boat trip to get acquainted with the beautiful coastal landscape, the spectacular Sognefjord and the charming villages along the way to Flåm. Also, in support of Zagreb after the earthquake, they posted an emotional message and a video with #LoveZagreb This is the time to position ourselves, it is important that our tourists continue to stay in the dreaming phase. Especially at this time when everything around us is negative, people need a little break from this negative situation. So, great quick response from VisitPortugal. The video of course was not planned, but was made in accordance with this extraordinary situation. And this is skillfully emphasized in the very introduction to the video, where the message is that the videos were recorded before the coronavirus, and the narrator’s voice was recorded via a cell phone in his home isolation. VisitPortugal – It’s time to stop The Portuguese Tourist Board has launched a campaign It’s time to stop, followed by a hashtag #CantSkipHope. The whole campaign is accompanied by the main video with a phenomenal narrative, I personally watched it several times and each time I shivered and even cried. Be sure to take a look HERE, also an interesting new principle that offers many possibilities. The Swiss Tourist Board launched the #DreamNowTravelLater campaign yesterday. / / / Swedish nature in Virtual reality (VR) PS Be sure to check out a great example of communication and creative thinking, the Getty Museum that launched the challenge #BetweenArtandQuarantine, which immediately went viral. Norway – Digital Fjord cruise When we talk about tourism, the narrative is that now is the ideal time to research, discover and plan future travel, ie to compile a kind of bucket list.  How does CNTB communicate? Although at the moment, unfortunately, it is out of place to talk about tourism in this situation, that does not mean that we should not stop communicating on social networks. Now is the ideal time to plan, define new strategies, and prepare marketing campaigns for the “day after crown” moment, to be ready and to immediately start communicating and promoting when the pandemic passes. Also, when this situation passes, if we care about communicating and being in contact with guests, tourists will remain loyal to us and we will be in their plans, ie position ourselves on both conscious and unconscious levels. Also, this is an opportunity to expand your companion base. The dreaming and planning phase Also, on their website they have an interesting interactive video on the cover (I honestly don’t know how to define it) that takes us live through the landscape, gives us the ability to navigate up and down, and shows additional information about some attractions and content. Admittedly, there is a lack of interaction, to communicate directly with us as viewers, in order to further involve us in the whole story, but certainly an interesting approach. Of course, no one could prepare or be ready for this situation, but the Tourist Boards of Portugal and Switzerland quickly adapted and just started with interesting campaigns. In any case, in a crisis situation, the worst thing is not to communicate. Invite your followers to post their photos, videos, experiences and stories to stimulate infraction, and of course storyelling is the strongest tool. Visit Sweden On the other hand the Swedish Tourist Board VisitSweden invites her companions, as we are all in home self-isolation, to make the famous Swedish specialties – Cinnamon buns, and shared recipes for the same. Other tourist boards are “recycling” old content, but have not yet developed a targeted crisis communication strategy such as Portugal and Switzerland. But we can only expect communication strategies, because of course no one could prepare for this situation. With a great climate that allows golf all year round and a great variety of terrains, the Algarve is a paradise for golfers. Add it to your wish list on your next visit to Portugal.- the message next to the picture is by which VisitPortugal promotes goal tourism through social networks So he posts on social media As I mentioned, virtual reality is IN, and so Sweden has its trump cards. Namely, they produced three VR films, which are just communicating via social media in a time of isolation only. Switzerland – Dream Now. Travel later. A great example of how to communicate in isolation time #BetweenArtandQuarantinelast_img read more