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Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Question of Status II - Miles quote

(See the 'A Question of Status' post for the context of this one)

Accidentally stumbled across this quote (in a blog by somebody else), from Miles Davis, from his autobiography. He's talking about the difficulty he and Gil Evans had with the 'Sketches of Spain' sessions. His dismissal of classical musicians goes much further than I would, but it was interesting to read his thoughts on something that I'd been thinking and writing about only recently -and of course it's put in the kind of colourful way that he was always such a master of.

...Legit drummers can't solo because they have no musical imagination to improvise. Like most other classical players, they play only what you put in front of them. That's what classical music is; the musicians only play what's there and nothing else. They can remember, and have the ability of robots. In classical music, if one musician isn't like the other, isn't all the way a robot, like all the rest, then the other robots make fun of him or her, especially if they're black. That's all that is, that's all the classical music is in terms of the musicians who play it - robot shit. And people celebrate them like they're great. Now there's some great classical music by great classical composers - and there's some great players up in there, but they have to become soloists - but it's still robot playing and most of them know it deep down, though they wouldn't admit it in public.

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