Why Didn`t Miles Ever Record "Alfie"?

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Blair N. Cummings
Posts: 950
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 4:14 pm

Why Didn`t Miles Ever Record "Alfie"?

Postby Blair N. Cummings » Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:55 pm

We all know the story of how Burt was flattered by Miles Davis complimenting him on the melody for "Alfie" but I find it odd that not only did Miles never record the song, I`ve never even found a bootleg of him performing it live anywhere.
Despite his arguable degeneration into faux-funk and worse in his later career (although I liked the extremes of On the Corner), Miles never lost his ear for a strong melody. I should have been able to present a third example after these two:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpZHjvFXprk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mM4WW5yyuu0

The man who gave us "Flamenco Sketches" passed on "Alfie"?!

pljms
Posts: 548
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 8:43 am

Re: Why Didn`t Miles Ever Record "Alfie"?

Postby pljms » Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:58 pm

There were of course honourable exceptions like Stan Getz, Cal Tjader, Bill Evans and Sonny Rollins, but major jazz musicians on the whole tended to bypass Bacharach in the 60s because they considered him to be a 'pop' composer. Apparently Miles Davis was obsessive about seeming to be 'cool' and 'hip' and by the time he recorded those two 80s pop hits he probably would have considered Bacharach and Alfie to be decidedly 'uncool' and 'unhip'. Could he really be that shallow? Apparently yes.
Paul

Blair N. Cummings
Posts: 950
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 4:14 pm

Re: Why Didn`t Miles Ever Record "Alfie"?

Postby Blair N. Cummings » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:25 pm

It`s too bad that Miles didn`t get a flat tire on his way to the Monterey Festival in `67. It was there he watched what he might have expected to be his next natural audience succumb to the transient seductions of psychedelia. And it was his subsequent idea to plug in first Herbie Hancock and then Ron Carter on the slippery slope toward "fusion." Not only was this bastard genre about as hip as your grandfather in bell-bottoms, it was grounded by numbingly static rhythm and has fared, in time, even less well than...well, psychedelia.
The only thing sadder than Miles ineptly chasing after a "hipness" he could never have claimed was the trail of equally gifted musicians he brought in his wake. It`s difficult to chide people like Chick Corea (to unfairly single out one among many) for wanting to make a living. No doubt he saw more of a return on his electric albums in a week than he has realized from all of his previous albums to date. But, still, the whole thing seemed - and still seems to me - just sad...and a typical commentary on the perversity of American "culture."


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