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Running the Voodoo Down: The Electric Music of Miles Davis

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This book reassesses Miles Davis' "electric period" and analyzes its continuing influence on contemporary music. While jazz purists often revile this phase - which encompasses the entire second half of his career, from 1967 until his death in 1991 - this book takes a new, appreciative look at this music and shows its importance to Davis' career and to jazz as a whole. The This book reassesses Miles Davis' "electric period" and analyzes its continuing influence on contemporary music. While jazz purists often revile this phase - which encompasses the entire second half of his career, from 1967 until his death in 1991 - this book takes a new, appreciative look at this music and shows its importance to Davis' career and to jazz as a whole. The author also reveals surprising connections between Davis, Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone, particularly the ways they fed each other's creativity. This book will stir up the longtime debate about this important music and give Davis' legions of fans refreshing insights into his work.


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This book reassesses Miles Davis' "electric period" and analyzes its continuing influence on contemporary music. While jazz purists often revile this phase - which encompasses the entire second half of his career, from 1967 until his death in 1991 - this book takes a new, appreciative look at this music and shows its importance to Davis' career and to jazz as a whole. The This book reassesses Miles Davis' "electric period" and analyzes its continuing influence on contemporary music. While jazz purists often revile this phase - which encompasses the entire second half of his career, from 1967 until his death in 1991 - this book takes a new, appreciative look at this music and shows its importance to Davis' career and to jazz as a whole. The author also reveals surprising connections between Davis, Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone, particularly the ways they fed each other's creativity. This book will stir up the longtime debate about this important music and give Davis' legions of fans refreshing insights into his work.

30 review for Running the Voodoo Down: The Electric Music of Miles Davis

  1. 4 out of 5

    Troy Van

    While it inspired some great listening, I mostly wanted to punch this book in the face.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Goatboy

    Music books are tough to rate as they don’t quite reach the same heights as literature or great non-fiction works of philosophy or history. And yet I can’t imagine a more engaging work on Miles Davis’s electric years. Short on biographical information and other “endless data and facts’ this book concentrates on what was happening in the music between 69 and 75 mostly and then the 80’s to lesser extent. I think the success of this work is the excitement and curiosity it raises in the reader about Music books are tough to rate as they don’t quite reach the same heights as literature or great non-fiction works of philosophy or history. And yet I can’t imagine a more engaging work on Miles Davis’s electric years. Short on biographical information and other “endless data and facts’ this book concentrates on what was happening in the music between 69 and 75 mostly and then the 80’s to lesser extent. I think the success of this work is the excitement and curiosity it raises in the reader about the music and the desire it instills to listen to as much of it again or for the first time as soon as possible. Describing the sound and feel of music is tough and yet it’s done extremely well here. In addition you really feel the importance of this stage of Davis’s development and a greater appreciation of its revolutionary spirit and innovative excellence. It also highlights just how important Teo Macero was to those recordings in terms of ahead of its time production magic.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Leftjab

    For fans only - helps being familiar with Miles' music from 1967-1975 before jumping in. Also helps to have read Miles Beyond by Paul Tingen as well. While not as meticulously researched as Tingen's book (admittedly Tingen pretty much covered the chronology and personnel aspect of this music so any more of that would be redundant), definitely attempts to place Miles' early 70's music in an American socio-political-cultural context - his musings on this are the best part of the book. And, as with For fans only - helps being familiar with Miles' music from 1967-1975 before jumping in. Also helps to have read Miles Beyond by Paul Tingen as well. While not as meticulously researched as Tingen's book (admittedly Tingen pretty much covered the chronology and personnel aspect of this music so any more of that would be redundant), definitely attempts to place Miles' early 70's music in an American socio-political-cultural context - his musings on this are the best part of the book. And, as with Tingen's book as well, his exploration of Miles' 80's music is worthwhile (both writers basically start by saying "it's not THAT bad."). Yeah, you should read the Tingen book as well. It's nerdy but enjoyable to read two critics completely disagree over a guitarist's performance on Dark Magus. If that sentence doesn't intrigue you, stay far away.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael Anderson

    My favorite Miles Davis years are the late sixties through mid seventies (favorite albums, FWIW, Water Babies and On the Corner). So I loved reading about his experimentation with electric instruments, incorporation of the electric guitar in his music, movement away from the studio to albums mixed from his concert efforts, his rejection of the word "jazz", and the criticism he endured from those who worshiped his music in the 40s, 50s, and early 60s. If there is a flaw in this book, it's the det My favorite Miles Davis years are the late sixties through mid seventies (favorite albums, FWIW, Water Babies and On the Corner). So I loved reading about his experimentation with electric instruments, incorporation of the electric guitar in his music, movement away from the studio to albums mixed from his concert efforts, his rejection of the word "jazz", and the criticism he endured from those who worshiped his music in the 40s, 50s, and early 60s. If there is a flaw in this book, it's the detailed, track by track analysis of his music in the early 70s through to his death in 91, which shows the evolution of his musical ideas, and which can be best appreciated by jazz fanboys.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Went a little overboard in trying to convince the reader as to just how far out Miles could be, but I loved it for pointing out where some of the edits on Bitches Brew are which is really an astounding revelation and invaluable for that at least. Worth checking out.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Leonard Pierce

    A very fine book on Miles' misunderstood electric period. This happens to be by an editor of mine, and as is traditional with books by friends, I'm withholding a fifth star until I get some good-quality whiskey. A very fine book on Miles' misunderstood electric period. This happens to be by an editor of mine, and as is traditional with books by friends, I'm withholding a fifth star until I get some good-quality whiskey.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Blamelouis

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ron

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stuart Clemo

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stuart

  11. 4 out of 5

    Wouter Dronkers

  12. 5 out of 5

    Noah

  13. 4 out of 5

    Steven Teasdale

  14. 5 out of 5

    Soren Petersen

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alan Mills

  16. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  17. 5 out of 5

    Richard Foster

  18. 4 out of 5

    A.k. Enäktasigge

  19. 5 out of 5

    George A Sheridan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Greg Masters

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tobias

  22. 4 out of 5

    Liam

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mr. King

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michael Goth

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sharon L. Sherman

  27. 4 out of 5

    Graham McGrew

  28. 4 out of 5

    Randy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Adam Flynn

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Knight

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