Rafi Zabor’s Updoc, Fri 8/28 & Tues 9/1


You know it’s an old canard that “if Clifford Brown hadn’t died. Miles Davis would have been working in the Post Office,” and the proof, if you need it, is Miles’ 1955 duet with Theloninous Monk on ‘Round Midnight at Newport, recently issued on the Bootleg Series Volume 4 box set—maybe the first time Miles Davis as we know him emerged full-scale on record: the sound startles you awake immediately: suddenly he’s all there, with nothing missing—George Avakian heard it and signed him to Columbia—while sweet Clifford Brown still had a year to live before his shocking end on the highway. In his excellent Miles bio, John Szwed writes that one night in a Detroit club when Brownie was sounding all his joyous gold, a sick Miles Davis only halfway through kicking his heroin habit sidled in and stilled the club with a single piercing ballad, stiletto crescent moon to Clifford’s solar gold, night to Brownie’s day. There’s something of that haunting the Newport duet with Monk, which kicks off this week’s Updoc—Friday at 8PM and noon next Tuesday, Rhode Island summer time—followed by a Brownie and Max set, followed by Miles’ quintet at Newport in ’66, followed by the Icelandic expanses of Anna Thorvaldsdottir and some trio virtuosity from Robert Glasper, followed by, well . . . I don’t have to list it all, you follow?

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