Saturday, March 19, 2016

He Loved Him Madly

Miles' tribute to Duke Ellington, and perhaps one of the most mournful and emotional pieces of work in the Davis discography.  Recorded at Columbia Studios in New York on June 19 or 20, 1974, shortly after Ellington's death, the composition features Pete Cosey, Reggie Lucas, and Dominique Gaumont on electric guitars, Dave Liebman on alto flute, Michael Henderson on bass, Al Foster on drums, James Mtume on percussion, and Miles on organ and electric trumpet with wah-wah.  The trumpet doesn't start until some 16:00 minutes in, and I don't know of too many other musicians audacious enough to wait 16 minutes before performing on the first song of their own record.

Brian Eno cited He Loved Him Madly, and particularly the sense of space in Teo Macero's production, as a lasting influence on his own work.  I bought the album Get Up With It when it was first released in 1974 and loved it, but none of my New York roommates liked it, even though they were all jazz fans like myself, and when I went off to college in Boston, my university roommates flat out refused to even allow me to play it in public areas, but the album, and this song in particular, quietly accompanied a lot of my late-night study sessions.

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