There was one other unforgettable musical experience from the past week I ‘forgot’ to mention. Hehe! I played with The Miles Electric Band Saturday night in San Francisco. It’s been more than thirty years since I got my start with Miles and more than twenty years since the last time I had the honor and joy of performing with him. In all the years since then, I’ve wished I could play with him now, understanding more fully many of the things he was trying to reveal to us back then. Playing with MEB, I come as close as possible to doing just that.
What I must explain is, when we go to the stage we take with us (those of us who played with him) all the knowledge, experience, desire and awareness of the approach to music he indoctrinated us into when he was there on the bandstand. Whenever I play this music, I take my memory of him into the music with me. It’s like he’s speaking into my inner ear. “Remember, what you don’t play is at least if not more important than what you do play.” “Don’t answer yourself. Leave that space for the music to live. To breathe. Within that space lies the realm of infinite possibility and therein lies the magic we seek.”
Vince Wilburn, Jr., Etienne Charles, Antoine Roney, John Beasley, Robert Irving III, Blackbyrd McKnight, Debasish Chaudhuri, Abbos Kosimov, Munyungo Jackson, DJ Logic, Jeremy Ellis and I took the stage and attempted to weave, from that realm, a fabric we would hope is representative of what we gained from our time with one of the great artist of our, or any other time. In our attempt, we could not go backward but aspired to move forward. I honestly don’t know what Miles would have thought about the music we played but it felt authentic to me. I think we did a fine job. It sounded as if we were in the flow of the river….but without the presence of the Riverman, being in the flow is the most we could hope for.
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