TTFF: First Set Situations

12.28.13 (Jake Silco)

12.28.13 (Jake Silco)

For this playlist, I tried to go for a bit more under the radar, first set jams from the golden years. Hope you enjoy

Ghost > Yamar” 7.31.97 I, Mountain View, CA

Quite the opening couplet for a summer show.



Split Open and Melt” 8.12.96 I, Noblesville, IN

A filthy, second-song “Split” while the sun still shone in the cornfields.



Reba” 10.15.98 I, San Francisco, CA

The Fillmore “Reba.”



Tweezer” 11.14.98 I, Cinncinatti,OH

A ferocious first-setter that combines grooves and ambient-melodica a la Fall ’98.



Cities” 7.31.98 I, Columbus, OH

A classic first-set jam from the Summer of ’98. Here’s the one well-known jam I let slide, because frankly, I always forget about it.



Free” 8.14.97 I, Darien Center, NY

Here’s an early version of “Free” fully breaking loose.



Tweezer” 12.4.99 I, Cinncinatti, OH

Here’s another first set “Tweezer” from the very next year in the same building. Listen to how profoundly the band’s sound has transformed from the ambient-laced groove palette in ’98 to the ominous, layered and millennial monstrosity on the brink of Big Cypress.



Gumbo” 12.13.99 I, Providence, RI

Here’s another little first set Winter ’99 nugget that delivers. So smooth. So heavy.



Harry Hood” 8.10.97 I, Noblesville, IN

A unique and under-the-radar version that deserves so much glory.

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371 Responses to “TTFF: First Set Situations”

  1. vegas wolfmans Says:

    Word. Thanks.

    In A Silent Way is $$$. Expanding on ideas touched on in Filles. Cool to listen to the progression into electric.

  2. MiA Says:

    Thanks for the drop Miner!

    I love GoT. Great episode tonight.

  3. little umbrellas Says:

    I think Miles in the Sky has the first time Miles had Herbie play the Rhodes, and then came Files De Kilimanjaro which also has electric piano.

    In a Silent Way was the first electric guitar. There is three disc box set for Silent Way as well. Has the days leading up to the official release session. No guitar at first, but great music. Specially the song ‘Ghetto Walk’.

    Was reading recently how Miles was all about first takes. Loved the spontaneity, and gave a lot of the players a nice dose of fear to kick em in their pants.

    John says that the melody guitar part for In a Silent Way came up because Miles told him, ‘play something like you don’t know how to play guitar’. Simplicity strikes.

    Calm before the storm. Brew.

  4. little umbrellas Says:

    … Here’s the opposite of calm:
    Rated X by Miles Davis off of the album ‘Get Up With It.’ Insanely heavy dissonance, upbeat tribal groove.

  5. vapebraham Says:

    Little finger

  6. little umbrellas Says:

    ^dark wah’d rhythm guitar, pumping bass line. Studio start/stop jamming.

    ‘mtume’ and ‘rated x’ both feature Miles on the Organ.

  7. Gavinsdad Says:

    Miner – seeing as how your working a nice chunk of 65-75 feel like as a tributary off of bitches brew u may need to hit your vinyl shop for some actual fusion…I know it’s a dirty word sometimes but mebbe:

    Return to forever – Romantic warrior
    Weather Report – heavy weather
    Mahavishnu – birds of fire
    Mcglaughlin/Santana – love devotion surrender

    In hindsight this genre gets a bit frantic for me. I had more patience in hs and college for the barrage of notes.

    At the same time on the proto punk side of things I never had much patience for the Stooges. I get iggys place and really love the power but I went right for talking heads clash VU t. rex Bowie. And don’t forget Big Star. How would Teenage Fanclub ever made any music w/o them.

    Also, can someone step up here and break down their fave Kinks albums? We hardly ever talk about them (village green preservation society, Arthur and muswell hillbillies for me)

  8. Stoney Case Says:

    Miles of Miles talk. The shit I like.


    Miner you’re a natural writer. Your Miles takes are the bizness

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    I got into jazz through fusion back in college. mahavisnhu, weather report especially. Just picked up WR’s “Black Market” yesterday—really dig it. I also have Heavy Weather. I also have Mahavishnu Birds of Fire and Inner Mounting Flame—nice recs 🙂 Most of the major players in the fusion scene—Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, McGlughghlin, Herbie all played in the Bitches Brew sessions. Miles, man…

    One of the things the author of the book I am reading said that I found intriguing was that when the fusion movement hint, some favored technical ability over substance—”exterior” over “interior”—and that sometimes, this resulted in music that lacked could dazzle but lacked true emotional meaning. While I love a lot of their music, this reminded me a little of mahavishnu.

    re fusion, have recently listened to Pangea and Agharta, two double albums that were recorded on the same day in Japan in 1975. It’s interesting, because Pangea is kind of an “off” show (it was the night performance), Agharta is more on (day show), and then the Japanese-only release called Dark Magus was a another double live fusion album from right around then that the record company dropped when they found the other two to be not-so-hot. Dark Magus fucking slays. I also dig Agharta. Pangea not so much.

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    thanks @stoney

  11. Stoney Case Says:

    Loving the #jazzthoughts

  12. garretcorncob Says:

    That’s why Mahavishnu has never settled into regular rotation for me, Miner. No depth. I’ll put it on if I feel like being impressed, but never if I feel like being moved.

    Gdiddy, Arthur is my favorite album of all time. So prime, top to bottom. Each song a little different, never gets tired or boring. Fantastic sneering worldview that just really wishes it could sincerely live what’s going on. Always lived that yearning for sincerity that just can’t be mustered in the face of all the bullshit. Never explored past that and Village Green (also high up the list) as the Kinks go, though, so a discussion on that would be welcome.

  13. garretcorncob Says:

    Those “live”s should be “love”s

  14. garretcorncob Says:

    One if my favorite things:

    Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things”

    Related: Coltrane “Live At Newport: ’66” (I think?). Coltrane takes some crazy good solos. True solo, as in band drops out. Two minute cadenza type shit.

  15. little umbrellas Says:

    Dark Magus!!

    three guitars? .. .. Sonny Sharrock?

  16. little umbrellas Says:

    Loving the #jazzthoughts

    ^agreed. that last Miner comment is clutch. really sums up the fusion issue. dig the idea of exterior vs interior to explain that concept.

  17. Gavinsdad Says:

    Thanks for the responses guys.

    Funny but that is exactly how I got into jazz. By workin backwards into it from fusion. When I lived with god street I’d listen to this or that. I’d have on headhunters and they’d say “I don’t know why u always listen this. It’s just Mingus”. Then I’d listen to Mingus and they’d say “go listen to Ellington.” ::smile:: 3 of them were manhattan school of music guys who studied jazz theory. Dan the bassists teacher was Anthony Jackson from al DiMeola’s bands….I always got such a kick outta that.

    Start my new gig in a couple hours so ill be pretty scarce up until the Mann. Be good kids.

  18. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Knockem dead Gdads.

  19. verno329 Says:

    Thanks for the Miles ALAC’s Miner! Looking forward to checking them out

  20. Mr.Miner Says:

    I think for anyone coming from a rock perspective, fusion is the natural way to get into jazz. I also see, however, if one is coming from a jazz perspective, why they’d kinda dismiss fusion or be disinterested. From a rhythmic point of view if nothing else. After listening to a lot of live Miles fusion era stuff, I find that it is more a night-to-night thing than his former quintets etc…Some nights the band clicked and sometimes they didn’t. I’m sure that’s true for jazz too, of course, but with the fusion releases I can really hear a difference as I noted last night. Even b/w the first two discs in the box set posted, (I’ve only spun each once in the car), I found the secomd to be far tighter than the first. It was the following night, so I guess that makes sense.

    I find the Carter/Williams rhythm section (of the 65-68 quintet) to be routinely more interesting, eclectic and nuanced than any other I’ve heard in my relatively limited jazz listening. And Herbie plays like a third rhythm player sometimes, filling in spaces masterfully. I find myself going backwards through Miles’ career, but very very slowly. As in I got into him via fusion, now I’m digging his latter-days quintet, and then next year or something I’ll check out his first one—and then he has a whole career before that!

    I keep coming back to the album ESP—I find the improv to be super connected and interesting. Also Miles in the Sky. Also, they are two that I have—so there’s that. #jazzthoughts

  21. Mr.Miner Says:

    also, was reading about On the Corner last night, which was largely outside the jazz tradition and trashed by contemporaries. What this author was saying was that the album was actually looking at music from the perspective of latter day genres of hip-hop, trance, and dance music—compositionally that is. Sequencing rhythms and layers. Miles’ legendary producer, Teo Macero, didn’t have the vision to approach it differently than the way he cut and pasted sessions throughout the electric era on albums like In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, Jack Johnson, and others. Thus the resulting LP of On the Corner was almost less than the sum of its parts (if that even makes sense). Bill Laswell later took several of these tracks, and some others from the fusion era, and remixed them from a dance music perspective, but not changing the actual music. From the perspective that Laswell argues, the music was intended. The result is the CD Panathalassa—a CD I’ve had since college, but never really understood. He creates “tracks” out of Miles fusion era jams that are often “sliced” and excerpted on his albums. Tracks in the sense of having a beginning, a narrative and and end. Gonna throw it on later and see. But essentially, On the Corner was a forbearer to hip hop and largely misunderstood at the time.

    Highly reccommend the book I’m reading, “Miles Beyond” by Paul Tingen, which is a reassessment of Miles electric era music from someone based in rock rather than jazz. Dude writes academically, and is incredibly well-researched. Meanwhile, he describes Miles’ evolution in terms of Ken Wilbur’s philosophy of holons. A quality read, as he touches on the all of Miles’ career, while focusing on 68 and forward.

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