Seconds
Miles Davis: Spanish Key



oh Bitches Brew, oh Miles. The sound of New York waking up? The sound of the world waking up, waking up to life, that early morning waft of a myriad of scents, caught on the breeze above and the rising heat from the sun-warmed tarmac below. Oh “Spanish Key”, maybe Miles’ finest, most complete and structured note, a day in the life of New York City, those twin plains of percussion slowly stirring, Miles himself calling out to us to wake up for three minutes, leading the people in to work, bass clarinet sounding like bleary eyes, Miles the morning bird floating so free above this.


3:14 and the electric piano hook rolls in for the first time, summoned by Miles, the heady hustle of rush hour brought to climax before NYC can relax and get into the groove for the morning’s work, no one taking the forefront, all parts equal, all perpetuating, all moving forward together, those three electric pianos and young John McLaughlin’s awesome, spiralling, scratching, wired guitar, always working, busy busy, looking around and creating business. 5:18 and there’s the hook again, those three electric pianos roll together so sweet like sugar figs, lunch time, no time to rest, a clarinet siesta, a saxophone lull in the afternoon sun, take a walk down on the sidewalk, see the yellow taxis, see the couriers the hustlers the women in their fine shoes and take in a breath of their perfume and the oil and salt and hot tarmac and third generation sunbeams, getting busy again now, 7:31, the elements working together, and to home time, 7:56, take things down a notch or a gear or two or three, take some time to chill man, have a smoke maybe, relax, this evening we can go dancing, are you ready to go dancing? Do that build, do that busy hustle, wind it down again, almost turn it off and then, oh joy baby we can go dancing! 8:43 and those three electric pianos oh they’re dancing baby and Wayne Shorter dances with them and dashes off for a seven-note pirouette into the sky oh, oh oh oh oh oh oh... That’s it, that’s heaven just there, ohhhhhh...


10:50 and Miles is back, brother, this is his jam, really his, not just his in the way that all jams belong to Miles, even those discovered by Chick or Joe or Wayne or Herbie, but actually one that Miles gave birth to rather than claimed ownership of, and at 13:02 he can turn it into a slow piece if he wants, because it’s time to go to sleep baby, it’s time to close your eyes and lay down your sweet head, but just, baby, just one more time, 13:56, we can hear that call, that hook, that wake up jam, and maybe baby we can do some sweet late-night dancing just for a moment baby because I loves you, just the two of us... And now, 17:04, I’m gonna tuck you in and kiss your forehead and goodnight...


By: Nick Southall
Published on: 2003-08-07
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