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Baker's Dozen

Music Is Not Sport: Nils Frahm's Favourite Albums
Karl Smith , September 10th, 2015 14:05

Before he releases his Late Night Tales compilation, the pianist, composer and new classical ("I never liked it, but I'm stuck with it now; give me something cool like 'neo jazz'") pioneer gives Karl Smith a tour of his favourite overlooked records, by musicians "that deserve a little afterglow"

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Miles Davis - Get Up With It
It was a long time between the first time I heard this and hearing it again: I heard it once and after that I didn't find it until a friend gave me some Miles Davis mp3s and it was in there. It was a long time, but I kind of like it like that. Now we have all these apps that just ping and can tell you exactly what the music is… back then it was more like, "oh shit". I'd go to the shop and be buying some pants and thinking, "This is the best thing I've ever heard, what is it?" and they'd say, "I don't know - it's a burned CD from someone who works here." Shit.

Bitches Brew is a really good example of its time; of what Miles Davis did in the mid-60s to the beginning of the 70s. He had this kind of electrified Jimi Hendrix-inspired phase and he was taking a lot of cocaine - I think it's always worth mentioning what kind of drug he was using - and there's some really special music out there because, it was kind of the invention of jazz rock, you know?

But, for me, I think Get Up With It is closer to my heart; it has this beautiful beginning track, 'He Loved Him Madly', which is 33 minutes long. Thirty-three minutes! It doesn't even fit on the original vinyl so you really need to listen to the CD. The vinyl starts at about eight minutes and misses out the most fantastic beginning section, where it just feels like everybody's stoned and they don't even know it's rolling. It's such a beautiful, beautiful way to improvise together - and it's purely improvised music.

All these players are so fantastic and you can feel how they're so excited that they're playing with Miles Davis - you can feel the tension. And on the other hand they risk so much, that's what really strikes me. They were just doing it, not thinking so much, just this bravery - laying themselves out on the line.


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