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Baker's Dozen

Ancient Rhythms, Global Rhythms: Pete Wareham's Favourite Records
Adam Quarshie , April 1st, 2020 09:28

Via his ensemble Melt Yourself Down, saxophonist Pete Wareham reimagines the rhythms and melodies of Nubia. Adam Quarshie caught up with him to discuss some of his influences, from the music of Egypt and Sudan to the music of East London.


Miles Davis – Miles Smiles
I started playing flute when I was about six or seven and I transferred to saxophone when I was 14. It was mostly just playing trad jazz in the school jazz band and so I'd actually played a lot of jazz, because I was classically trained too, so I'd read a lot of jazz solos. But I hadn't really heard much modern jazz. I started listening to Miles Davis and Charlie Parker at the same time as I started listening to The Velvet Underground and Led Zeppelin.

I was completely obsessed with jazz for so many years. That was all I listened to. John Coltrane and Miles Davis were like my bread and butter for so long. But obviously, where there's John Coltrane, there's Wayne Shorter, there's Archie Shepp, Joe Henderson, all these other people, and the same with Miles Davis. Miles Davis I've taken such inspiration from because he's someone that says: you've got to change, you've got to adapt to survive. You can't just stay doing what you're doing, you've got to try and engage with the zeitgeist. He was unique in the jazz world really. The people that came after him, that he brought up musically, if you like - Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Weather Report, Chick Corea - obviously they were very much engaged in the music of the time but Miles was so fearless and iconic, not just as a musician but as a figure in his society. To be young, angry and black was such a unique thing. He was absolutely amazing. I've got so much respect for him.