I Dig, Do You?
I was delighted to get a vinyl copy of this on Saturday, though I didn’t know the album. Miles Davis’ hipster liner notes were enough to swing the purchase for me, mentioning, as he does, Herbie with the echoplex. That’s Hancock of course. Davis’ narrative reflects the cool ethos of the time, his closing eulogy being In order to write this type of music, you have to be ‘free inside of yourself’ and be Josef Zawinul with two beige kids, a black wife, two pianos, from Vienna, a Cancer and “Cliché-Free”.
It’s a mix of contemporary, sprawling jazz with Zawinul and Hancock on electric piano and some fine trumpet from Woody Shaw on the first track, and there are elegant, shorter pieces like In A Silent Way which I gather, in my continued musical education, is a rather famous composition. The soprano sax of Earl Turbington is caressed with a variety of background effects that signal 70s’ early experimentation with electronics.
The album opens with Doctor Honoris Causa, and the notes beneath the track read Dedicated to Herbie Hancock for his Honorary Doctorate at Grinnell University in Des Moines, Iowa, and I like that as I was born in Omaha, Nebraska which literally backs on to this twin town where my Uncle Glenn lived. Connections. Bill Bryson also famously wrote I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to. I lived in a small town in Iowa for a while so have some empathy.
I love the album’s closing track Arrival In New York at 1 minute and 59 seconds [which is a very precise timing!]. It is a brilliant horn, effects and percussive recreation of Joe Zawinul’s first impressions of New York when he arrived here as a boy on a ship from France.
As Miles encourages with his hip imperative verb: Dig it. I do. And only £4.99.