about Keith Jarrett and Miles Davis's ensemble


第6章(3)The Miles Davis Lost Quintet and Other Revolutionary Ensemble

The Miles Davis Lost Quintet and Other Revolutionary Ensembles 

by Bob Gluck(2016) 


Chapter 6 Circle 


Circle: Open Improvisation and Musical Form (continue)


The quartet's approach to collective improvisation demanded everyone's complete attention. In many cases, one of the musicians would generate a melodic or rhythmic cell, which is open to examination and exploring for its implications. Implicit in the kind of musical gestures a musician would play is a series of “questions” each band member would need to unconsciously ask at every moment. What kind of support or challenge should the others provide? Should additional material be offered or exchanged? Does an evocative moment require punctuation? Is there a space to fill, or, alternately, a silence to respect? Band members indeed held discussions following their performances. Yet these kinds of questions require no explicit discussion; they are the bread and butter of a successful performance: while an individual might instigate activity, tension and release is built communally. Mysteriously and effortlessly, the music all comes together, intuitively and in the moment. 



In essence, the band's name embodies its process orientation, as John Mars observes: “I think of Circle as like a round table with the four of them all around it. You put each guy at his place around the circumference of this table ... all facing each other ... Decisions were made in a 'conference' in a hair trigger of a second with all those groups. When you play like that, there's a little wire hooked up between your heads.” 



Indeed, Circle functioned as a collective. This was a value strongly felt by the entire band, as Corea relates: “I like to be in a group where everyone is free to express themselves freely ― musically and otherwise. It's an ethic that matches the 'equal rights' aspect of the music I love to be a part of.” Altschul notes: “We would discuss the music the minute we came off the set. We went into the back room, discussed the music, and then left it alone. But we talked about what we did, what we didn't do, what's happening, what wasn't happening, all that kind of shit. That was the height of the music, and the tapes show it. Fabulous ... It was everything collective. Everyone had a job to do in the band: librarian, business ... we were also kind of a commune. We were on the road together with our families ― those who had familes ― and we cooked, we had little cookers with us, bought fresh vegetables and brown rice and shit. And anyone who wanted to eat meat, that's what they did, but still, we were all like a family. So, we were very tight.” 



As Circle continued to develop, an unpredictable logic arose from the shared chemistry and history. Altschul: 




When you're playing music where you're relying on each other for the forms that the music becomes, an E.S.P. develops. And the more you do it, the more it develops. It's like any other method. So what then comes into play is your musical vocabulary, and how many places you can go to and how many moods you can set up. We went to Dixieland! There are places where we jumped into some Dixieland shit. You know? So whatever we went. Everyone had a vast musical vocabulary, and everybody was familiar with each other's vocabulary, because everybody's vocabulary, a lot of it was the same. Not necessarily the same concept of the vocabulary, but the vocabulary ... We tried to play fresh every time. The only thing that would have been a kind of a form, though it wasn't thought of as a formulated thing, was within the concept of tension and release. The release used to seem ususally to fall into a time thing. 




One of the band's conscious goals, whether playing off of composed tunes or more freely, was to avoid habits and cliches. For Chick Corea, this had been a priority in his career up to that point: “The direction that I was headed was upwards to a way of being and creating that was free of categories and analysis. When I heard the music of Bud Powell, I was inspired by his musical freedom ― he seemed able to become the music when he played. Monk was the same ― he expressed a complete freedom of personal expression. The same with Bartok's compositions ― the way they broke new ground and fused new elements together.” Barry Altschul had incorporated this way of thinking into his own playing: “As a matter of fact, as part of my development as a drummer, there was a period where if I was to play a Philly Joe Jones lick in my playing, I would say to myself, 'Oh that's Philly Joe, that's not you ― change it.' So, I think it was the same kind of apporach. It was, 'Oh, I used a cowbell on a place ― on a texture like this ― let me play something else.' I didn't think it, but it was an instinct.” 



The Miles Davis Lost Quintet also placed a high value on spontaneity, but might we view Circle's difficult-to-attain ideal of “if you've done it before, don't repeat it” as taking this a step further? 






Circle's Use of Compositional Materials and “Tunes” 



Early in the band's history, written compositions were adopted, at least as boosters to spur improvisation, “almost from the beginning of the formalized band,” as Altschul notes. “Everybody started [composing] ― that was a lot of the rehearsals, getting people's concepts of their compositions down. I was the only one who didn't write, and they all encouraged me to write. I started writing after Circle. But they all encouraged me to write. Everybody was writing, always, from the beginning.” Corea adds: “We always [throughout our time playing together] occasionally used a written composition ― as in a series of notes and/or harmonies ― as a start point.” 



Soon, the band began to integrate more of a metric pulse into its improvisations, to complement the more rhythmically free music of the early sessions. At this point, compositions became useful to spark improvisation, as Corea recalls: “In our desire to have more form in terms of variety of melodies, variety of rhythm, and especially in the desire to have some music begin to groove again, we brought in the program some song forms. It was fun to approach these, at this point in the band's development, from the other direction ― coming from playing free-form music to music with a form. As you can hear, our approach to these songs was extremely loose.” 



Altschul clarifies: “In other words, when the tunes were written, it wasn't so much to adhere to a structure, to a form of a song. There was not a song form: it was improvised to the concept that this melody or rhythm conjures up.” Nonetheless, “we were very well rehearsed, we were very tight, and at the time, how we improvised just fit together in that style. It just was.” Even when an improvisation began with a conventionally organized tune, those structures could break apart from that pretty quickly. Elements of the tune's melodic or rhythmic structure remained in the minds of the players and would resurface, as Altschul comments: “If you listen to it real close, no matter how out everyone goes ― maybe they'll come in on the two instead of the one, or something like that ― the form is back there somewhere.” 



This freewheeling approach to tunes was witnessed by composer Neil Rolnick during one of the band's spring 1971 performances: 




I heard Circle at Jazz Workshop in Boston. The first night, I was so blown away that I came back for the next five nights or so and heard every set they played. What amazed me was the seamless integration of clearly rehearsed and worked-out heads with what seemed like completely free improvisation. They would play very angular, fast, well-coordinated tunes, then seem to drop off into outer space, and then ten or twenty minutes later (or so it seemed) drop back in for a recap of the head. It was just completely mysterious to me, and I loved it. 





The concept of “improvised to the concept that this melody or rhythm conjures up” articulated by Barry Altschul was also a feature of Miles Davis's Lost Quintet. The compositions would segue from one into the next when Miles played a snippet from the latter as a cue to move on. Some tunes began with a recognizable opening: the melody of “Sanctuary,” the bass and drums vamp of “Directions,” or the thematic motif of “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down.” “Bitches Brew” could begin with one of several of its elements described earlier: Chick Corea playing the repeated low Cs or Davis playing the “staircase” motif. Once a tune was under way, the ensemble could treat these materials freely, particularly during the final year of the band. The sonic events of “Bitches Brew” were the most malleable. Vamps such as the “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down” theme evolved over the months. Circle continued the notion that arose in Miles's band, that fragments of materials could be used playfully during improvisations. But as we shall see, it took the concept even further. 

メロディにせよリズムにせよそれがいつしか瓦解してしまう、そしてコンセプトだけが残る、そんなところまでインプロヴィゼーションをかけてしまう。」バリー・アルトシュルが説明するこの考え方は、マイルス・デイヴィスのロスト・クインテットの特徴でもあった。予め譜面に書き起こしたものが、次の段階へとゆっくり移ってゆくのは、マイルス・デイヴィスが他のメンバーが演奏しだしたその後で、小さなモチーフを「動き出せ」の合図として発信するときだ。楽曲によっては、一聴ですぐに分かる出だしのものもある。「Sanctuary」のメロディや「Directions」でベースとドラムがその場で紡ぎ出す伴奏、「Miles Runs the Voodoo Down」や「Bitches Brew」のメロディぽいモチーフ、こういったものは、既に発表された別の曲の中ででてきた「部品」の中から、曲の取っ掛かりとして選ばれることもあった。それは例えば、チック・コリアによる低音域のハ調のコードの繰り返しや、マイルス・デイヴィスによる「Staircase」のモチーフだったりする。こうした様々な素材を、バンドは、ある曲が始まると、自由に使い出す。特にこのバンドの最後の1年の頃は、顕著な現象だった。「Bitches Brew」では様々な音のやり取りが繰り広げられたが、最も柔順なものとなった。「Miles Runs the Voodoo Down」の主題に添えられた、伴奏チームの繰り出す様々な「ヴァンプ」は、何ヶ月にも亘る公演期間の間に、どんどん変化発展を遂げていった。マイルス・デイヴィスのバンドの中から生まれたこのやり方を、サークルは引き継いだ。様々な素材の断片は、インプロヴィゼーションの間遊び心満点に使い倒された。だが、聴いて分かる通り、コンセプトだけは、ずっと維持されたのである。 


Throughout their days on the jazz club and concert circuits, Circle's set list also included tunes drawn from the broader jazz repertoire. These were used more as instigators for improvisation than to provide formal structures for organizing those improvisations. The two main tunes of this kind are “Nefertiti” and “There's No Greater Love.” 

サークルの演目リストは、ジャズクラブや舞台での演奏の時代の間ずっと、膨大なジャズのレパートリーからの楽曲も含んでいた。こう言った楽曲の数々は、インプロヴィゼーションを更に煽り立てるために使用されることが多く、インプロヴィゼーションをキチンとした形にするべく、何かしら目に見えるような骨組みをもたらす、そんな役割を持つことは、あまりなかった。「煽り立てる」役割を担ったとされる主なところを、2つ挙げてみよう。「Nefertiti」と「There’s No Greater Love」である。 


“Nefertiti” was a regular piece in Circle's repertoire. First recorded by Corea and the trio on The Song of Singing, it is a Wayne Shorter composition from Miles Davis's 1967 album Nefertiti. The Marty Symes-Isham Jones standard “There's No Greater Love” was a favorite vehicle within the Circle repertory, showcasing how malleably the performance of a jazz standard could move between straight-ahead playing, free-ranging solos, and highly textural abstraction. It received highly extended treatments, from seventeen and a half minutes at the conclusion of the Paris Concert, to twenty-five minutes at Hamburg. A twenty-one-and-a-half-minute version at Iserlohn, Germany, from November 28, 1970, runs the gamut of possible ways this band could address a jazz standard, from remaining close to the chord changes, invoking them, ignoring them, and using the spirit of the tune as a departure for open improvisation. Corea, Braxton, and Holland deliver extended solos, followed by a saxophone and drums duet, each its own composition, yet serving as one portion of a larger, integrated whole. 

Nefertiti」は、サークルのレパートリーの中でも、良く演奏される曲である。まず、チック・コリアとトリオによって「The Song of Singing」に収録されたこの曲は、マイルス・デイヴィスの1967年のアルバム「Nefertiti」に収録されている、ウェイン・ショーターが作った楽曲である。マーティ・サイムズが作詞をし、アイシャム・ジョーンズが作曲をした「There’s No Greater Love」は、サークルのレパートリーの中でも人気の一品だ。ロックの影響を排除したジャズの演奏、自由に展開するソロ、高度な組み立て方をした抽象的な演奏表現、そういったものの中で、彼らがジャズのスタンダードを演奏すると、こんなにも柔軟かつ順応性満点にやれるんだ、ということを、まざまざと聞かせてくれる。この曲は完成度を高く保った状態で、長時間の演奏時間を費やした。パリ・コンサートでは締めくくりの曲として17分半、ハンブルクでは25分だった。ドイツのイーザーローンで11月28にから行われた公演では21分半。この時は、このバンドがジャズのスタンダードを演奏する際の、持ちネタをずらりと勢揃いさせた。コードを変化させる際に1オクターブの中に収めたままにする手法や、それを無視したり発動したり、元歌のエッセンスをオープンインプロヴィゼーションのきっかけに使ったり、と繰り出してゆく。チック・コリア、アンソニー・ブラクストン、それにデイヴ・ホランドが長いソロをきかせると、次はサックスとドラムのデュエットが続く。2つとも、それぞれが独立した楽曲であるのに、大きな全体のその中の一部としての役割をはたしているのだ。