Musicophilia Daily

[Audio] – Miles Davis – “He Loved Him Madly” (1974)

Posted in Audio by Soundslike on May 13, 2009

Miles Davis – “He Loved Him Madly” (1974)

Don’t miss this one. This is deep, intense listening, and it won’t grab you if you don’t have the attention (and about half an hour) to devote.  But I promise, it rewards the effort.  This is beyond the cosmic-exploration of the Germans we love; this is an exploration of the infinite spirit, the depths of mourning, the heights of love.  It is minimal, subtle, undulating, meditative, careful, above all beautiful.  Anyone who questioned Davis’ motives for “abandoning jazz” and going fusion couldn’t have maintained that incredulity if their ears were open to the sheer expressiveness of this music.  This wasn’t booty-funk, this wasn’t stoner-rock, though its elements are guitar, flute, drum kit, keyboards, electric bass, and echo effects: this is simply, utterly human music.  Give it the time, give it your ears, and it will build itself slowly through you.  [The glory of “Judas” Miles Davis is featured here, here and here at Musicophilia.]


7 Responses

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  1. alex said, on May 18, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    phantastic stuff, very spiritual, almost sounding like meditation music. in a blindtest i’d never have guessed that it was miles davis. is there any trumpet on this? i only heard the first ten minutes…

    • Soundslike said, on May 18, 2009 at 6:12 pm

      He does eventually come in with trumpet, yes. Spiritual is the word, even to an atheist like myself. If you like this track–are you familiar with ‘In A Silent Way’? I think there’d be a lot of Davis you’d like from ~1967-1975, if you like this track.

      • alex said, on May 19, 2009 at 2:49 pm

        i have got a lot of his albums from that period here, not sure about how in a silent way was anymore but bitches brew, live-evil and on the corner cover totally different ground than this track. i think the first one i bought was live-evil about 20-25 years ago and i hated it. it is a complete mess. jazz/prog hell. a template for how not to make music with amplified instruments. keith jarrett who played keyboards with chick corea and zawinul(?) on it didn’t like it neither. this track has got a totally different almost ambient feel. eno loved it which doesn’t surprise. but you are absolutely right i should relisten to all those records. on the corner was quite interesting if i remember well. this track sounds like a loophole from jazz rock/fusion. which is a good thing in my book as jazz rock was over in 1974/75. weirdly enough after that album miles made a long pause. there is something very dark and oppressive in this piece especially in the beginning when the bass and the organ dominate. apparently it was a dirge for duke ellington who had died just before.

  2. Soundslike said, on May 24, 2009 at 12:29 am

    I’ll be curious to hear if things hit you differently on re-appraisal, Alex. Silent way is probably the closest in feel to this track, as I remember it. As for Live-Evil–well, it’s not my fave, and I can definitely imagine such a place as jazz/prog hell, but I don’t find it on that album, or anything of Miles’. It becomes chaotic in a way I used to feel was “musicians ignoring each other,” which definitely happens, but he was bringing in such top-flight musicians I think they were largely able to create artful chaos, when it becomes chaotic. That Miles album definitely does seem like his last hurrah, and a surprise to be so good-and-sometimes-great, so late. “Rated X” is a mindbomb, if you haven’t heard that track, from the same album. The homage/dirge definitely comes through on “He Loved Him Madly,” it is beautiful.

  3. alex said, on May 26, 2009 at 10:36 am

    i didn’t get very far with relistening to miles davis jazz-rock albums. there is one thing about jazz-rock and especially about miles davis variation of it – he oftwen has three keyboarders and several drummers in the band – that makes it difficult for me to appreciate the music. it is all too overwhelming – in german we say it “slays me”, the music, the rhythms, the speed are often too much for me to absorb.

    i don’t like “rated x”, the piece you mention at all for a slightly different reason. the way miles plays the organ – which i don’t really like as an instrument anyway – is very similar to how it is played in church after the service. it has this megalomaniac, aggressive sound which i hate. the whole piece to me seems extremely repetitive, it is missing ideas, it doesn’t breathe. the wah-wah effect of the guitar is repeated ad infinitum. really not my cup of tea. i listened to something from “live-evil” and i was surprised as i liked it. it was “funky tonk”. apparently i prefer miles davis on trumpet and i can pay attention to jazz-rock only for a limited amount of time per day. after a while it really goes on my nerves, it starts grating. and i just want something more silent, less dynamic. like “he loved him madly” for example.

  4. […] Band, King Sunny Ade, Magazine, Maximum Joy, A Certain Ratio, Tony Allen or Fela Kuti, ET Mensah, fusion-era Miles Davis; 70s soundtrack work by Alain Goraguer or Roy Budd; or the funkier side of 70s sound library […]

  5. Ben said, on April 21, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Thanks for putting this up on the internet. I have an original vinyl copy (2 LP set) of this and it’s been a favorite of mine for over 3 decades. Yes, there’s trumpet on it . . . echoplexed and subtle, but you have to wait 16:00 or so to hear it! After the long organ intro, at around 13:00+ in, a slow groove develops and more or less lasts for about 15 or 20 minutes. Then, at the end, it returns to the same feel as the beginning. That middle section is fabulous!

    The rest of the album (it’s been remastered on CD) is very different . . . funky and guitar driven. All the Miles Davis albums from this electric period, in fact, are very different from each other, and individual tracks on any given album (which typically take up an entire side of an LP) are different from each other. Spend the time to listen to as many as you can get hold of. Some you’ll like, some you won’t. But it’s worth the effort to sift through the sand to find those gems.

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