What did Miles Davis have that no other musician, before or since, has ever possessed?
By Michael Moriarty
Here is a most embarrassing revelation for Youtube!
This entry, is billed as Miles Davis!
It is actually Hannibal Marvin Peterson on trumpet.
It is not Miles Davis!
What is so revealing about this mistake is that the performance you hear is most impressively that of a virtuoso and the creation of pure, technical brilliance!
The exact opposite of what Miles Davis always was!
He never had the so-called “chops” of a virtuoso.
Besides, he made so many mistakes or, as is said, executed so many “clams” so often, that his increasing legend as an artist and the still-growing size of his audience seems bewildering.
He had what Marlon Brando had.
A mysterious genius that no has ever been able to articulate. I’m attempting to, only because the challenge still sits there!
What is the unidentifiable mystery of both Miles Davis and Marlon Brando?
Genius, of course, but that is not specific enough.
What is it that keeps them both a “Mystery”?
An almost unbearable loneliness and isolation.
Both Brando and Davis never apologized about their rebellious pilgrimages down a path that might well have branded them as insane, except for the atomic power within both of their talents.
I still don’t know specifically what it is inside the Miles Davis sound that so captures and mesmerizes me, or what about Marlon Brando’s soul that leaves me so defenseless; and leaves both of us, Marlon Brando and I, drowning in loneliness.
Here is the essence of Davis at, yes, his most shamelessly “Davisian”!
The melody, It Never Entered My Mind, is one of the most powerfully “blue” ever created, yet, without any blues structure to it!
However, with the Miles Davis commitment to never, ever adding a vibrato to his tone?!?! And we know his certainty that he would never add what he might very well have considered a “white” thing: the undeniable “romanticism” of a vibrato!
No, Davis created musically the same quiet anger that Brando had also lived in!!!
Listen to Brando and Leonard Bernstein’s unsurpassably moving melody behind this scene.
All done in almost a whisper!
The quiet rage and remorse beneath both Davis and Brando!
It’s a universal feeling that most of us are taught to conceal.
When we hear it, however, I, at least, begin to tear up!
The unknowable price for being so polite all of our lives!
Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in the landmark television series Law and Order from 1990 to 1994. His recent film and TV credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, 12 Hours to Live, Santa Baby and Deadly Skies. Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@MGMoriarty.