TWO BIGGIES WITH BIRTHS WORTH CELEBRATING
Bob Dylan turned 68 yesterday, and if he were still with us Miles Davis would be 83-years-old tomorrow. In many, many respects this pair represents two archetypal trajectories for musicians, their work offering myriad, ever-shifting lessons about life and how to shape it into notes. As such, we wanted to take a collective pause to savor a few morsels from their careers and offer our heartfelt thanks for what they've done for music as another calendar page drops away. Happy birthday, sirs. We are all of us better for what you two have wrought.
We begin with as haunting and alluring a composition as any in Miles' massive catalog, delivered on one of the premiere outlets for jazz in the 1960s.
For all his literary, cerebral prowess, sometimes Dylan is most potent in his unabashed love songs like this pleasantly rambling take on the Nashville Skyline standout.
Next, Davis with one of his best latter day sparring partners, simmering and swaying with the pointed restraint that marked much of his final work.
Not many people can say Bob Dylan wrote a song about them but unjustly imprisoned boxer but Rubin "Hurricane" Carter can. A fascinating piece of Dylanalia that you find out more about here.
In the wake of fellow Black innovators like Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix, the early '70s found Davis and his compatriots free and funky, as in this vintage clip.
It's always vaguely amazing how Dylan keeps coming back to his signature tunes with varied arrangements, unearthing fresh water below what would seem dry soil. Case in point, this fierce performance from the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
This Davis composition hovers in the collective unconscious like "Amazing Grace" or "Greensleeves," a bit of shared perfection that touches humans universally. Except maybe this one has a touch more swing.
To call Dylan's music "elemental" seems only, well, natural. Here's a mighty wind from his Bobness to conclude our shared birthday remembrance.
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