MILES DAVIS
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While working at Goodman´s Music store in Los Angeles, Adam was exposed to all the latest high-tech gear in the burgeoning field of MIDI. His expertise as a synth programmer and player landed him several studio gigs, eventually attracting the attention of Miles Davis, who was intrigued by the whole MIDI revolution.

"Working at the music store gave me certain tools that he was interested in," says Adam. "If I had ended up spending time learning how to play bebop licks, he wouldn´t have hired me. But I had skills that he needed at the time and I guess I had enough musical sensibility that he figured he could maybe mold me into what he wanted, which to a certain extent I guess he did."



Adam says his first tour with Miles in 1985 significantly altered his whole musical concept. "All of a sudden I had a much better idea of how to squeeze a lot more out of a melody, to get rid of a lot extra clutter in the music and space the notes out more. It´s kind of the cliche about working with Miles, but it really is true. And when you work with somebody like that night after night it affects you much more strongly than when you´re just checking out his albums and kind of vibing on it in general sense."

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Miles Davis Band, France, 1987

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Adam's set-up with Miles, 1987


Adam appeared on Miles´ Grammy Award-Winning album, Tutu, and over the course of four years, performed with the trumpet legend in more than 200 concerts worldwide. In 1988, Adam had the distinguished honor to have Miles appoint him musical director for the band.







Ten years later, in 1998, Adam served as co-producer for LiveAround The World (Warner Bros.) which documents various gigs with the late ´80s Miles Davis Band that featured himself on keyboards, Ricky Wellman on drums, Kenny Garrett on saxes, Benny Reitveld on bass and Foley on lead bass.


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Live Around The World ALBUM REVIEW

"I can’t play like nobody else. I’m just myself."

Miles Davis


Intense, mysterious and utterly magnificent, the late Miles Davis was one of the legends of jazz, a genius who re-wrote the genre time and time again in his pursuit of an elusive Holy Grail. Recorded between 1988 and 1990, "LiveAround The World" shows a legend taking hold of the divine. The results are unforgettable.

The smokey fragility of the album’s opener, In A Silent Way, shimmers and pulsates, steadily building up to Intruder’s scintillatingly percussive vibe. Davis is never anything less than superb – and when it comes to his band, only the best will do.

Alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett spirals through Davis’ funky whirlwind of sound on Wrinkle. Foley’s lead bass revamps its traditional role on the spaciously played New Blues. The textured dual keyboards of Adam Holzman and a very young Joey DeFrancesco propel a cover of the Michael Jackson hit, "Human Nature," as it moves from a lush pop sensibility to a free-wheeling jam that results in Davis’ trumpet veering off into the stratosphere.

Ever in pursuit of beauty, Davis – who composed more than his fair share of standards – also sought new ones out. Here, he revels in the melodic balladry of Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time, infusing it with his own poetic spirit, his trumpet floating above the melody with the indefinable grace that was his gift. The album closes, suitably, with an original that resonates with an other-worldly poignancy: the bittersweet beauty of Hannibal, taken from Davis’ last live performance.

"Live Around The World" is more than a historical document. It’s the sound of a legendary perfection. It is the sound of Miles Davis.


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Adam playing keys in Australia 1988


Miles Davis in Australia - 1988 tour
Review of Miles Davis' Melbourne concert Sunday 5-1-88
by Adrian Jackson

Miles Davis held his trumpet aloft and a thoroughly satisfied crowd cheered wildly. That was at the start of the concert.

It was a night when the fans had come to pay homage to their idol , many of them content to say that they had been able to see and hear him in person . If he actually played anything that justified his reputation as a musical genius , that would be a bonus . And that is just what he delivered, two and a half hours of what was surely  some of the most exciting , involving music likely to be heard at the Concert Hall.

T he music was highly organized but also contained a fair amount of spontaneity . There was plenty of of interplay between the musicians and they all had their turn in the spotlight and plenty of room to move within the ensemble. But at every stage Davis was in complete control. Even when was soloing, he was conducting with short signals with his keyboard or trumpet, urging his sidemen ot stretch out, leading the way for the group to build on the soloists ideas .

The bass guitarist Benny Reitveld , drummer Vincent Wellman and the brilliant percussionist Marilyn Mazur laid down all manner of funk grooves with great vigour and expertise.  Adam Holzman and Robert Irving the third had little solo space on keyboards but made an important contribution in fleshing out the the sound, often to orchestral size.

Apart from the leader the main soloists were Foley on four string guitar and Kenny Garrett on Alto sax and flute. Foley offered some dramatic forays , occasionally going over the top, but often revealing a firm sense of purpose. Garrett's alto solo's were appropriate to the setting, simple, fervent workout, in the R&B bag rather than following the busy bebop course that we might have expected from a recent Art Blakey sideman.

But of course it was Miles Davis we all wanted to hear and he was never out of the spotlight for long. He played plenty of trumpet, allowing us to savour that piercing tone , that rare melodic sense and that peerless capacity for profound understatement. On the faster pieces, Davis played with real fire, milking the excitement of the funk groves as astutely as he ever rode a groove back in the 50s.

And on tunes like " Time After Time " he showed that, whether his trumpet was muted or open, he could still play a ballad as delicately and captivatingly as ever. The music Miles played on the night was , as expected, an accessible brew that owed as much to pop attitudes as to the  jazz tradition. There was only one pieces from his latest LP "Siesta" , but plenty of hook laden themes form the LP's " Tutu " and "You're Under Arrest" as well as some newer material. The music was rhythmically powerful and sophisticated , but relatively thin in terms of harmony (and at times melody).

This was never a problem when Miles was soloing., but was very evident during some of the other solos.

Still it is hard to imagine any fan other than the most blinkered nostalgist coming away disappointed. I mean Miles even spoke to the audience: not often and barely audibly, but it was more than he's been known to offer anywhere else. Who could ask for anything more?

 



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