Nick Falivena

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Member Since: 7/23/2004
Total Mixes: 49
Total Feedback: 311
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Miles v. Monk

Artist Song Buy
Miles Davis  Well, You Needn't (Steamin' 1956)  buy on itunes
Thelonious Monk  Well, You Needn't (Genius Vol.1 1947)  buy on itunes
Miles Davis  Straight, No Chaser (Milestones 1958)  buy on itunes
Thelonious Monk  Straight, No Chaser (Genius Vol. 2 1951)  buy on itunes
Miles Davis  Bags Groove take 2 (Bags Groove 1954)  buy on itunes
Miles Davis  Round Midnight (Round About Midnight 1955)  buy on itunes
Thelonious Monk  Round Midnight (Genius Vol.1 1947)  buy on itunes
Miles Davis  Round Midnight (Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants 1954)  buy on itunes
Thelonious Monk  Well, You Needn't (Live at the It Club 1964)  buy on itunes
Miles Davis  Well, You Needn't (Saturday Night at the Blackhawk 1961)  buy on itunes

Comment:

Since I've already infuriated the Miles loyalists, might as well bring up another sticking point for me and this titan of 20th century music. He played Monk's songs wrong. Admittedly, Miles didn't play a lot of Monk's songs, and Bags Groovs is a Milt Jackson tune, but I included it because it puts Miles and Monk in the studio together. As does the version of Round Midnight from ...and the Modern Jazz Giants. Simply put, these 2 did not get along. Miles did not want Monk playing behind his solos. I wouldn't care about this at all except that more people are probably familiar with Miles playing the tunes, in his cool swinging way than with Monk playing them with their rhythmic structure intact. Miles once said of Monk: Look at the way he writes. You can tell he's all screwed up inside. That is a fine opinion to have, but then why record the music? Why not pick something else? Or write your own tune? This is an admittedly tiny complaint, Miles almost never recorded or played Monk tunes, except Round Midnight, which isn't exactly a Monk tune anyway. But a complaint that I feel has signifigance, especially if it contributes to versions of Monk tunes that think nothing of glossing over the rhythm that Monk wrote. Have you ever heard a blues or funk band play Brubeck's 'Take Five?' They do play the notes of the melody that make it recognizable as Take Five, but the bass and drums play the same 4/4 shuffle that they play behind everything. Is this song Take Five? That example is a bit extreme, but the concepts are the same, it is just an issue of magnitude. And actually, I am willing to concede that I like Miles's Round Midnights better than Monk's. That's the problem with what I'm trying to say, it doesn't seem to leave room for anyone but the composer to interpret their material. This is not my point, my point is that if you don't like the songs someone writes, why play them?

Feedback:

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Orchid
Date: 3/17/2005
Interesting questions to ponder. Why anyone would bother playing compositions they don't like is totally unbeknowneth to me. Unless Miles was lying and was really so jealous of Monk he couldn't stand to be in the same studio with him. Perhaps Miles thought the only way to top Monk was by improving his already magnificent compositions. To me this is a plusible explanation for the exciting soap opera plot you described... because Monk is better than Miles and everyone knows it.
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lostinthejazzmix
Date: 3/17/2005
I've never read that Miles didn't like Monk's music. Quite the contrary: "I love the way Monk plays and writes," Miles told Nat Hentoff, "I just can't stand him behind me. He just doesn't give me any support." Saying that Monk was "all screwed up inside" (if that's a direct quote) doesn't also mean that Miles didn't like Monk's music, either. Miles said A LOT of inflammatory things in his day, but he was smart, wise to the history of music, and knew good, inventive music when he heard it, so I think I'll take his comments to Hentoff more at face value than your interpretation of "all screwed up inside" as meaning Miles didn't like Monk's music. // As for your stuff about interpreting Monk's music . let's see if I can discern what you're saying. Are you suggesting Miles' interpretation of a few Monk tunes has perpetuated subsequent miss-readings or miss-handlings of Monk's music? And then are you suggesting this was all born out of spite and a dislike for Monk on the part of Miles?!?! Monk was Miles' teacher for a spell! One bad, Christmas Eve recording session does not a blanket dislike make. Not liking the way someone comps behind you isn't the same as not like their music. // People misinterpret (or, more accurately, re-interpret) Monk in more conventional ways because Monk was idiosyncratic and went against the grain (he was a difficult listen to the ears of many). It only makes sense that people would smooth the edges out a little. The history of popular music is about folks sugar-coating hard to swallow pills. Besides, Monk is Monk, and is unique because he employed a style and technique all his own. While I agree it'd perhaps be nice to see more loyal interpreters, I also like to hear people take music in directions it hasn't gone before, even if that direction is away from the unique qualities of the source. If I want the genius that is T.S. Monk (the elder), I'll go to the source nine times out of ten, anyway!
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Rob Conroy
Date: 3/18/2005
I think this is interesting, for sure, and well-executed. I would say that Miles was probably jealous of Monk, especially since Monk's prime (when he was really doing stunningly genius stuff) pre-dated Miles' coming into his own (with the help of Coltrane, Bill Evans & Gil Evans, notably). As for Orchid's statement that "Monk is better than Miles and everyone knows it", though, I'm not ready to back that up, for reasons that lostinthejazzmix elucidated on your Clifford Brown mix.
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G-Sphere
Date: 3/18/2005
Miles was a complicated cat and I loved reading his autobiography. Interesting discussion here.
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lostinthejazzmix
Date: 3/18/2005
What basis is there for saying Miles was "probably jealous" of Miles Davis? At the time of the infamous 1954 recording session that Nick mention and I mention, Miles was getting much more recognition; Monk's star, by contrast, was on the decline (although Monk's would shine again later on). If we're gonna insinuate "jealousy" (without any facts to back this up), it makes more sense to suggest Monk, banned from playing for so many years, was jealous of Miles and not the other way around. But that's moot, as I think it specious to suggest "jealousy" without proof. And a statement like "Monk is better than Miles and everyone knows it" is just silly. What does "better" mean? Compositionally? Technically? I'd say BOTH Monk and Davis had lasting impact on the history of jazz, for many and different reasons. I would not say one is lesser than the other, and certainly not "everyone knows" the case to be otherwise.
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lostinthejazzmix
Date: 3/18/2005
Oops, that should read ... "probably jealous of Thelonious Monk." Tis early here. ; )
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Rob Conroy
Date: 3/18/2005
Whatever, man. You really need to relax when someone's opinions differ from yours. I need "proof" to back up a gut-level instinct about one of the most petty (I'm assuming you've read his autobiography) jazz musicians of all-time? Is Miles--who, to me, is the most important figure in jazz and potentially the most important musical figure of the 20th century--the father of your first child or something? Just because I haven't made it a point to exclusively and ostentatiously submit jazz mixes to this site, you seem to imply through your demand of "proof" that I lack the requisite knowledge to discuss it (my jazz collection and years of listening say otherwise). To the extent that I have to defend my opinion (which seems to be a theme with you), consider this: why *shouldn't* Miles have been a bit jealous of Monk at that time? In 1954, Miles' star may have been on the rise, but he hadn't (at that point in his career) written anything as enduring as "Well, You Needn't", "Blue Monk", "'Round Midnight" (which, coincidentally, became one of Miles' early landmark recordings, even if its authorship is disputed to a degree), etc. Instead, he had Birth of the Cool under his belt and time with Charlie Parker; while those are no small achievements, I think it's at least arguable that they are not as lasting as Monk's pre-1954 compositional output. As much as Miles enjoyed his money and commercial recognition, I think it's fair to assume that he valued artistic expression more. As a result, it is fair to speculate (again, at that point in his career--notice I'm not claiming that he didn't change the fabric of American music on several occasions after this) that Miles felt a twinge of jealousy at Monk's authorship of such songs and having developed such a distinctive style (which Miles was still refining as of 1954) and therefore wanted to dismiss it as being "all screwed up." Monk's lack of a cabaret card (stemming from his & Bud Powell's little run-in with the NYC police--wow, *I* know about that, too) had absolutely nothing to do with the level of artistry evidenced in his recordings prior to 1954. As "specious" (lovely word choice) as my statement may sound, you should at least grant its logic. By the way, as neither of us actually knew Miles, I don't think there's a "right" or "wrong" answer here, and the whole point of music discussion is to exchange opinions, not to shout down the opposition with such supercilious words as "specious." Enjoy your soapbox, because I won't be having another discussion with you again, let alone continue with this one.
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Nick Falivena
Date: 3/18/2005
I feel bad for bringing this up. It really is subsidiary to Miles' whole legacy. I had to scour the 50s Davis stuff to even come up with a cd of him playing Monk, and he left Monk tunes alone as time went on, having great writers in his band contribute alongside his own ideas. I think I'll make a mix focusing on Miles's relationship with Teo Macero in an effort to re-focus our energies. Macero is far more significant to the shape and sound of Miles's career and is more worthy of extensive debate.
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Media Vixen: Radio Sally
Date: 3/18/2005
This mix, these notes, and this discussion are what makes AotM such a great thing!
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lostinthejazzmix
Date: 3/18/2005
Face it, Rob, you don't know what you're talking about. You're talking out your ass. You're a little child and I've seen you prove it here and elsewhere enough to see it's a pattern. Go back to submitting single-artist mixes and booting people from the Splitters because of "petty" disagreements (and you thought Miles was "petty," folks!) Go back to letting your "gut" and your "instincts" be your guides rather than having facts and knowledge in hand to defend your positions/hunches/conspiracy theories (you're as bad as your nemesis, Mr. Bush!). Go off and pout, kid, as you seem very good at it. I was merely having a musical disagreement -- something you take issue with, it seems. (I don't see where I was "shouting down opposition"?!?! Arguing with purpose against a position is NOT the samew thing.) Wow, talk about knee-jerk defensiveness. I disagreed with Nick (and you, and Orchid), I didn't want to run him over with a truck. You, on the other hand .. (Oh, and before you respond, taking issue with this "threat," I was joking. Get it?!)
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g.a.b. l@bs
Date: 3/18/2005
Hey Edward...be r-e-a-l careful not to piss Convoid off...he might throw you out of Splitters again, ;~]. Oh...oh right...I forgot, I forgot -- they unceremoniously stripped him of those privileges, didn't they?

You'll be lucky enough to have him keep his word that he's not having another discussion with you again; matter o' fact, I'd get that on an affidavit.
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Rob Conroy
Date: 3/18/2005
You're pathetic, rant-boy. All I'm getting from you is a boatload of pretension and pissy little sniping when someone dares to have an opinion in the jazz field that's any different from your own. When you submit any more factual backing than I have (which, admittedly, is very little on my end, as well) for your position on the Miles v. Monk thing, please let me know. In the meantime, please continue to shove your head further into your own ass, as it seems to be comfortable there from years of habitation. I'd rather talk out of my ass than live there. ;-)
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lostinthejazzmix
Date: 3/18/2005
The burden of proof is on you, lawyer man. I provided testimony from the man himself that refutes your little hunch. What have you got?! A whole lot of nuttin' and invented second-guessing. I feel pretty secure in my position, thanks.
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Nick Falivena
Date: 3/18/2005
You guys crack me up. Let's refucus on facts. Here's an error I made: The "Listen to what he writes..you can tell he's all screwed up inside" is Miles talking about Ornette, not Monk. The Miles quote I wanted is something like, "Monk writes such pretty songs and then screws them up" or 'makes them ugly' or something like that. Sorry I can't be more specific, all my books are in boxes. I suspect this may be mentioned in John Szwed's Miles, which might be the best bio of Miles I've read. Not that I'm suggesting it takes the place of the autobiography, just that it's the most even and balanced. Something we could all try to be al bit more of. Even and Balanced that is. Just like Fox News and their policy of Fair and Balanced reporting :)
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Rob Conroy
Date: 3/18/2005
Well then, I happily stand corrected (since that "all screwed up" remark was the basis from which I was proceeding).
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lostinthejazzmix
Date: 3/18/2005
I even hinted ("If that's a direct quote") I was dubious of the quote. I thought you said you went to j-school, Rob. Didn't they teach you anything about taking things at face value and relying on more than one source (not to mention one from an admittedly uncertain quoter). Sorry, don't mean to kick you when you're down (and with egg on your face, too!), but I find you a hypocrite, someone who takes people to task for having contrary opinions ... only to rag on them twice as hard when you feel you've been slighted. Your dismissive "whatever man" and "need to relax" speak of someone who, from the outset, can't handle criticism and disagreement. That stuff is childspeak, buddy! Your battle with Valis (and me, although I was then prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt - not any more!) also shows you're impetuous, petulant and spiteful. Don't for a minute think folks believe you when you said you "accidentally" (or whatever your lame excuse was) booted us from the Splitters. You've got issues, man, and I suggest you resolve them in private vs. here for all to see. Glad you "happily stand corrected". An apology would be nice, too, but I reckon it'd be a cold day in hell before that came to pass.
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Nick Marcopolis
Date: 3/18/2005
Edward, I feel I must correct you:
Robbie Rentboy doesn't merely have Issues...he's has the entire freakin' Subscription!
:D
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Rob Conroy
Date: 3/18/2005
Egg on my face? Really? I, unlike you, did not claim to have the definitive interpretation of the whole thing. Maybe you need to read my comments a little more closely. I said that it was possible that Miles was jealous of Monk (the word "probably", particularly when taken in conjunction with Nick's quote, certainly doesn't mean "definitely" or imply any weight/authority to my statement). "Issues"? You're the one who started foaming at the mouth after my initial comment, which wasn't directed at you at all (I probably, at that point, hadn't even read what you'd written, as I was responding to Nick and to Orchid) and even quoted your discussion on Nick's other mix approvingly. So, an apology? Not likely.
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Rob Conroy
Date: 3/18/2005
On second thought, I'll grant you this much: perhaps I was out of line with the "whatever, man..." portion of my response because I may have interpreted your initial reaction to the "jealousy" comment as being more hostile than it was. In which case, the "soapbox" comment was also out of line. I apologize for those portions of my comments. The "head up your ass" thing may have been a bit harsh, as well, especially since I like most of your mixes, although I'm not sure that it was based upon the crap you were slinging about me right before I made the comment.
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lostinthejazzmix
Date: 3/18/2005
Please, Rob, cite where I was "foaming at the mouth" in response to your first entry? See, this is what I mean: your delusional, leaping interpretations of innocent disagreement get bloated into hyperbole, which make you look like a complete ass. Now are we in for more of the famous Conroy back-peddle and hair-splitting when against the ropes? You "probably" hadn't read my post (the one AFTER Orchid's) - what's that?! Either you did or you didn't, Rob. But never mind that. Let's go back to your due diligence on the quote in the first place? Hmmm, there wasn't any? Ah, that's right. (At least I can say that I opened a book to pull out the quote I used. What was your source of reference?) And the quote itself? Even if it WAS about Monk, it alone could not be interpreted as Miles being jealous of Monk's compositional achievements. Miles was critical of Monk's STYLE, not Monk As Composer. Why read or insinuate more into it than that (if you don't know what you're talking about)?! // I have never claimed a "definitive interpretation" (again, show me where I said THAT - you just make shit up, he says, "foaming at the mouth"!). All I said was your assumption re: Miles being jealous of Monk was founded on absolutely nothing but an incorrect quote and your gut (and your inclination toward conspiracy theories, it seems) - hardly very accurate sources, I think we can all now agree.
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lostinthejazzmix
Date: 3/18/2005
On second thought, thanks for that, Rob. Must have been hard. Geez.
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Curtis_Burns
Date: 3/20/2005
Hmm, not unlistenable at all. Illustrative of Monk's talent for indelible melodies I'd say. Not every interpeter is going to have, say, Steve Lacy's pitch perfect ear for the silences in Monks compositions, but it's tough to get away from those melodies.Wow, just ready the wonderfully knotty, Monkish feedback. Keep making mixes and comments that brings out the passion Nick.
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James Jackson
Date: 3/24/2005
Do you suppose this mix would be a good soundtrack to all these goings on? Looks...er, provocative!
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valis
Date: 6/6/2005
Jeebus the ASS got roasted here, eh..?
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musicgnome
Date: 7/12/2005
Wow!

Just happened upon this mix and the commentary.

I, for one, would like to say. I think everyone is right. I, on the other hand, have no response (it's a safer play)
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Nick Falivena
Date: 7/13/2005
I just realized, you all missed the soft lob....Monk doesn't play on that 'Round Midnight from ...and the Modern Jazz Giants..it's Red Garland. Monk plays on the Swing Springs, The Man I Love and Bemsha Swing.
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blasikin
Date: 12/1/2005
Wow, It looks like I missed some of AOTM's more contentious days. Definitely a mix I'd love to hear some day to get "schooled" myself. I happen to like Thelonious better, but just because he has a cooler name. ( : No, they're both great, I just jive better with Monk.

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