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."
Miles Davis Band, France, 1987
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."
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.
Adam's set-up with Miles, 1987
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.
Around The World ALBUM REVIEW
"I cant play like nobody else. Im just myself."
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 albums opener, In A Silent Way,
shimmers and pulsates, steadily building up to Intruders 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. Foleys 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 Laupers 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.
Around The World" is more than a historical document.
Its the sound of a legendary perfection. It is the sound of
Adam playing keys in Australia 1988
Miles Davis in Australia -
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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