…Seeingthingsblog: a blog by Ron Gill

Blog Update/13/2012

As promised, the information in this current post of the blog is a continuation of the 2010 Jazz Times, 40th Anniversary issue that discusses the major artists at that time; Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Christian McBride. Very interesting reading about Bitches Brew and the Miles Davis recording, the Herbie Hancock transformation to a new release at the time, Mwandishi, and a Christian McBride Before And After that reflects personally on his views at the time the interview took place.

Current issues are also commented on for your further discussion which is welcomed.


When I began writing my new blog a few months ago, rongill-sings.com, a friend of mine asked me why I intended to write it and why I would consider taking on such a task. The answer is two-fold. It’s a desire to share my thoughts with friends, family and associates about what I may be thinking, and to offer a discussion about various aspects in my life, on various subjects that I am confronted with in my travels and daily life.  Maybe, in addition, it’s a form of ego as well. Why would I think someone else is interested in reading my blog and what I was thinking about? True. That is the chance one takes, especially when it is a public blog for all to read. But, if you feel you have something to share, and to make  a contribution to a discussion you may have prompted in your writing, then that is the reason you are doing it.

There are those who may disagree with you on many aspects of your reasons for doing it. Many people regard your thoughts as private and even though they may read your blog, it is no way that they may make a contribution based on your comments in your blog. And, for those others, writing a blog is too much of a challenge and too much of a task.

As we write this addition we finished reading the May 10, 2012, Rolling Stone magazine article about the president’s interview on his campaign for the presidency.


Good insight about our current politics and the opposition. Read it for yourself and come to your own conclusion.

I promised to bring you up to date in past comments about my Jazz Times articles as I continued to read the 40th Anniversary Issue.

I am continuing to read them and three of the group were the articles on Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and a blindfold test by bassist, Christian McBride.

The focus of the articles are a reflection of what took place in the 70’s regarding the stellar players, Davis and Hancock. What has been pointed out in these articles is the direction that jazz is taking, with Bitches Brew, and Mwandishi, and especially how they relate to the music at the time and its development.

The Miles Davis article is especially interesting because those of us who were interested in the stages that Miles was going through at the time and his continuing  desire to find new ways to present the music he was creating can look to this Jazz Times Magazine and his 1970’s creation of Bitches Brew.

Overheard in the pressroom:

I say this as a President, and I say it as a father.  We must tell our children about a crime unique in human history.  The one and only Holocaust — six million innocent people — men, women, children, babies — sent to their deaths just for being different, just for being Jewish.  We tell them, our children, about the millions of Poles and Catholics and Roma and gay people and so many others who also must never be forgotten.  Let us tell our children not only how they died, but also how they lived — as fathers and mothers, and sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters who loved and hoped and dreamed, just like us.  (From a statement from his Holocuast Speech)
President Obama today announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, reversing his longstanding opposition amid growing pressure from the Democratic base and even his own vice president.

In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, the president described his thought process as an “evolution” that led him to this decision, based on conversations with his staff members, openly gay and lesbian service members, and his wife and daughters. (In an interview with Robin Roberts of ABC)

Romney made a single reference to gay marriage, a hot-button issue thrust into the news this week with Obama’s announcement that he supports letting same-sex couples wed.

“Culture — what you believe, what you value, how you live — matters,” Romney said. “As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate from time to time. So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage. Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.”

At that, the audience rose to its feet and gave Romney the loudest ovation of his speech. (From Romney’s commencement speech at Trinity College)

Jazz Times Review/2010

Forty Years Of Freedom 

Four decades after the release of Bitches Brew, Miles Davis, and alumni, John McLaughlin, Jack DeJohnette, and Dave Holland as major players was the group that Miles Davis put together that Tuesday, August 19, at 10:00 AM in the morning  at Columbia Records, Studio B in Manhattan. This event was to record what was to become Bitches Brew. In addition, there were the inclusion of additional musicians and instruments and it was clear that this was not a continuation of what was done previously, such as the recordings of Kind Of Blue and the arrangements of Gil Evans. This was new, and when Miles passed out the pieces of paper to the musicians  they contained mere sketches of the music with few chord changes, some basslines and minimalist melodic material. Davis was providing a starting point, a feel and lots of open space for his handpicked cast to fill.

The Jazz Times article remarks about a new Box Set commemorating Bitches Brew: The 40th Anniversary Collector Edition which contains CDs, DVD of a 1969 Copenhagen concert, an audio CD of a 1970 Tanglewood performance, a booklet and more memorabilia. This 2010 article outlines what took place on that historic recording date, the music that was played and recorded and the forward thinking of the master instrumentalist, Miles Davis.

The additional article that follows, Bitches Brood, adds additional insight by other musicians on how influential Bitches Brew had on their own playing and how much it influenced them. The 2010 Magazine article is worth reading because it lends  an insight of workings of a talented and masterful musician of his time, but it does not exclude the excellent and also talented musicians around him who were influenced by him and helped to create the jazz that moved the music forward.

Energy In The Environment recalls a 1970 release from a Herbie Hancock, Warner Brothers recording, Mwandishi, that failed to excite in its original release an adoring audience. But, according to this article forty years later, it has found new importance and influence. The article while commenting on the emergence of Herbie’s new approach to the music following his years with Miles Davis, it is an indication of how much he had been influenced by his musical development as well as the musicians he has used in his bands at the time.

Comments by contemporary keyboardist, Robert Glasper, “It lets you know you could knock down doors and do what you want to do, and incorporate other kinds of music.” “The music was very evolved”, agrees pianist, Geri Allen, who has played in recent years with some of the musicians who created Mwandishi. “Herbie was using very innovative ideas of composition and improvisation, laced together in a different way.” What is important in this article is how Hancock’s use and interest in electronics in his music and how the instruments, such as synthesizers and the Moog Synth were used in the development of the music he was creating, and the sound that was emerging from the use of these instruments and how it had an effect on his ability to move away from traditional jazz and into the realm of electronic-driven funk.

Final comments in the article is of importance to the advancement of jazz music. Herbie’s 70’s music, along with other music from that era, opened the doors for all jazz players and listeners to have the opportunity to embrace the changing tides of popular music and keep connected. He has the genius, taste and credibility to make it happen. It shows that the real work is being done when things can’t be defined yet, when all the infinite possibilities are still there.

Christian McBride is considered one of the most masterful musicians of his time. His innovative talent and experience as a bass player in jazz, and as this Before And After interview outlines, he is an astute and avid listener and musical historian, as well.

The interview took place at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.There are nine Before and After interviews that McBride listened to, either recorded or released in 1970. What emerges is a knowledgeable review of the recordings he listened to, from a list of varied major artists: McCoy Tyner, Lee Morgan, Tony Williams Lifetime, Charles Earland, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, Roy Haynes James Brown and Jimi Hendrix. His astute comments conveys how much he has obsorbed, how much he immersed himself in the music, even at a young age, and what he has learned from listening and involving himself in the music. If you’ve ever heard MBride play, there is no doubt how much of the music he has heard in all genres, and how deep he is as a player.

What I have tried to do with presenting these articles to you from the pages of Jazz Times  is to help you to understand that jazz continues to develop today with excellent players who are taking jazz to other territories and creating a melting pot of the music. I will be adding other stories on various genres of music as well as jazz.


The political climate has become extremly toxic with the current candidates.

Even though one of the candiadtes have been endorsed by their party, the other has yet to become the candidate of choice to win the nomination.

I find it interesting, however, about the accusations that are being made accusing the other on their human values. Surely, they have their differences, but the two have strong values that are commendable.

No doubt the events that have occured over the past few days and weeks will be one for the history books; from the the gay marriage statements made by the President, the results of the Travon Martin case that is being evaluated and discussed (even from this blog), the death of Whitney Houston, and other topical events too much to mention here.

These events will definately have an effect on the general public, before the year is out we will have MUCH to chew on and analyse.

To answer those who have written me I will take the time to read and evaluate what you have said and continue the discussions that you have introduced to me in my blog. I will respond in my next blog entry. Usually I will comment in a private email to you. That all depends on how the subject has been brought to my attention. I will point out, however, my comments in a controversial issue will be from my personal view, but I will repect the views based on the comments that are made.

Thank you for your comments. I continue to grow here with each entry so your comments  are welcome.








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