March 23, 2012

Robben Ford Cuts Loose on Jean Pierre with Miles Davis Montreux 86

Wow. The master!

George Cole, author of The Last Miles: The Music of Miles Davis, 1980-1991, considers this a standout track from Davis' last decade (he died in 1991). Writes Cole: "'Jean-Pierre' has a child-like melody and became Miles's signature tune. The funny thing is, no one agrees on the origin of the tune! Whatever, it was a tune Miles would close almost every show with for years." (For more on Miles Davis,read our interview with George Cole.)

MILES DAVIS: Al can't play with drum machine. He's playing on the first cut [One Phone Call] and he's playin' on "Time After Time"; we had drum machine on that too. And he's playin' on "Jean Pierre" at the end. You got to hear the end, Gene. What we did on the end is we made something like a little statement. Somebody, my daughter or my wife, gave me a music box for Christmas. It plays "My Funny Valentine" on celeste, you know? So I had Bobby just play "Jean Pierre" with the changes on celeste. You hear three bells while I'm playin'. We play the "You're Under Arrest" tune at the end [next to last tune on the second side]. It goes right into "Jean Pierre." You hear da-da¦da-da¦dom¦dom¦dom. I had the band overlap what they just got through playin' over "Jean Pierre." It's actually two tunes. All of a sudden you hear chimes. You also hear the kids gettin' out of school at 3 o'clock. You follow me? Then you hear a countdown, "Five, four, three" - "Jean Pierre" is goin' on - "two, one." Then you hear a big atomic-bomb explosion, and all the kids are screamin'. Then at the end we say, "Somebody pushed the wrong button!" George [Butler, Columbia Records vice president] told me you can't listen to that but once. It's like a political statement. It might happen!
JAZZ: And "Jean Pierre" is a tune that's obviously very important to you. [One of Davis' sons is named Jean Pierre.]
MILES DAVIS: You know, it's for kids. The melody is French. But that's the end of the record. I named it "Jean Pierre Then There Were None," you know, because of the big explosion. You'll like it. It's a nice album.
JAZZ: And that's the end of the record. It leaves you thinking.
MILES DAVIS: Yeah. It's just as strong to me as "We Are The World."

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