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Music prints (from 2010)

11th April 2019

Trial images of Keith and Stevie prepared on Photoshop for giclée print.

As soon as I started out on the Stevie image, immediately the songs all come flooding back; more than you can count, almost.
His career has been so long and probably more consistent than anybody’s, including Bing Crosby. There was a time in the early 70s when his true creative colours started to unfurl. Not only could he sing, but his voice became a unique and fantastic instrument that added colour and confidence to the array of instruments, notably synths that he could commandeer with aplomb. His powers started to magnify the more they came into focus. I remember reading a Jeff Beck interview in the Summer of ’72 after the sleeveless axeman returned from a stint of playing sessions with Stevie in America for Talking Book, his fifteenth (!) album. “Unbelievable, music just pours out of his arse…” Apparently Jeff got Superstition given to him by a grateful Stevie, a song hewn from such a thunderous and compelling riff that he used it to get an instant contract renewal at Tamla, his label since the middle ages.

He still sings as though his life depends on it. Whatever instruments he may master, however many musicians will litter the stage or contribute to his output, there is still the undeniable, lucid perfection of the master’s voice.

In the first stirrings of electric jazz according to Miles, Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea sit well together in the Davis band with the ecstatic rhythm machine of Jack de Johnette and Dave Holland (with Airto Moreira, on esoteric percussion woodwork, with the easiest job in jazz I used to think, unkindly) and the modest and melodious Gary Bartz is his sax player of that far-off time.

They all radiate confidence and concentration  on the film of the concert and bask in the rays of a warm day (and the occasional baleful Miles glare) in 1970 at the Isle of Wight playing to a square mile of rock fans, sprinkling some avant-garde dust in the warm breeze, probably not knowing that history would regard this miraculous moment so highly. but certainly in the knowledge they were creating important, exultant and necessary music. It’s fantastic alchemy.

I called it In A Solent Way.