Here is a teaser anecdote about Miles Davis- all the best stuff is after the break:
Q: What was wrong on that session where Miles walked out and said, "This is shit"?
AIRTO: The music just didn’t come out. Today I can analyze it a little better. I think there were too many musicians there playing where there wasn’t that much music to be played. The parts weren’t really fitting together and it was a very experimental kind of thing. Everybody was going, "Yeah, yeah, yeah," and then Teo Macero asked, "Hey Miles, how is it?" And Miles said, "It sounds like shit. I’m going home," and he left.
I got very hurt because I thought I didn’t make it. I put everything on me, of course, but about three days later, they called me again. On that first session, there had been another percussionist playing tablas, sitar and some other things, but when they called me again, I was the only one. There was just one bass and less people, and then it was nice. I didn’t even know how to think about those sessions because I didn’t understand the music at all.
Q: How do you play on something where you don’t understand the music?
AIRTO: You listen and you play. You just have to be careful that you don’t play too much. If you don’t feel, you don’t play. It is better not to play than play too much.
Q: When you were young, did you find that you were anxious and overplayed?
AIRTO: Many times bandleaders told me, "Hey, shut up," or something like that. So I had learned that, but not to the extent that I learned that with Miles Davis. Miles is the best for learning to play the right time, the right note, the right space and everything.
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