Bass player Marcus Miller said it best: ‘It is amazing that Miles passed away 20 years ago. Nobody of us realized that it happened so many years ago. But Miles lives on in us, in all who worked with him and were influenced by him’.
Thousands of Turkish and foreign jazz lovers at the Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theater in Istanbul applauded last night for Miller’s words. He took the initiative to create a series of just nine concerts titled “Tribute to Miles” with a unique quintet comprised of American jazz legends like Herbie Hancock (71) on piano and Wayne Shorter (77) on saxophone, plus Sean Jones on trumpet and Sean Rickman on drums. Miller himself on bass and bass clarinet.
Istanbul was chosen as the venue for the world premiere of this Tribute. “It is particularly challenging to do a tribute to a man who never looked back,” Miller quoted Herie Hancock.
They played for a full house and for a very enthusiastic public. The American quintet performed several of Miles Davis’ masterpieces, which are regarded as part of the jazz canon.
The concert at the Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theater started at 9 p.m. and ended at 11:15 pm with an extra song “Time After Time” (1984) by American singer Cyndi Lauper. The ballad is considered a classic of the 1980s and is known for its numerous covers by a wide range of artists, including an instrumental version by Miles Davis.
I could feel the passion of the musicians for Miles’ legacy and the respect and admiration for each other. You could see it in the enjoyment virtuoso piano player and composer Herbie Hancock had, in Shorter’s solo improvisations on his inimitable saxophone ans clarinet, and in pioneering bass virtuoso Marcus Miller’s inspiring presence on stage. Their music and their body language to each other made this for me an unforgettable evening. History was written on this evening and I was one of the lucky ones who was part of it. Fantastic!
During events like these I feel blessed to have a great love for music, any music, but especially live music.
The musical retrospective, “Tribute to Miles,” following its premiere in Istanbul, will be presented in eight more concerts during July.
Amongst them leading European festivals such as Umbria Jazz Festival (Italy), North Sea Jazz Festival (the Netherlands), Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland) and Jazz à Vienne Festival (France).