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The Studio Recordings of the Miles Davis Quintet, 1965–68$
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Keith Waters

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195393835

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195393835.001.0001

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Analytical Strategies

Analytical Strategies

(p.40) Chapter 2 Analytical Strategies
The Studio Recordings of the Miles Davis Quintet, 1965–68

Davis Quintet

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides some general analytical frameworks relevant to the Davis quintet studio recordings. It defines terms such as “modal jazz”, and provides overviews of strategies used by the group in refining their improvisational techniques. On the topic of pitch, it considers the motivic cells, motivic improvisation, and phrase overlap. In the area of meter, it covers accentual shift, metrical conflict, and metric modulation. It examines the interaction of larger metrical groupings or hypermeter and form, and suggests how the quintet enhanced formal ambiguity in improvisation by masking sectional and formal divisions. It also delves further into the idea of “controlled freedom”, describing the group's interest in uniting traditional jazz approaches with avant-garde ones, and how this affected their approaches to improvisation by indicating a series of intermediate levels between strict adherence to chorus structure on the one hand, and its complete abandonment on the other.

Keywords:   Miles Davis Quintet, modal jazz, motivic cells, motivic improvisation, phrase overlap, accentual shift, controlled freedom

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