My Funny Valentine

Feeling a little blue, the first album I reached for tonight was Miles Davis’s The Complete Concert 1964: My Funny Valentine + Four and More. I have the CD, which has two discs, the first (which was released on LP) a set of ballads, the second uptempo stuff. It’s always been my favorite Miles album, with the crew of a 19-year-old Tony Williams, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, and George Coleman. I always thought it was an idiosyncratic pick for favorite Miles album, but when I met a great jazz drummer in Atlanta (Woody Williams), he told me that it was his, too. Then I read recently that it was the favorite of Stanley Crouch as well. I’ll never forget the first two times I heard it. The first was when my pal Evan and I were driving up to the UP to camp on a fall break (we were probably 19). We were driving in the dark and flipping through radio stations when we came across some public radio channel playing the whole of this album. We were both jazz buffs and immediately fell in love. We knew enough to know it was Miles, but had to wait for the DJ to fill us in on the rest. That night we pulled in to a state park, wandered through the darkness until we found a sand cliff overlooking Lake Superior, pitched camp there, and then slid down the sand and made a fire on the beach. We swigged from a bottle of whiskey we’d somehow procured and watched the stars twinkle. Getting back up to our tent was no small feat. The second time was when I spent what little money I had on that album a few weeks later and procured some cheese and wine. I called up my friend Emiliano, who had a paper due. I told him that I had wine. He said he had a paper due. I told him I had cheese. He said he had a paper due. I told him I had the best Miles Davis album he’d never heard. He said, “How can you do this to me?” We drank the wine and listened to the album. I believe it was Halloween, for some reason. Anyway, putting it on again cheered me up. This version isn’t as good, but it’s the same era.

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