Standards and Signification between Jazz and Fusion: Miles Davis and “I Fall in Love Too Easily,” 1963–1970

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Abstract

Abstract: This paper examines Miles Davis's studio and live repertoire during the time period from 1963 until 1970, particularly his performances of the ballad “I Fall in Love Too Easily,” which was a remarkably persistent presence in his sets, despite the myriad of other changes that took place in this time. Indeed, listening to multiple versions of “I Fall in Love Too Easily” certainly reveals clear differences in musical parameters such as form, tempo, rhythm, timbre, and orchestration. Examining Davis's performances of “I Fall in Love Too Easily” enables us to focus in on what, according to both jazz critics and jazz historians, is a crucial turning point, not only for Davis's career, but for the genre as a whole. Through detailed examination of various performances of “I Fall in Love Too Easily,” we can also concentrate closely on how exactly Davis's music was changing during this period, even if one song remained a part of his repertoire. In my analysis, I show that “I Fall In Love Too Easily,” more so than any other standard, served as a durable vehicle for Davis's musical goals throughout the mid-1960s. By 1970, however, these goals seem to have shifted as Davis moved, step by step, away from a model of jazz performance based on improvisation on a familiar, pre-existing tune or structure. Hence, “I Fall In Love Too Easily,” and all other jazz standards were dropped from the band's book as Davis pursued other means of communicating with his audience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-136
Number of pages24
JournalJazz Perspectives
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 4 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Music

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